UKCW breaks attendance record

A record-breaking 34,000 industry professionals attended this year’s UK Construction Week (UKCW).

The ‘Future of Construction’, this year’s theme, pervaded throughout the nine different shows within UKCW, brought to life through an innovation trail, 3D printing, AI, AR, numerous construction site simulators, and robotic technologies such as the Robocop-esque ExoSkeleton.

There were more than 650 exhibitors at UKCW this year, demonstrating and launching over 10,000 products and services. The diversity and innovation on show brought national media attention to UKCW, with live broadcasts each day including BBC Breakfast, Birmingham Live and BBC News channels.

CPDs and seminars covering the big issues such as the Hackitt Review and the Grenfell Tower fire were all well attended, while other packed-out sessions generated calls for more responsive planning and housing policies, more integration across digital construction and software systems, and more consistency and guidance from the government, especially in procurement and standards.

Equality, diversity and inclusion was also a major theme, with big debates on the UKCW stage.

According to the organisers, feedback on the show has been ‘phenomenally positive’, from exhibitors and visitors alike.

Stuart Gray, senior building services engineer, ROK Construction, said: “You can’t compare looking at the internet and websites to going around and chatting to people who really know what they are talking about. It’s really interesting to see the latest and greatest technology which is coming into the world.”

Looking towards next year’s show, Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said: “There was a tremendous positivity around UKCW this year, with a real feeling that the industry wants to adapt and embrace a new way of building. The success of the Offsite section was testament to this, as was the interest in new technology, electric vehicle infrastructure, renewables, and the IoT Arena. Our exhibitor rebook rate has exceeded our expectations and is 40% higher than last year, so we are really excited about how we can take this all forward in 2019 at UKCW.”

Next year’s UKCW will take place between 8-10 October 2019 at Birmingham’s NEC.