Driven by renewed confidence in the region´s construction sector, in its 35th year, The Big 5 in Dubai is set to open its largest edition yet in 2014.
Date: November 17-20, 2014.
Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre
Organiser: dmg events
The 2013 upswing continues in 2014. A recent report by consultancy Ventures Middle East sets the value of the UAE´s building construction sector at almost 60 per cent of the total projects in the construction industry, followed by infrastructure, oil and gas, and power and water, with construction projects awarded in the country totalling $38 billion in 2013 - 2014 is expected to reach $46 billion in awarded projects in the country. Further, the outlook for the real-estate sector in the UAE and Dubai is positive. What´s more, according to recent reports, the UAE retail sector is expected to grow over 33 per cent by 2015 and GCC governments will spend over $90 billion on education-related construction projects by the end of 2014.
Eyeing every such business prospect is The Big 5 2014. Having sourced products for retail projects, the event is set to offer unique insights into the education sector through its free-to-attend conference and workshop programme, further focusing on the technology expected in 21st century school buildings. Andy White, Group Event Director, The Big 5, reveals, ´An array of over 40 free-to-attend, Continuing Professional Development (CPD)-certified educational workshops with topics ranging from responsive architecture, health and safety, LEED, BIM and project and contracts management to arbitration will take place this year.´
While workshop program mes are a value addition to the many benefits the visitors gain by attending the show, there´s even more to look forward to. Following last year´s record attendance across over 130 educational seminars, 30 live product demonstrations, and five workshops, White says, ´We are preparing an even larger and more interactive suite of educational activities at The Big 5, with more than 40 certified workshops plus a two-day conference on Sustainable Design and Construction taking place in 2014.´
Definitely, incorporating sustainability into upcoming builds continues to attract architects, developers, builders and suppliers; along with the conference, The Big 5 also addresses this through the 7th edition of the prestigious Gaia Awards. Speaking on the event that honours innovative green products and equipment, White tells us, ´The Gaia Awards has grown into being the industry´s most respected awards honouring innovative construction products and equipment, which have truly integrated the concept of moving towards a more sustainably built environment.´
Last year, the show recorded a footfall of over 74,000 participants from more than 124 countries, a 23 per cent increase over 2012, and a host of new exhibitors from around the world. White adds, ´The event cemented its international footprint, welcoming 2,700 international exhibitors from nearly 60 countries.ö In its 35th year, with the surge in government projects, social infrastructure improvement, and retail and real-estate developments on the upswing, The Big 5 is well on its way to surpass itself. In the belief that the event will demonstrate this renewed industry confidence with its largest edition yet, White says, ´We see industry resurgence and growth reflected in the number of international exhibitors who are participating in The Big 5.´ Where initially, the event witnessed limited participation from GCC countries outside the UAE, there has been increasing support from the Gulf in the past three years. A sponsored pavilion from the Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA) brings just over 100 companies from the Kingdom. KSA companies in total number about 130, and support the show in a big way.
Further, the Qatar Development Bank is bringing in around 40 companies from Qatar, and a pavilion from Kuwait - sponsored by the Public Authority for Industry - brings about 20 exhibitors to The Big 5.
Undoubtedly, UAE has the lion´s share of participants, followed by Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and then Bahrain. Last but not least, the highest number of exhibitors outside of the GCC comes from Europe, particularly Italy, Germany, France, Spain, the UK and Turkey.
Running alongside The Big 5 are two co-located events: PMV Live and Middle East Concrete (MEC). Together, these offer a 360o platform to the building and construction industry, with all three shows providing the largest international building construction, concrete and heavy machinery gathering place in the region. Last year, both shows attracted a record-breaking 32 per cent increase in attendance over 2012, with another outstanding year expected for 2014 as companies in the PMV and concrete sectors take advantage of the region´s burgeoning infrastructure projects.
With the Big 5 growing in tandem with the sector, exhibiting at the event is clearly the best way to generate sales leads and develop business in the Middle East. With nearly 75,000 audited construction professionals in attendance, 148 free educational events attracting even more architects, engineers, interior designers and other key buyers and specifiers, and 700-plus top-end buyers with spending power in excess of $100 million attending the Platinum Club, White says with confidence, ´There is no better business platform for the construction industry.´
´I am confident that this year will be the biggest yet for The Big 5.´
- Andy White, Group Event Director, The Big 5
Andy White, Group Event Director, The Big 5, tells us what visitors can expect at the event and how the event can benefit the UAE´s building and construction market.
What will make this year´s exhibition different from previous editions?
We see industry resurgence and growth reflected in the number of international exhibitors who are participating in the region´s largest international building and construction show, The Big 5. We also see that the market is changing, prompting a need to support the industry with even more educational content at the show. Particularly, we are bringing distinguished speakers to share first-hand perspectives, address new technologies and discuss challenges in the upcoming GCC project pipeline.
What can a visitor expect at the Big 5 Dubai 2014?
Visitors range across different categories, but we record maximum footfall from CEOs, presidents, directors, engineers, project managers, architects, purchasing and procurement managers, and consultants. It also includes visitors from engineering firms, agents or distributors, architectural and design practices and contractors. That said, visitors can expect to source new international products, learn about new regional products, discover the latest innovations and network with industry peers.
In what way does the government support you in organising this event?
The Dubai Municipality has supported us in an official capacity for the second year. This is important because the municipality is responsible for all the planning and building regulations in Dubai, and we are aware that our visitors want to hear from them. This is a key department within the Dubai Government and we work closely with them. Having said that, the Dubai Municipality is heavily involved on our content programme and lays emphasis on topics such as green building codes and the testing and certification of products. Moreover, their experts will be speaking at our sustainable design and construction conference on November 18 and 19, 2014.
As an organiser, what are the major challenges you faced this year in setting up the event?
The 2013 edition of The Big 5 was a huge success. There was an increase in the number of visitors, and hence persuading exhibitors to come back for 2014 was certainly not a problem. However, the challenge has been to introduce new features and fresh content that would attract visitors once again. We wanted to target people who may not necessarily attend for exhibitors - adding 100 exhibitors to an already bustling exhibition floor would most likely not attract these people. Hence, this year we have primarily focused on increasing the technical workshops, where visitors can come and learn what is relevant to them, and earn CPD points as most of the workshops are CPD accredited.
While last year we had four workshops that received good response, this year we have significantly increased this to 40 workshops. Our view is that if we keep the exhibition fresh, innovative and introduce new concepts, more visitors will attend.
How can a show like Big 5 Dubai provide a boost to the UAE´s building and construction market?
The Big 5 has become the region´s leading hub for construction professionals to source new products, discover the latest innovations, engage in educational workshops and conferences, and network with thousands of key players and potential customers. The buzz surrounding the industry is growing and I am confident that this year will be the biggest yet for The Big 5 as the region´s construction sector continues to make a strong comeback.
Eight dedicated product sectors at The Big 5 2014