WAN is delighted to announce its appointment as official media partner of what promises to be the largest UK event of its kind to date, UK Construction Week at the NEC, Birmingham. We’ll be involved in various aspects of the event, which will house nine sector-specific shows – including the newly acquired Build Show and Timber Expo – from 6–11 October 2015. With around 1,000 exhibitors and an anticipated 55,000 visitors, it’s the place to be for all key stakeholders within the built environment and construction industry.
WAN’s Editor-in-Chief Michael Hammond commented, “We’re very excited about this opportunity to inject some inspirational architecture into a major construction event and the timing couldn’t be better with Birmingham gearing up for a massive development programme. This is very much Birmingham’s time and we’re very proud to be involved in this programme.”
WAN will be on the scene throughout the dedicated trade-only days from 6–8 October with our own pop-up radio station. We’ll be finding out all the latest news on products and trends from exhibitors, speakers and visitors and broadcasting 10 ten-minute podcasts at the show as part of our ongoing online series, ‘Shoptalk’.
At the trade-only Build Show (6–8 October), WAN will be hosting the ‘Birmingham Development Forum’, which kicks off with an enlightening keynote speech by renowned Birmingham-born architect, Ken Shuttleworth of Make Architects (Birmingham’s ‘The Cube’ is just one of his practice's many famous creations).
Ken’s speech will set the scene of this unique opportunity for the UK’s second largest city to ‘come of age’, outlining a vision of how the Birmingham of the future could (and should) look, and touching on important subjects such as regeneration and getting the balance of mixed-use right.
Ken says: “I'm delighted to be opening the debate at WAN's Birmingham Development Forum at UK Construction Week; this is a wonderful opportunity to bring so many professionals from the built environment sector together to share ideas and knowledge. I'm also excited that the event is taking place in my home city of Birmingham, which is on the threshold of many positive changes. I'll be outlining how I see those changes unfolding before handing over the discussion to the panel and delegates.”
In another part of UK Construction Week, we’re also pleased to announce Timber Expo as an official sponsor of the WAN Wood in Architecture Award 2015. At a private session on Thursday 8 October, WAN’s panel of experts will be judging the Award – followed by a forum discussion open to delegates – and we’ll be announcing the winner at a special drinks reception at Timber Expo that evening.
To give a little more background to UK Construction Week, it is being staged by Media 10, the UK’s biggest design and build event company – probably best known for its hugely popular Grand Designs Live, hosted by Kevin McCloud at the NEC. This year, Grand Designs Live runs from 8–11 October and is joined by the Build Show, Timber Expo, Surface and Materials Show, Kitchens & Bathroom Live, Plant & Machinery Live, Energy 2015 and Smart Buildings 2015, all under the banner of UK Construction Week.
Lee Newton, CEO of Media 10, told us: “It’s an exciting time to be involved in the construction industry. Construction growth is continuing to drive the UK’s economic recovery and with more than 2.2 million people employed in this sector, output and productivity is only set to increase. We recognise that there’s a very real desire for an event that will bring the whole industry spectrum together, providing a much needed opportunity to network, learn and do business – as well as simply celebrating the industry at a time of renewed optimism.”
His comments are resoundingly borne out by a newly released report by the NoPalaver Group – a provider of accounting services to contractors. Its findings – based on year end 31 December 2013, the latest data available – show there has been a sharp rise in the number of new construction businesses being set up. Figures show that overall there was a net gain of 5,445 construction businesses in 2013, as more new firms opened than closed down for the first time in five years. This compares to a net loss of 7,030 construction firms the year before.
We look forward to UK Construction Week with eager anticipation.