Residential construction revenue among the Top 50 Builders dropped by a full third in 2008, sinking below $1 billion cumulatively. Compared to a 24-percent decline from 2006 to 2007, the downturn has only accelerated.

The total number of new pools among Top 50 Builders fell from 30,411 in 2007 to just over 19,000 in ’08, representing a 37-percent plunge.

Many builders have compensated by featuring higher-end offerings. Pool prices went up more than 6 percent in 2008, and the number of firms that charge more than $60,000 per pool on average nearly doubled — from eight to 14.

But the real resiliency of the industry is in variety, not volume. In the face of the worst housing crisis in 70-plus years, leading builders have shown a remarkable ability to channel new streams of revenue into their business.

Commercial divisions have proved a steady source of income, and total renovation revenue was actually up in 2008. Furthermore, companies are exploring new avenues and markets, launching side businesses and implementing cutting-edge technologies.

In a state of constant adaptation, these builders are creating a blueprint for the rest of the nation to not just survive, but grow stronger in a market that can only go up.