UPPER MARLBORO, MARYLAND - The NAHB Research Center (a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders) unveiled its new product-testing laboratory Tuesday to more than 600 builders and staff in Upper Marlboro, Md. The 42,000-square-foot lab includes large-scale thermal testing, acoustic performance testing, and two-story shear-wall testing.

"The most important thing about this facility is that it will help us and the NAHB serve our members better," says Bob Jones, NAHB vice president and secretary. "This new building symbolizes our commitment to research."

The Research Center will provide specialized material and structural testing, research, and certification for the following:

  • Products and Systems Testing - The controlled laboratory testing and field evaluation of products and subsystems used in homes.
  • Product Certification - Products that meet nationally recognized standards will be certified at the facility.
  • Builder Trade and Contractor Certification - In conjunction with its National Housing Quality Program, the Research Center will establish quality assurance requirements.
  • Services for Manufacturers - The facility will offer market research services including roundtable discussions, focus groups, and interviews with the goal of establishing a better understanding of what consumers want.
  • "What the Research Center means to me is reliability, durability, and quality," exclaims NAHB President Brian Catalde.

    Another unique feature of the facility is its access. If a builder in Idaho can't be on hand for an event at the Research Center, he will be able to watch live tests, focus groups, and other activities via the Internet. And, the Research Center is willing to make a DVD of an event available for builders, manufacturers, and other interested parties.

    According to Donald Pratt, chairman of the NAHB Research Center board of directors, the research center will "set the NAHB apart in the world of research."

    The facility was built by Crofton, Md.-based Gardiner & Gardiner and, as many officials pointed out throughout the ceremony, was completed on time and within budget. The latest addition to the Research Center comes nearly 21 years to the day that the original center on the Upper Marlboro campus opened.

    "This new facility will enable the NAHB Research Center to further integrate our engineering and market research expertise and provide our clients specialized and comprehensive product commercialization services to help them overcome the many barriers to innovation in the home building industry," states Research Center President Michael Luzier.