There’s a great deal of good news coming out of the residential homebuilding market. Well, perhaps it’s best to say encouraging news. While home sales are beginning to pick up, the valid encouraging factor is what the large homebuilder is planning.

During the bad times, builders abandoned large tracks, stopped payments on speculative land, and just committed themselves to finish the projects they had begun. But this business practice has changed.

According to Brad Hunter, Metrostudy’s chief economist, builders are posed to re-enter the residential construction market in a strong way. Large amounts of land were bought in 2012 and 2013 that are now being seen in the data as new lot “deliveries,” reports Hunter. “In some markets, the lines have crossed (meaning that lot deliveries are now running at a pace higher than starts), and that is a bullish sign for starts in 2015,” he predicts.

What does this information mean for your masonry business? It’s time to prepare your key employees on the techniques and products that have been introduced in the last five years. A great way to start is to look at the more than 15 educational opportunities we have planned for you at World of Concrete in February.

I’d like to highlight one particular educational track. Our educational department has reinstated a Residential Track as part of the World of Concrete Master Certificate Program. Contractors can take a series of seminars focused on the new trends in residential construction. It’s an expansive course offering, detailing everything from foundations to walls.

This year we have launched a new course in this track, MO137 - Field Issues in Residential Brick Veneer: How to Avoid Common Problems. This course was developed because 2014 attendee surveys indicated they wanted a masonry course focused on single-family housing. Given cost of punchlist rework or forensic examinations, every attendee will definitely benefit from the information.

So as we enjoy Thanksgiving tomorrow, hopefully sharing family time around a masonry fireplace, let’s make a commitment. Let’s work as an industry to improve the perception of masonry construction in the residential market, so in 2015 buyers will invest in resilient structures and ask for brick on all fours sides of the home.