September usually dawns the start of exhibition season where professionals across all industries descend on their favourite events. We couldn’t miss one of the biggest events happening in our sector, UK Construction Week 2019.
After all, as a construction-specific marketing agency, it would be rude not to check out the latest industry trends and technologies, and catch up with clients and potential clients alike.
So, it was down to Ashley Powell, our Head of Sales, and the newest addition to our team, Ebony Hutt, our Marketing Manager, to find out all the details.
First, let’s talk about some of the main themes & topics that stood out to us as we made our way around the show.
It was clear from the offset that innovation was going to be a dominating feature for this year’s show. Topics like modern methods of construction and BIM (Building Information Modelling) have been on the agenda for a while. This year, those topics (and more) were at the forefront – from the show preview leaflet to seminars and product showcases, innovation was being spoken about everywhere.
We counted three spaces dedicated to innovation! The main one being the new “Innovation Zone” which partnered with the Construction Innovation Hub. This area showcased some of the serious change-makers in construction. The area had a wide variety of products on display that demonstrated speed, quality, and sustainability.
A particular stand out (and our favourite) was from smartpixel.tv. They take 3D modeling one step further and create immersive experiences to bring products and scenarios to life in an interactive way. They have been using this to sell real estate, in particular, high-rise apartments. The aim is to sell whole apartment blocks off plan to consumers using very realistic virtual environments. The software enabled you to explore intricate details about the living space. This included where the sun will rise and set, the views from the apartment and places of interest you will live near (i.e. shops and restaurants).
We have seen immersive technology develop over the last few years, but this software was one of the best we have seen first hand. The software was so realistic that it felt like we were looking over a Montreal sunset at one point.
We could see the benefits software like this could bring to our clients. Most have extremely technical products, which usually get hidden in the construction process. Software like this could help bring products to life that have historically been explained over pages of technical documents.
Although it may be a while for technology like this to become mainstream (mainly due to cost & application), we see this being a huge part of the mix in future years and think it’s worth keeping an eye on.
Wellbeing in Construction
This topic is high on the national agenda, let alone this event. BUT, we all know how important it is for our male-dominated sector. Suicide rates among men have been well publicised recently, so we don’t need to remind you of the statistics.
It’s great to see an event of this size bringing a “taboo” subject to the forefront. It is easy to step back from this subject, so it was refreshing to see the new “Mind Your Head” campaign launched. The campaign promotes wellbeing in the industry. Alongside this, there were some great sessions relating to wellbeing. These sessions covered meditation, counselling and industry professional’s personal experiences.
Pauley Creative is pretty good at promoting mental and physical wellbeing in the workplace (you should see our Monday morning work-outs!). But, it’s easy to let things slip when deadlines are looming or pressure is on to hit a target. Hopefully, putting wellbeing at the front of this event will encourage more construction companies to consider wellbeing in the workplace.
Construction Industry Celebrations
We came away thinking about the huge amount to celebrate in our industry. We were staggered by the number of new products launched (9 pages worth of the show guide) showing that the industry is far from static. We got to try out one of these new products by Ash & Lacy. Their stand showcased Meshslip, a new mechanically fixed genuine brick slip cladding system, developed in partnership with Ibstock.
Alongside celebrating new products, people were also a focus. The show welcomed four different award ceremonies including Tradesperson of the Year by Fix Radio, UKCW Role Models Presentation, UKCW Construction Awards, and the Structural Timber Awards. It’s great to see so many awards being handed out. After all, we don’t work this hard for nothing right?
The Role Models Initiative is of particular importance when considering how we attract new talent and a new generation to the industry. Read more about the amazing role models in our industry.
The messages delivered were impactful and concise. But, with any good event, the “devil is in the detail”. Our trip was made better by;
- It was a great opportunity to network & get some face to face meetings in the diary. It’s rare you get that many people from all over the industry in one room. There were plenty of areas to sit down, making these networking opportunities even easier.
- Volume and quality of visitors – the majority of people we spoke to felt they got to speak to the types of people they wanted too.
- Great shuttle service to and from the car park, and other transport links to trains and buses.
- Insightful talks & an interesting agenda.
- A wide variety of exhibitors from all over the industry.
As with anything, we would have loved for a couple of things to be slightly better…
- The Internet Connection – It was the first year you had to navigate the show using the app. The only problem was, wifi & 4G connectivity wasn’t great. We experienced the app crashing whilst trying to find an exhibitor’s stand. This slowed us right down when navigating around the show.
- The App – It was only its first year, so we didn’t expect it to be perfect but the problem above didn’t help. Also, show guides are so handy when planning a route. We knew who we wanted to see, but because we couldn’t mark them down on a printed map, our route was pretty inefficient. (Luckily there were big printed maps which we took pictures of!). It would have been great to have a “plan your route” in the app. You could input your locations and it would plan the best route around the exhibition for you – a great time saver.
So the burning question is… Would we visit UK Construction Week again?
It’s got to be a yes. It wouldn’t be right to miss an opportunity to meet, talk and celebrate with all areas of the industry. We particularly loved the evolution of new show areas (innovation & wellbeing zones). This shows a real focus on the future of the industry.
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