Exhibition News November 2018 - Page 26

COVER FEATURE The construction industry in numbers £109.4m Value of new construction work 314,590 Number of construction firms operating in the UK 194,710 Number of new dwellings completed 26 have its pitfalls as well as its benefits, as any trade event is inevitably affected by the peaks and troughs of the sector it serves. It’s positive then, that both London Build and UK Construction Week are seeing steadily growing attendance at their respective events. In addition to a packed programme of content, adds McKenzie, London Build “delivers countless networking functions and satellite events. “These are designed to appeal to a wide cross-section of the construction industry and, on a personal level, to capture the hearts and minds of those within it. Our satellite events and networking functions aim to address both the current trends of the industry as well as the social context of 21st century London. “In recent years we've hosted: networking sessions for Polish construction workers, LGBT initiatives, the UK's largest Women in Construction meeting, German beer festivals, digital construction initiatives, young architect competitions and much more.” In combining larger networking events with smaller targeted initiatives and opportunities for under-represented groups in construction to meet, the show is able to cater for the diverse audience that makes up the construction industry in the capital and beyond.” All the construction events that EN learns about in the course of writing this feature arguably have several things in common: an interest in celebrating the complexity and diversity of the industry, a desire to provide thought-provoking and vital content, and a recognition of the value of satellite November 2018 | exhibitionnews.co.uk Visitors learn and explore at Ecobuild 2018 7.4% Increase in new orders 3.8% Increase in construction-related employment *Based on 2017 ONS statistics networking events to a trade show. Whether it’s proactively working to attract more women to the construction industry, carrying out vital research or striving to provide content that shows the breadth of the industry to potential new recruits, they are all far from just paying for a room for an industry to meet. Construction goes digital Digital Construction Week was the brainchild of Oliver Hughes and Luke Collings. Before launching the event, Hughes spent around eight years at UBM, and Collings was the founder of the decidedly non-construction related Cake & Bake Show. The show began as 2,500sqm event at the BDC (“We flew a bit by the seat of our pants to be honest,” admits Hughes. “We put it together in the space of about six months, which wasn’t nearly enough) and for its 2018 event took up 7,000sqm in ExCeL London. “We just ran out of space for what we wanted to do,” says Hughes. “We've done a lot with theatres and features and we wanted to focus more on that than just on stand space. This year we've got 11 theatres; a huge amount of our space is content.” Digital Construction Work is an event catching onto what may well be a seismic shift in the construction industry. A UK government mandate requiring all work on government buildings to be delivered with BIM (Building Information Modelling) by 2016 was a decisive step forcing the construction industry firmly into the world of digital. “What it basically did was give the industry a bit of an injection,” agrees Hughes. “To start looking at technology, innovation and how they build buildings and ultimately what it gave everyone was useful data. All these technologies like robotics and automation, drones, UAVs, laser scanning became quite realistic for the world, where previously it had been bits and pieces. “And so we decided there was a show for people to figure all these things out. Construction is quite a comprehensive industry as it is, there is a huge supply chain, but there’s also quite a huge opportunity when you look at the digital space. It’s hard enough figuring out what construction means let alone throwing around