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Research for Builders

What: National Association of Home Builders Research Center.

Where: Bowie, Maryland.

What it Does: Explores new techniques and materials that help builders provide affordable, high quality homes.

Every industry needs research and development to grow. Few homebuilders can afford to explore new technologies and products on their own, but for more than 40 years the National Association of Home Builders Research Center has been doing just that.

In a subdivision not far from their offices in Bowie, Maryland, the Research Center recently built four homes using designs, materials and methods that will allow builders to deliver high quality, affordable homes with broad market appeal. Called MADE homes (for Marketable, Affordable, Durable, Entry-Level),  these houses include precast foundation walls, webbed floor trusses, advanced framing techniques, cement- board siding, innovative plumbing systems and standing-seam metal roofs. 

Just as all demonstration homes at the National Research Home Park, the four MADE homes remain open for one year so that builders can visit and learn about the techniques and products used. After this, the homes go for sale. Even after they're occupied, the Research Center continues to monitor the houses to gather information on their long-term performance.

In addition to the Research Home Park, the center has a state-of-the-art educational facility and testing laboratory that studies everything from the structural capacity of new earthquake and hurricane designs to the flush-performance of hundreds models and brands of toilets.

Anyone interested in innovative building practices will find a treasure trove of information in the Research Center's publications and at its website ( The Research Center also provides a hotline service called the ToolBase Program that answers questions on any aspect of residential construction, either exotic or mundane, within 24 hours. This service is available at no charge to builders, remodelers and consumers by calling (800) 898-2842 or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .  

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