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Sat 24 Oct 2009 04:00 AM

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Rapid response

In one of the toughest years the region’s construction industry has ever faced The Big 5 still looks likely to bust a few records. CW chats to Simon Mellor, vice president of construction for DMG World Media to find out why.

Rapid response
Mellor believes that the big 5 is well known as a buying show.
Rapid response

In one of the toughest years the region’s construction industry has ever faced The Big 5 still looks likely to bust a few records. CW chats to Simon Mellor, vice president of construction for DMG World Media to find out why.

In the construction industry, it pays to have a track record. Established credentials and proof of performance are bound to boost confidence in your ability, especially as the little guys fall by the wayside in tough economic times.

Maybe that’s why sometimes big is better. The Big 5 International Building and Construction Show seems to be proving the point. In what has been a tough year for most contractors in the industry, The Big 5 has performed ‘quite surprisingly’, according to Simon Mellor, vice president of the construction division for DMG World Media.

“We’ve been a long established show here and in being long established, people inherently have confidence in the products and services on offer within The Big 5 environment,” he said.

The result, the organiser promises, is a show that will be bigger than it has been before. Mellor feels there are a few important reasons why. One, there’s more space available this year, thanks to an extension of the facilities. Added to this is the fact that the show has a reputation for attracting buyers ready to give exhibitors an ‘instant response’.

“We’ve always attracted a broad audience from right across the Mena region and exhibitors have always been successful in promoting a strong community,” said Mellor. “It was a community, in a sense, restricted by the size of the facilities. The GCC and the wider Mena region have been so positive and strong over the last five to ten years that we have been struggling to meet demand with the size of the venue.

“This year the venue has extended facilities, which has allowed us, to some extent, to meet the true demand and against all expectations, we will put a bigger show on in 2009 than in 2008.”

One of the immediate benefits of the bigger facilities was that The Big 5 PMV show can come indoors for the first time. The PMV exhibition space will have a 14m roof clearance, leaving plenty of room for some of the biggest kit around to be on display.

Strong local demand is coupled with support from around the globe, particularly Asia. There is also some emerging involvement from South America, Eastern Europe – partly a product of the growth of the European Union – and more interest from North Africa.

“Trade shows tend to fall into two distinct categories, those where people come and chat, and shows where they buy and specify. We are an excellent opportunity for companies to introduce products and test consumer reaction,” said Mellor. “We are very well known as a buying show.”

Acknowledging the vital role of the deal makers, The Big 5 has introduced a new component to the show with the creation of a key buyer’s programme.

“We’ve invested a lot of time and energy into creating a key buyer programme, actively looking to service upwards of 700 leading projects throughout the Middle East and Africa region,” said Mellor.“In any typical year we’ll have upwards of 15,000 products or services on show. It’s a tough job for a key buyer to sift through them all. Instead we’re looking to give them a business class experience of the show, to help their needs be met as accurately, quickly and comfortably as possible.

“Our exhibitors want to see the key buyers and we’re excited to see what the results will be this year.”

There is an educational angle to the show, with a strong emphasis on boosting the level of awareness and knowledge of green issues. Experts will be on hand throughout the four days, in a dedicated area designed to act as an educational gallery, where people can browse and learn. Key topics covered will include renewable energy, solar power and water conservation issues.

“This ties in very nicely with the work we did on the GAIA awards last year,” said Mellor. “Some of the 2008 winners will be highlighted in that community, which will also provide a platform to promote the 2009 winners.”

Environmental issues will also be addressed in a portion of the conference programme, which will run in parallel with the show.

“The most interesting area is the affordability of the technology,” said Mellor. “There is a general perception, wrongly in my view, that this is an expensive way to build. But there are ways of making this cost effective and affordable and in the current economic climate, we are all looking for more affordable and effective solutions.”

As the single largest gathering of the construction industry in the Middle East, The Big 5 will be a chance for many to discuss the state of the industry with international peers. Mellor sees it as an important opportunity for the construction community to come together, share their experiences and look at how to deal with the year ahead.

“I think of all the years in past history, this is probably the one where the community needs to come together to discuss and understand what can be learned and how,” he said.

What’s new for 2009?

Key buyer’s programmeA ‘business class’ exhibition experience for the industry’s biggest spenders

More space, more peopleExpanded facilities mean there’s room for more of everything, including exhibitors, as the 2009 edition looks to be the biggest ever

All indoorsBigger facilities mean the Big 5 PMV will also be completely undercover on the same site

Easier access1500 additional parking spaces in three new locations around the Trade Centre and expanded transport options making getting in and out easier

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