Published On: Fri, Oct 19th, 2018

Optimism about the future at UK Construction Week

Confirming its position as the largest event for the UK construction industry, a record-breaking 34,000 industry professionals attended this year’s UK Construction Week (UKCW). Built environment professionals from all parts of the industry came for new ideas and innovation, eager to explore new ways of working in a sector that is hungry to embrace the latest technology and products. The ‘Future of Construction’, this year’s theme, pervaded throughout the nine different shows within UKCW, and was brought to life through an innovation trail, 3D printing, AI, AR, numerous construction site simulators, and robotic technologies such as the Robocop-esque ExoSkeleton.

There were more than 650 exhibitors at UKCW this year, demonstrating and launching over 10,000 products and services. The diversity and innovation on show brought national media attention to UKCW, with live broadcasts each day including BBC Breakfast, Birmingham Live and BBC News channels. Delegates were also keen to learn from the repercussions of the Hackitt Review and the Grenfell Tower fire. This led to CPDs and seminars covering the big issues all being extremely busy, including sessions on the review of building regulations and fire safety, quality and the consequences of poor building practices, insulation and cladding and other topics concerned with fire.

Other packed-out sessions generated calls for more responsive planning and housing policies, more integration across digital construction and software systems, and more consistency and guidance from the Government, especially in procurement and standards. Equality, diversity and inclusion was also a major theme, with big debates on the UKCW stage. There was a highly illuminating interview with Barbara Res, the woman who built Trump Tower, plus a presentation by Lord Blunkett discussing the Heathrow Skills Taskforce, and the first award presentation for the UK Construction Week Role Model of the Year. The role models have already acted as inspiration for a new generation of construction professionals. They were invited to attend the event as part of a successful student programme.

Feedback on the show has been phenomenally positive, from exhibitors and visitors alike.

Stuart Gray, senior building services engineer, ROK Construction, said: “You can’t compare looking at the internet and websites to going around and chatting to people who really know what they are talking about. It’s really interesting to see the latest and greatest technology which is coming into the world.”

James Fairclough, European director of marketing, Cemex said: “UKCW is a fantastic place for us to meet both existing and potential new customers, where they can experience our products and materials first hand and have a level of interaction that is not possible through other platforms. There is an extremely wide range of people visiting this show, and over the three days we see everyone from major contractors, local government, through to small builders and self-builders. It is great to see the show growing and evolving every year since the start and we are proud to have UKCW as Cemex’s flagship show.”

Ryan Hill, director at P1 Plaster Superstore said: “This is certainly the best show we have ever exhibited at. This year’s UK Construction Week can only be described as incredible. The footfall throughout the show was consistent and of a high quality, and to the point, we made record sales throughout the show. Signing up for 2019 was an easy decision for us to make.”

James Birch, CEO at Solecco Solar said: “Everyone at Solecco always looks forward to exhibiting at UK Construction Week, as the place to showcase our solar tiles to key members of the industry, knowing they will see the best in construction innovation, technology and services. This year was no different and we were once again delighted with the people and connections that were met and made during the event.”

Looking towards next year’s show, Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director said: “There was a tremendous positivity around UKCW this year, with a real feeling that the industry wants to adapt and embrace a new way of building. The success of the Offsite section was testament to this, as was the interest in new technology, electric vehicle infrastructure, renewables, and the IoT Arena. Our exhibitor rebook rate has exceeded our expectations and is 40% higher than last year, so we are really excited about how we can take this all forward in 2019 at UKCW.”

UKCW consists of multiple specialist shows, including the Build Show, headline sponsored by Easy-Trim, Building Tech Live, Timber Expo, Civils Expo, Energy 2019, Plant and Machinery Live, HVAC 2019 and the Surface and Materials Show.

Next year’s UKCW will take place between 8-10 October 2019 at Birmingham’s NEC.