UK Construction Week takes the NEC by storm

Featuring nine shows under one roof, the UK’s biggest construction event in decades arrived with a bang last week – as more than 85,000 visitors and over 1,000 exhibitors flocked to UK Construction Week at the Birmingham NEC.

Organised by Media 10, the inaugural six-day event spanned five halls of the exhibition centre and attracted visitors from across the entire spectrum of construction – from high-end architects, interior designers and infrastructure engineers, to self-builders and home renovators.

Providing an event for everyone in the construction industry to be proud of, UK Construction Week began on Tuesday 6 October with eight strictly trade events: the Build Show incorporating Civils Expo, Timber Expo, HVAC 2015, Smart Buildings 2015, Energy 2015, Kitchens and Bathrooms Live, Plant & Machinery Live and the Surface and Materials Show. Grand Designs Live then opened on Thursday 8 October, providing a unique crossover experience with the trade element of UK Construction Week. The trade shows closed on Thursday 8 October, leaving Grand Designs Live to run until Sunday 11 October.

Media 10’s CEO Lee Newton said: “As construction growth surges forwards, we really feel that this show has arrived at exactly the right time and right place for the industry. It’s the biggest show the sector has seen in years and the results speak for themselves – we’ve brought together more than 1,000 high calibre exhibitors and over 85,000 visitors. All of which has been achieved in just 11 short months from conception to delivery. We are proud to have helped give the construction industry its very own week for celebration, networking and new business opportunities.”

Visitors eagerly attended the numerous seminar theatres where well-known TV personalities and industry stalwarts Kevin McCloud, George Clarke and Craig Phillips were among the names taking to the stage to debate the hottest issues facing construction today. Hosted by leading journalists John Humphrys, Steph McGovern and Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the UKCW Main Stage in particular saw some lively and thought-provoking discussions.

Meanwhile, with a combined purchasing power of around £8.5 billion, the 25,000+ trade attendees included more than 60% of the UK’s biggest names in construction, such as Wilmott Dixon, Travis Perkins, Redrow Homes, Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try and Saint Gobain, as well as over 7,000 individual companies, all discussing current and future projects, with numerous high value orders being placed at the show.

One happy exhibitor, Safedoors (@safedoorsuk), Tweeted: “Our busiest day yet, here at @BuildShow! We’ve just had an enquiry for over 500 doors! The best has been saved for last!”

Richard Morey, Group Events Director at Media 10 commented: “It’s an exciting time to be involved in the construction industry. Construction growth is continuing to drive the UK’s economic recovery and with more than 2.2 million people employed in this sector, output and productivity is only set to increase. We recognised that there is a very real desire for an event like this brings the whole industry spectrum together, providing a much needed opportunity to network, learn and do business – as well as simply celebrating the industry at a time of renewed optimism.

“It was an ambitious undertaking but we couldn’t be happier with how the show turned out. There was a real buzz throughout the three days and the quality of visitors has been excellent. We’re also pleased that so many of our housebuilding and architectural visitors really recognised the value and the synergy between Grand Designs Live and the more trade-focused shows. We’re looking forward to developing the show even further over the next few years – we’ve already confirmed with the NEC until 2019.”

Feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike has been positive, with a high number of re-bookings for the 2016 show already received. Some of the companies confirmed so far for next year include Easytrim, Bryson, Swiftec group, Johnson Tiles, Ranger Equipment, Airflow, VPS UK Ltd, Genpower / Hyundai, HDL UK and Home of Technologies, Rotho Blass, Cellecta, Vudlande and Just Swiss.

Sarah Gyde, Marketing Manager at Mila, commented: “There is a real buzz about the Build Show which I think is exciting for visitors and exhibitors. We’ve been impressed with both the quality and quantity of people coming to our stand and the response to our new product launches has been fantastic. We’ll be back next year.”

Howard Flood, Projects Director at Warmup Plc also commented: “UK Construction Week has provided an excellent platform for us to meet all the right people. We were able to raise the profile of Warmup as a brand and generated a real interest in our products such as the 4iE Smart WiFi Thermostat and Total-16 Low Profile System. The atmosphere was brilliant and Warmup is delighted to have exhibited at UKCW this year and will return in 2016.”

Fellow HVAC 2015 exhibitor Alan Siggins, Managing Director at Airflow Developments Ltd commented: "UKCW has enabled us to reach key specifiers, contractors and installers in the field. Everybody at UKCW was extremely professional and helpful, and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many customers face to face at the event.”

HDL Automation (@HDL_UK), a Smart Buildings 2015 exhibitor, Tweeted: “A massive thank you to UK Construction Week for a great show.”

UK Construction Week has now firmly established itself as the must-attend event for professionals working in all aspects of residential and commercial construction planning and design. UK Construction Week 2016 has been confirmed for October next year.