The record attendance at The Big 5 this year is a testimony to the renewed confidence investors have shown to the region, which is witnessing booming growth in every sector.
THE 35th edition of The Big 5, taking place from November 17 to 20, 2014 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will host more than 2,700 exhibitors from nearly 60 countries and is expected to attract more than 74,000 participants from 124 countries.
The region’s leading international building and construction show will demonstrate the renewed industry confidence with its largest edition yet this year.
The Big 5 2013 attracted a record number of visitors and with 98 per cent planning to return this year plus a host of new exhibitors from across the world, Andy White, group event director of The Big 5, believes this year’s event will be the largest and best attended in its illustrious 35-year-history.
“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,” White says.
Total construction projects in the GCC this year is forecast by consultancy Ventures Middle East to reach $195.67 billion – up $35.8 billion (22.4 per cent) compared with 2013.
According to a report by Ventures – Exploring UAE’s Strong Investment Environment – new projects in the UAE, combined with many previously stalled projects now forging ahead, will continue to bolster the 2013 upswing. The same report remarks that the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2014 is set to grow at four per cent to reach $404 billion, up from $390 billion in 2013, fuelled by the construction sector upturn and support from the oil and gas sector.
The report sets the value of the country’s building construction sector at almost 60 per cent of the total projects in the industry, followed by infrastructure, oil and gas, power and water, with total construction projects awarded in the UAE totalling $38 billion in 2013. This year the figure is expected to reach $46 billion in awarded projects in the country.
Another recent report by Ventures indicates that the UAE’s retail sector is expected to grow more than 33 per cent by 2015. That growth is attracting investment into other countries in the GCC, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman, and to a smaller extent Qatar and Bahrain, it says.
Meanwhile, contracts for new medical facilities in the GCC is expected to reach $9.53 billion (a 25 per cent increase on 2013) by the end of this year.
Dubai plans to attract 500,000 patients for treatment by 2020 as part of its drive to become a centre for medical excellence in the region and bring a new stream of visitor revenue, according to the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). To cater for these patients, the DHA says, 18 private and four public hospitals will be built over the next few years.
The UAE has doubled its healthcare budget since 2007 and currently ranks among the top 20 destinations for medical tourism. The country spends 3.3 per cent of its GDP on healthcare, the third highest in the GCC. According to Alpen Capital Investment Banking, the UAE’s medical tourism sector drew revenue of $1.69 billion in 2013.
“The UAE spends an estimated $2 billion a year to send patients abroad for treatment,” says White. “Gulf countries are spending heavily to ensure they can provide the best treatment inside their country and, in the case of the UAE, encourage medical tourists.”
Saudi Arabia is among the GCC countries forecast to triple healthcare expenditure across the region, according to Frost & Sullivan.
“Rising populations and changing demographics are creating a need for more specialised facilities, and in turn driving demand for more buildings. This is providing yet another opportunity for the region’s construction sector, and firms are getting the chance to work on some of the most exciting healthcare projects,” White adds.
The Big 5 returns in 2014 with eight dedicated product sectors: steel; building interiors; coating, adhesives and sealants; general construction; kitchens and bathrooms; water technology; windows, doors and cladding; and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC).
PMV Live/Middle East Concrete
Running alongside The Big 5, two co-located events, PMV Live and Middle East Concrete (MEC), offer a 360-degree platform to the building and construction industry, with the 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 plant, machinery and vehicles (PMV) and concrete sectors take advantage of the region’s burgeoning infrastructure projects.
The UAE is expected to spend over $300 billion on infrastructure by 2030, according to a report by hospitality consultancy HVS, to include the expansion of the Dubai Metro Red line, new concourses at the recently opened Al Maktoum International Airport, interchanges on the Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, and the construction of the main Expo 2020 centre.
Regionally, Qatar forges on with its National Development Strategy 2011-2015 through a pipeline of major infrastructure projects, including the $45-billion Lusail City project, the newly opened $17.5-billion Hamad International Airport and a high number of road, rail and associated Fifa World Cup 2022 construction projects, while Saudi Arabia is undertaking infrastructure improvement projects in roads, bridges and rail to the tune of $77 billion.
Against this backdrop, a new PMV Live report makes encouraging reading for companies selling heavy-duty vehicles in the GCC, predicting a huge rise in revenues over the next 18 months in the construction sector.
Despite the worldwide financial crash of 2009, which cut sales by 34 per cent, the market for earthmoving equipment has shown a 1.67 per cent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2008 and 2012.
“By 2015, the global construction equipment market is expected to rebound to an estimated market size of $145.5 billion,” says the report by Ventures Onsite.
“Holger Amann, director Liebherr Middle East FZE, commented: “The recovery of the project sector – and the growing scale of projects across the GCC – is creating significant new demand for heavy-duty equipment in the region. Construction for events such as the Expo 2020 in the UAE and the Fifa World Cup 2022 in Qatar are part of the story, but ongoing investment in healthcare, education and housing projects has also supported healthy growth across the industry.”
“The region’s increase in number of large-scale infrastructure projects, either announced or already under way, is driving companies to seek a wider range of innovative, international solutions for their heavy construction needs – and we’ve seen this reflected through the immense year-on-year increase in exhibitors, participants and floor space since the inception of the combined niche construction shows three years ago,” says Nathan Waugh, event director for PMV Live and Middle East Concrete.
The report concludes: “The future outlook for heavy machinery equipment in the GCC shows promising signs of riding on the success of the construction and infrastructure projects in the region.”
Throughout last year’s third edition of the focused shows, PMV Live and MEC welcomed more than 355 exhibitors from over 32 countries, with more than 20,000 international participants descending on the events. PMV Live provides visitors and decision-makers a platform to source and preview plant equipment, construction machinery and vehicles, with multi-million-dollar equipment deals signed at the event over the past three years, while MEC has already established itself as the largest dedicated concrete event in the Middle East.
Following last year’s record attendance across more than 130 educational seminars, 30 live product demonstrations, and five workshops, organisers 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.
Some of the learning and networking opportunities offered will include:
• A world-class, two-day conference highlighting new business opportunities, market developments and the latest in sustainable design and construction;
• Four days of CPD (Continuing Professional Development) certified workshops; and
• Four days of technical seminars, panel discussions and case studies.
Some 15 free certified workshops will take place at MEC, which will be delivered by international experts and will cover the following topics:
• Advancements in concrete repair technologies and techniques;
• Concrete protection, fire-proofing and renovation;
• Durability and service life of reinforced concrete structures in the GCC countries;
• Innovative floor zone advancements – cement-based solutions for early return to service; and
• Tilt-up construction.