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Specification's Paul Groves examines the value of exhibitions and trade shows in the UK

It is that time of year when two of the most common questions you are likely to hear are:

  • “Are you going?”
  • “How was it for you?”

There are a variety of exhibitions, conferences and events taking place around the country this Autumn covering just about every conceivable theme, product area and industry sector.

Most likely your inbox is inundated with everything from early bird offers, to details of the latest big-wig taking the stage to talk about the industry’s most pressing issue.

Only by sharing our knowledge, expertise and passion for the work we do will we help create an industry that is fit for purpose

Paul Groves Editor of Specification magazine

It may well leave you feeling a little dazed and confused, or simply jaded about the whole conference and exhibition circuit. You could be experiencing exhibition fatigue without even leaving the cosy confines of your office.

So, the questions remain – are you going? And if you did go – how was it for you?

Our European neighbours still seem to adopt the big is beautiful approach to exhibitions, with large number of companies constructing elaborate stands and tens of thousands of visitors making their way through the doors each day. But the trend in the UK has seen the reverse happening.

We all know time is precious and devoting a day, two days or even longer to attending the latest industry event seems an impossible task. That is why the draw of an exhibition these days for so many visitors lie mainly in the seminar programme, rather than the opportunity to interact with products and meet the knowledgeable teams behind them.

In the age of the internet, videos, downloads and virtual reality, the lure of the product has diminished.

An opportunity not to be missed

But, at a time when the industry is heading towards a significant watershed moment, the chance to network with industry leaders, hear their take on the changes we are likely to see and opportunity to voice your opinion on what needs to happen, is one that cannot be missed.

Make no mistake, we are heading for major changes. The Grenfell Tower fire and the various investigations and inquiries it has prompted, along with the on-going uncertainty surrounding Brexit, will both shape our industry in the long-term.

The need for a shake-up in building regulations and the importance of the specification process has been clearly emphasised by recent events. But so has the need for the industry to come together and openly discuss these events and the lessons we have to learn from them.

It is only by sharing our knowledge, expertise and passion for the work we do that we will help create an industry that is fit for purpose and that has a solid long-term future.

Perhaps you should take the time to attend the next industry event. And maybe the size of the exhibition floor plan and the numbers visiting the event are not that important.

Size isn’t everything, it is quality that counts when it comes to UK exhibitions these days.

So, I’ll see you all at NEC Birmingham between October 10 and 12 for UK Construction Week.



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