Over 34,000 construction professionals attended UK Construction Week 2019, with many keen to learn about future construction technologies and how they can be applied to their businesses
The future of construction and how it is driving change in the UK was major focus at this year’s event. This topic bought huge crowds to the show at the NEC in Birmingham.
Mark Ireland, chief engineer of technology strategy at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, commented: “It was a busy few days and there were a great mix of attendees, from new industry entrants to managing directors and chief executives.
“It was really engaging to meet with the next generation and to meet people who aren’t already entrenched in traditional attitudes around construction.”
Feedback from a new business perspective was also positive. Brendan Hourican, national sales and marketing manager at CircofloPro said: “It was an incredible show. I came away with at least 60-70 excellent business leads.
“One project alone will pay for the cost of attending the show. It’s been so successful, if I’d known I’d have gone for a larger stand and brought more of our team along.”
The UK Construction Week Role Model of the year award went to Anjali Pindoria, project surveyor at Avi Contracts. Pindoria is an advocate for diversity and inclusion within construction.
Key focal points of the event
Mental health in the industry was also a major focus at the show, making UK Construction Week 2019 the largest event in the sector to address these issues.
UK Construction Week worked alongside Public Health England to launch Every Mind Matters to the construction industry.
Sam Park, head of marketing at Aliaxis, explained: “I was very impressed with the Every Mind Matters connection as I’m a mental health first aider at work. The focus on mental health at UK Construction Week was great.
“This is an audience which typically doesn’t like to talk, and they should. There was a lot happening on the stands and the support which is available. Hats off to UK Construction Week, from a mental health first aider perspective this really helps get the message out.”
UK Construction Week took innovation to a new level this year with its partnership with the Construction Innovation Hub and the new innovation zone. There were a record number of product launches, showcases and demos providing something for all construction professionals.
This was also the inaugural year for the co-launch of the very successful Concrete Expo.
Sustainability was also a major focus, with all exhibitors being encouraged to sign up to a ‘net zero’ agreement to boost awareness of the UK’s carbon-cutting goals and encouraged to boost their own sustainability.
The printed show guide was switched for an environmentally friendly app, and to help reduce single-use plastic, free water fountains were installed around the show and free reusable bottles given out.
The event director, Nathan Garnett, said: “In a time of political and economic uncertainty, the UK’s largest showcase for the sector showed signs of transformation, as it adopts innovation at a faster pace than ever.
“The feeling all around was that we have a lot of work to do, come what may, so let’s get on with doing it in the safest, fastest and most efficient way possible by harnessing the potential of new technologies.
“To see the talent and diversity on stage for our UK Construction Awards, Fix Radio Awards and Role Model 2019 presentation shows how far we have come in the fifth edition of the event. Although there is a mountain still to climb, as an industry we should all be proud of that transformation.”
Looking to the future of the construction sector, UK Construction Week will be hosting a series of specialist summits in the New Year, including:
- Marketing in Construction Summit, 12 February 2020
- Belonging in Construction Summit, 13 February 2020
- Wellbeing in Construction Summit, 30 June 2020
- Quality in Construction Summit, 1 July 2020
The dates for next year’s UK Construction Week are 6-8 October 2020.