UK Construction Week opens with big splash on sustainability

The first major construction industry event since lockdown has opened its doors, welcoming thousands of determined buyers and built environment professionals catching up on two years of innovation, policy advances and new product development.

UK Construction Week runs until Thursday (7 October) at the NEC in Birmingham. As well as more than 300 exhibitors promoting in excess of 6,000 building products and services, the multi-award winning event includes a packed seminar programme with 15 keynote presentations, 250 industry experts and more than 150 hours of professional CPD.

Highlights of that programme from day one focused on sustainability issues, including a keynote presentation on the Construct Zero performance framework, the construction sector’s response to the Government’s 10-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution and the path to net zero by 2050. Andy Mitchell, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and chief executive of Tideway, joined speakers from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Mace, Arup and others, to share insights on the journey to net zero and to announce the latest firms involved in the CLC’s Construct Zero Business Champions campaign.

Over at the Sustainability Hub, a fascinating panel discussion featuring, among others, Pooran Desai, chief executive of One Planet, Nina Skorupsa, chief executive of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) and Frank Liguoro, director of Cast Consultancy, looked at some of the biggest challenges in environmental policy and practice – including incentivising low carbon retrofit, reform of Energy Performance Certificates, promoting the circular economy and reuse of building materials, building communities around sustainable lifestyles and using procurement regulations to encourage higher standards.

Exhibitors at the show have reported high quality visitors. Chris Mellor-Dolman from Wavin said: “It’s been an excellent day one. We’ve been impressed with the footfall and the quality of visitors and have secured some very promising leads.”  Matt Stratham, director at Bullfix, described the event as “really good – high quality, good footfall and the right clientele,” while Chris Jarman, director of the Talentview Construction scheme, was delighted with achieving more than 70 good leads in just one day from organisations across the sector.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said:

“It really does feel fantastic to be back together again. There is no substitute for face-to-face when it comes to showcasing products and services. Ninety percent of the process with customers is done through body language. Virtual events are great to educate and share knowledge, but this week we have 300 exhibitors showcasing two years of innovation face to face. No better way.”

On day two (Wednesday 6 October), attention will shift onto the huge issues of diversity, health and wellbeing in construction.

Key speakers will include Anjali Pindoria, project surveyor at Avi Contracts and former winner of the UKCW Role Models of the Year Awards, and Bola Abisogun OBE, founder and chairman of DiverseCity Surveyors, talking about achieving meaningful diversity, equality and inclusion in one of the biggest industries in the world.

Rick Lee OBE, chief people officer at Willmott Dixon, is giving a keynote presentation about the contractor’s journey to becoming a truly inclusive employer. And in the ‘Future of Construction’ series of talks on the UKCW main stage, sponsored by COINS, the event will look in detail at how construction can improve health and wellbeing, including changing attitudes around mental health.

Day two rounds off with the UKCW Role Models awards announcement for this year. UKCW Role Models are inspiring people who have a strong story to tell and can help to attract others into similar roles. They also act as mentors. Previous years’ Role Models have been out visiting schools and meeting young people to encourage them into construction as a rewarding career. 

Free registration to UK Construction Week is open here:

One entry badge gives access to multiple sections: Build, Modern Methods of Construction, Building Tech, Timber, Civils, Energy and HVAC, and Surface and Materials, as well as Grand Designs Live (6-7 October only).

In addition, visitors can attend two CPD-certified UKCW Summits on Wellbeing and Quality, completely free of charge, and will receive an exclusive copy of AMA Research’s latest report on the booming market for home RMI (repair, maintenance and improvement) work.

Download the free UKCW 2021 app and book one-to-one appointments with delegates and exhibitors. It is available from both iOS and Android app stores. Also available to download now is the show Preview, providing much more information on the many other attractions at this event.

To get regular updates on the event, including safety protocols and new features, follow UKCW on social media using the hashtag #UKCW2021.

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