Builders are more likely to adopt innovations than are single-family production builders. Although sales and supplier representatives, subcontractors, and trade shows are important sources of information about new products and materials for all builders, early-stage adopters rely on technology transfer programs and universities more than middle or late-stage adopters do. Although small, less established manufacturers often are the first to introduce new products, residential building construction relies heavily on established manufacturers who stand behind their products. This behavior likely reflects the substantial financial and market risks associated with innovation in residential building. Product failures can cost builders dearly, both in direct losses and in damage to the firm’s reputation. Establishing a reputation for high quality and durable homes, and for quickly addressing problems in new homes, was a key business strategy for over two-thirds of the builders in this survey.

This study found the following characteristics associated with higher levels of adoption of new products, materials, and practices in home building.