This year’s Big 5 show, expected to be the largest in the event’s history, will reflect the turnaround in Dubai’s market and renewed investor confidence in the regional economic powerhouse.
Dubai’s resurgent construction market and its appeal to the industry’s players from across the world is being reflected in the 2014 Big 5 show, which is anticipated to be the largest and best attended edition in the event’s illustrious 35-year history.
The region’s largest construction event, The Big 5 will be held this month (November 17-20) at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE, and showcase products and services from 2,700 exhibitors from 60 countries around the world.
Last year’s show saw record attendance with more than 74,000 participants from more than 124 countries, a 23 per cent increase over 2012, and especially a host of new exhibitors from around the world, says Andy White, group event director.
Running alongside The Big 5 are two co-located events, PMV Live and Middle East Concrete (MEC), which offer a 360-degree platform to the building and construction industry, with all 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 PMV and concrete sectors take advantage of the region’s burgeoning infrastructure projects,” he says.
“The Big 5 grows in tandem with the sector, and as it continues to make a strong comeback, so too do the opportunities that arise out of The Big 5 for visitors and exhibitors. With the surge in government projects, social infrastructure improvements, and retail and real estate developments on the upswing, and the total construction projects in 2014 expected to reach $46 billion according to our research partner, Ventures Middle East, The Big 5 is well on its way to surpass itself in its 35th year,” says White.
“We see the industry’s resurgence and growth reflected in the number of international exhibitors who are participating in the show. There are many key exhibitors across our eight product sectors, including Emirates Steel, Ideal Standard, Chigo, Alubond, Al Jazeera Paints, RAK Ceramics, and Arab Water World, to name a few,” he adds.
The Big 5 returns this year 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).
A new feature – the ‘Innovation Trail’ – is being introduced this year, to highlight cutting-edge and innovative products at The Big 5, Middle East Concrete, and PMV Live. The trail will take the visitors on a journey through the show with stops at pre-selected stands featuring the most innovative products.
Meanwhile, the Gaia Awards has grown into 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. This year will be the seventh edition of the prestigious awards.
On November 18, a panel of industry experts with acclaimed credentials will select the winners, whose products are expected to demonstrate exceptional and unique features that successfully integrate further progression into construction sustainability in the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region.
An array of more than 40 free-to-attend CPD (Continuing Professional Development)-certified educational workshops with topics ranging from responsive architecture, health and safety, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (Leed), building information modelling (BIM), project and contracts management led by the Project Management Institute-UAE chapter, and arbitration will take place this year. “These programmes are all part of the additional added value our visitors gain when attending the show,” says White.
Incorporating sustainability into upcoming builds continues to be a keen interest amongst architects, developers, builders and suppliers, says the organiser. The topic is prominently highlighted during the show with a two-day Sustainable Design and Construction Conference to be held on November 18 and 19.
A seminar entitled How to Trade in the UAE, providing guidelines on how to navigate the complex regulatory framework to set up a business and win work in the UAE’s booming construction market, will be held on November 19.
PMV AND MEC
Middle East Concrete and PMV Live, the region’s most important meeting points for heavy construction machinery, plant equipment, commercial and construction vehicles, and concrete, will gather 355 exhibitors from 32 countries this year.
According to a report by Ventures, the global construction equipment market is expected to rebound to an estimated market size of $145.5 billion by 2015.
“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,” the report states.
Total construction projects in the GCC this year is forecast by Ventures to reach $195.67 billion – up $35.8 billion compared with 2013.
“The increase in the number of large-scale infrastructure projects in the region, 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.
Demand for precast concrete is also increasing as developers realise how its use can speed up completion time in major projects, according to the report by Ventures Onsite, which indicates that the technology is becoming increasingly popular in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar.
In Dubai, demand for precast concrete is forecast to increase as high-end architectural projects start to be constructed for Expo 2020. Precast developers are also likely to see opportunities for temporary products, which can be disassembled after the event and transported to other locations. Qatar’s increased investment in infrastructure projects in the run-up to the World Cup 2022 has boosted demand for precast products and helped build low-cost housing in “labour cities”.
In the UAE and Qatar, precast concrete is being used to support large infrastructure projects, while in Saudi Arabia it will be used to help meet government targets of 500,000 new homes.
The use of precast concrete will be discussed at the Middle East Concrete exhibition in two technical seminars, which form part of a series of educations events planned in conjunction with the PMV and MEC.
Among the highlights of the seminars to be held on the first day (November 17) are panel discussions on ‘Market update and future forecast of the Middle East’s infrastructure sector’, which will offer the audience a market overview and help identify new infrastructure mega-projects around the region in addition to assessing the latest advancements in construction materials specification; and a session, entitled ‘New developments and opportunities in the Middle East rail sector’.
Other seminars on day one include ‘Design trends for underground infrastructure’ presented by Atkins; and technical seminars on ‘Safety in Design’ and ‘Future of Concrete with Futuristic Fibres’.
Amongst the events on the second day (November 18) are technical seminars on ‘Concrete Sustainability’, ‘Green Sense Concrete’ and ‘Role of admixtures for manufacturing sustainable concrete’. Also lined up that day is a panel discussion on ‘New developments in roads and highway engineering and maintenance’, which aims at assessing the latest methods and techniques for the maintenance and repair of roads, highways, and bridges; and evaluating today’s precast, prestressed concrete bridge design and construction.
The series of seminars and discussion continue on the third day (November 19) with technical seminars including one on ‘Extending the service life of concrete structures with FBE-coated rebar’ and another entitled ‘2D to 3D Modelling and why you need BIM’, amongst others. Panel sessions include one on ‘New techniques in deep foundations construction’ to explore innovations in deep foundations construction and cost benefit analysis of the latest tools and technologies; and another on ‘Innovations in concrete facades: Cost-efficiency and sustainability’, highlighting the latest developments and design options for concrete facades. There will also be a case study on Abu Dhabi International Airport expansion presented by Amr Degwe from NSCC International on the third day.
And on the last day (November 20), there will be a key panel session on ‘Innovations in plant, vehicle and equipment maintenance and asset management’, which will discuss effective management of plant equipment and spare parts while developing and executing maintenance schedules in addition to assessing the latest innovations in tracking technology. A case study on the National EcoHouse Oman, presented by Sami Al Maameri of ICF Buildings Materials will also be among the seminars planned for the final day of the show.