The Big 5

White ... confident.

White ... confident.

dmg promises ‘memorable experience’

February 2011

GULF CONSTRUCTION meets event director Andy White, who speaks about the significance of The Big 5 and the Saudi market, and tells us what to expect at the show...

Tell us some history on this event?
The Big 5 has taken place in Dubai for over 30 years and is the largest construction event in the Middle East. The event, which was originally an amalgamation of five different product-focused events, was acquired by dmg in 2000. It is now the largest construction event in the Middle East with over 3,200 exhibitors and 48,000 visitors from more than 120 different countries.

Why was the western city of Jeddah selected to host The Big 5 Saudi Arabia?
About 34 per cent of all projects planned in Saudi Arabia are in the Western Province. Projects in Jeddah include a seaport, industrial zone, central business district, waterfront resort and residential city. In addition to this, three major economic cities are being built with an estimated project value of $152 billion.

Construction on this scale means there is a huge demand from contractors and designers to source the best international products to meet the demands placed on them. It also provides a great opportunity for international construction product providers to do business in one of the few regions where the number of construction projects is increasing.

The Big 5 show attracts a large number of attendees and participants, and draws a significant media presence. Can you shed some light on whom will the show appeal to?
The Big 5 appeals to anyone in the construction industry looking for the latest innovations in construction materials and methods. Our visitors include architects, designers, project managers, construction managers, procurement managers, engineers and consultants, all of whom come to The Big 5 show to be informed, educated and inspired.

What benefits will the event bring to people who partake in it?
Exhibitors will be able to meet key decision-makers and influencers involved in major construction projects in the region. As of July 2010, there were 710 active projects in the Western Province alone, which means that exhibitors will have a great opportunity to meet many potential clients actively looking to source construction materials.

The Big 5 Saudi Arabia will provide a great opportunity for suppliers new to the region to meet new distributors and gain a foothold in one of the most lucrative construction markets in the world.

The Big 5 event has proved to be a great success. Any future plans in mind in terms of new locations or different angles?
The Big 5 Saudi Arabia is our first venture outside Dubai and it’s important that we deliver value for money to our exhibitors and a memorable experience for our visitors. The event has already sold out and we’re confident we can deliver a sizeable audience. Once we have achieved this, we will focus on events in other regions and products sectors where we can deliver real benefits to the market. This research process is ongoing and we hope to announce some new projects later in the year.

In your opinion, what sets The Big 5 show apart from other events?
Because we have developed a network of over 40 sales agents across the globe, we are able to attract exhibitors and products that have never been seen in the region. In Dubai, over 70 per cent of exhibitors are from outside the GCC, which means that our visitors are able to source new and innovative products that they may have never seen before. At The Big 5 Saudi Arabia, visitors can expect to see an event where 70 per cent of the exhibiting companies are from outside of Saudi Arabia and 65 per cent from outside of the GCC.

The construction/building industry sector enjoys a remarkable growth. How do you see The Big 5 Saudi Arabia’s contribution to this current status?
The growing number of construction projects in Saudi Arabia means that there is an urgent need to source quality innovative products and learn more about the changing market, construction techniques and current regulations.

This is where The Big 5 has an important role. By staging an event where the majority of exhibitors are showing new and innovative products never seen in the Western Province, and introducing training courses and conferences, which will help industry professionals work more effectively, we believe we can make a valuable contribution to the construction market in Saudi Arabia.

Firms were invited to assume a sponsorship role in previous events and several undertook the role. What benefits will they gain from that arrangement?
When people sponsor our events, they have different objectives in mind. For some it’s purely a branding exercise and they want to put their brand in front of as many relevant people as possible. For others, it may be more focused. They may want to align themselves with a particular subject or seminar topic and have an opportunity to present to a specific audience. Some sponsors don’t have the need to exhibit to a mass audience because they only want to meet a select group of people, so we design bespoke packages for them. The benefits vary but we always try and ensure that we match any sponsorship opportunity very closely with the needs of our customers to enable them to get the best return on their investment.

Considering the increasing globalisation of the current construction/building industry sector, how strong is the international element in The Big 5 Saudi Arabia event?
The Big 5 Saudi Arabia will have national pavilions from Germany, Spain, the UK, France, Australia, Turkey, Greece, China, Austria, Taiwan as well as exhibitors from Kuwait, the US, Lebanon and the UAE. Of the 250 exhibitors, 165 will be from outside the GCC.

The public sector traditionally plays a vital role in supporting such important events. What encouragement was offered to The Big 5 Saudi Arabia organisers?
Though our partner in Jeddah, Mice Arabia, we approached the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) to investigate the possibility of staging The Big 5 show at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events. The JCCI has been extremely supportive in helping us get this event off the ground and as a result we’re confident we can deliver an event that will provide real benefits to the region.

Are there any professional development activities in place during the event or interesting speakers to be offered to the attendees?
Subject to obtaining the necessary licences, we are hoping to stage a number of workshops and training sessions. These include two internationally certified training workshops by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) – Leed 201: Core concepts and strategies; and BD & C 251: Understanding the Building Design and Construction Leed Rating System.

We also have planned a Leadership Strategy Day, which will focus on three key topics – market outlook, projects update, and green innovations in building.

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