News from UKCW: Five good strategies to make the most of the UK’s largest construction event

When faced with a huge industry event attended by 35,000 contacts, featuring at least 350 speakers delivering 300 hours of content, and more than 650 stands covering over 70,000 square metres and providing launches, demos and offers on more than 10,000 products, you need a strategy.

So, if you have only one day to invest in this year’s UK Construction Week (UKCW), 9-11 October at the NEC, what should you prioritise?

Here are five good ways in which to navigate UKCW and specifically Building Tech Live.

1.Go for the new stuff

Ninety percent of visitors to the UKCW say they are there to source new products and suppliers. Four new areas have therefore been added to this year’s show, with more than 100 exclusive product launches covering innovations in offsite construction; doors, windows and glass; roofing, cladding and insulation; tools and health and safety.

For the cutting-edge inspiration, head to the Future of Construction Hub, providing an immersive experience of digital construction, 3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and experimental methods of construction.

The Digital Construction Hub will update you on all things BIM and follow the UKCW Innovation Trail – a self-guided tour around selected exhibitors with amazing new things to show off.

Or why not create your own tour? Arrive at the NEC an hour early, make yourself comfy in a coffee area and use the floor plan and show guide to map out a bespoke route through the halls to ensure you get to see all the brands you want to see.

2. Go for the big hitters

Lighting professionals won’t want to miss out on the Building Tech Live Theatre, supported by Voltimum and ECA, where they can stay current with regulations, best practice and thinking. Sessions include:

  • Cyber security for Smart Buildings with Professor Prasant Pillai from the university of Wolverhampton;
  • The smart home for the electrician with ECA’s Darren Smith; and
  • Emergency lighting and fire alarm standards with ESP Ltd.’s David Hunnisett.

The Gooee IOT Arena will be looking at how the ‘Innovation of Things’ is transforming construction, it will address the value of technology when it comes to renting and Bluetooth mesh for building automation.

Not forgetting the Digital Construction Hub which is covering:

  • The 4D Site – Laser Scanning for Construction Projects Kris Atkinson, technical sales specialist, FARO Technologies
  • Improving BIM maturity for all the supply chain Alex Giles, consultant, Action Sustainability, and Mark Taylor, digital project manager, BAM Construction Limited
  • IoT and Innovation in Construction Dr David Greenberg, founder and CEO of EAVE

And the main stage will host interesting debates including: The Digital Future of Construction, chaired by George Clarke Architect and TV Presenter; and Buildings, Brains & BIM: Using neuroscience to design for wellbeing, chaired by Paul Swaddle, head of technical solution, NBS.

So there is plenty to choose from.

3. Go for the learning

If that’s possibly a bit too much for your tastes, the best bet is to get into the show’s free, fully accredited CPD sessions. But watch out – there are more than 35 to choose from, and pre-booking is essential.

The CPD sessions are filling up fast, book soon to catch:

  • The direction of energy and sustainability standards within construction with the Chartered Association of Building Engineers’ Dr Gavin Dunn. CPD
  • BIM: the value of digital building information by Paul Oakley director BIM BRE
  • An overview of the BS8300: 2018 series by Martin McConaghy, advisory group member, National Register of Access Consultants, where he will detail changing technical requirements

4. Go to do deals

The point of attending many trade shows is to come away with new business. For three days, the NEC becomes the building industry’s biggest marketplace under one roof. Key exhibitors at this year’s show include: Aurora Lighting Projects, Buildingworks, Canon, Cloudcell Technologies Ltd, Gewiss UK Limited, Gooee, Microsoft, Dell, Eaton, EAE Group, and Tridium to name but a few.

But to save hanging around on stands or chasing people around the show, make sure you book online in advance to arrange your meetings with exhibitors. This will save you loads of time.

5. Go for the networking

Finally, remember that UKCW is also one massive meeting place. Network with customers, suppliers and industry influencers, or even grab a beer with a competitor.

Or choose the informal route – after all, the Beer Festival is bigger than ever this year. Sponsored by Velux, this area features amazing street food, live bands, a gin and fizz bar and rockaoke. FIX Radio will be broadcasting from there from all three days. There is also a central bar in Hall 11, sponsored by the Elliott Group and the Timber Bar in Hall 9 sponsored by Germany Trade & Invest. Where better to meet up with old friends.

So get planning now. Keep up to date with the latest information via the website and Twitter at @BuildTechLive or using the hashtag #BuildingTech2018.

Free visitor tickets are available at

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