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Sat 21 Oct 2006 04:00 AM

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This year’s Big 5 show is being billed as the biggest ever, with over 2,500 exhibitors and 40,000 visitors expected. MEP Middle East outlines some of the highlights for MEP professionals.

|~|5p30main.gif|~|The 2006 Big 5 exhibition is billed as the biggest ever, with over 2,500 exhibitors lined up.|~|With construction at an all-time high in the Middle East, the number of firms involved in the industry has also spiralled.

This booming market is reflected in the growth of the region’s largest event for construction, The Big 5. And with many buildings now well underway or coming to completion, the MEP sector will represent a significant proportion of this year’s event as the means of servicing buildings comes to the fore.

Expected to be 20% larger than the 2005 event, around 2,500 exhibitors have signed up for the five-day event in Dubai’s International Exhibition Centre.

Firms from a total of 56 countries will be exhibiting this year, including newcomers The Philippines, giving a strong indication of the importance of the local construction sector to the world economy.

Seven industry sectors will be covered, including building and construction; water technology and environment; plus air conditioning and refrigeration.

This is reportedly the only specialist event in the Middle East for water technologies, an area that is already burgeoning in the region. It is estimated that US $7 billion (AED26 billion) will be invested in the development of the UAE’s water resources over the next 25 years.

As the local population increases with the number of buildings, the demand for desalination plants to provide a continuous water supply is heading upwards. But so too is the need for water conservation and many of the firms at the show will be displaying products that aim to reduce waste and overall water consumption.

Phillipines-based World Chem Enviro Technologies will be showcasing its waste and wastewater technologies and equipment, while CheqPoint Tech Trading will be explaining the benefits of water treatment without chemicals.

Geberit will be exhibiting products for both sides of the water market, with pipes for water supply and drainage plus products that ensure the conservation of water, such as automatic taps and flushing systems.

Another side of the water market that is predicted to develop in the immediate future is the use of plastics pipes. As the price of metals continues to rise, alternatives to traditional steel pipes are increasingly being sought. This fact is set to be represented at the show with firms such as Cosmoplast exhibiting their ranges.

The largest increase in MEP representatives at the event though is set to be from the air conditioning market. This sector is experiencing a healthy boom in the Middle East as the population expands and new real estate ventures continue to be developed.

Whether residential, commercial or retail, one factor remains consistent with all of the new developments in the region: the need for air conditioning. Sales of air conditioning units have grown by 56% in the past six years and the trend is expected to continue. The Japan Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association (JRAIA) alone is predicting sales of over 2.7 million units by 2008.

Several of the world’s largest air conditioning manufacturers are using the event to launch their latest products, with energy efficiency and environmental considerations being common themes in new features added.

JCI-York is responding to the fast-track nature of the local construction projects with a packaged chiller plant that requires no external transformers. The firm is also promoting a range of car park ventilation systems with low operating costs and efficient air mixing.

UTS Carrier returns to the event this year with a range of new products, including chillers that use the non ozone-depleting refrigerant HFC 134 plus window air conditioners that have an increased energy efficiency ratio.

Others from the air conditioning sector that will be exhibiting at Big 5 include Bry-Air (Asia), and for the first time, Daikin Middle East, which is highlighting a version of its variable refrigerant volume (VRV) system that has been developed specifically for the Middle East market.

Manufacturers are responding to the fast changes and needs of the Middle East MEP market. And with many other product launches expected at the Big 5 event, many of these on display over the five days are sure to find a place in future installations around the region. ||**||

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