Prepare your visit to Construction Week – nine shows at the NEC 6-11 October

With just weeks to go before the industry heads to Birmingham for UK Construction Week (6-11 October), you might like to start planning a visit around the comprehensive seminar schedule led by some top media names – John Humphrys, Radio 4 Today programme presenter, Steph McGovern BBC business journalist, and Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the Channel 4 news presenter.

Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week is expected to be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. Taking place at the NEC, Birmingham, (with the trade only days 6-8 October), the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors.

It is expected to attract 55,000 visitors, who will be able to attend the Build Show, Timber Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2015, Kitchens & Bathrooms Live, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2015 (heating and ventilation), Smart Buildings 2015 and Grand Designs Live.

The seminar programme is an integral part of the event. Each seminar will consist of an hour-long panel discussion covering key topics of relevance to construction.

John Humphrys, Radio 4 Today programme presenter, will facilitate day one of proceedings on the main stage. The programme will commence with a welcome and keynote presentation from the government’s chief construction advisor, Dr Peter Hansford. He will set out the priorities and plans for construction industry policy over the next electoral cycle. The day will proceed with discussions on product and process innovation, tackling how the industry can break away from traditional construction and engineering processes.

A series of speakers, including RICS’ Jeremy Blackburn, CPA’s Dr Noble Francis and CIAT’s Gary Mees, will discuss the economic environment and its impacts on the industry. The image of the industry as a whole will be under the spotlight with contributions from Brian Berry of the FMB, Christina Jackson from Amey and Tim Carey from Willmott Dixon.

Rounding off day one, Dennis Seal of DLS Strategic Ltd and John Stewart of the HBF will look the affordability gap plaguing the country’s housing market might be bridged.

Presiding over the second day of seminars, Steph McGovern, the BBC business journalist, will chair a series of talks that look at skills in the industry. Marie-Claude Hemming from CECA, together with Kim Wortz of RICS, John Patch from Roger Bullivant and the CITB’s Sarah Fenton will begin the day considering how to find and retain talent in the industry.

The skills shortage is the issue for Rupert Scott from TRADA, with Rob Pannell from the Zero Carbon Hub and Pauline Traetto from the BRE Academy. They are joined by Alex Birks from the CITB, Tom Storey of K10 and Bridget Bartlett of the CIoB.

The Birmingham Development Forum is next. Outlining a vision of how the Birmingham of the future could and should look, the panel will touch on regeneration and getting the balance of mixed use right. Contributors include Make Architects’ Ken Shuttleworth, Dan Smyth from BDP and Liz Peace from Curzon Regeneration Company, together with Sir Albert Bore from Birmingham City Council. Infrastructure is the order of the day, too, with insights into current and upcoming ambitious infrastructure projects in the UK, such as the Silvertown road tunnel, Crossrail 2 and the Bakerloo line extension.

Concluding proceedings on the middle day is a debate on the productivity of the sector. Just why can’t the UK build a skyscraper in 14 days? Attempting to address what is holding the industry back is a panel of six speakers, including Crossrail’s John Pelton and Kamran Moazami from WSP/ Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Seminars on the final day of the trade event, facilitated by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the Channel 4 news presenter, will open with a presentation from Dr David Hancock on how to drive more collaboration between government and the construction industry, what progress is being made towards the government’s Construction Strategy and the Construction 2025 vision, as well as how to improve project capability.

Paul Bogle of the National Federation of Builders will join Liz Welton from Coventry City Council next, to look at procurement improvements and opportunities in construction. Working smarter is the topic on the table for a panel of five including Simon Murray from ICE and Kevin Blunden from CABE.

This impressive schedule concludes with a panel discussion – joined by David Philp, Head of BIM Implementation, UK BIM Task Group, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and AECOM – on the outlook for BIM in UK construction and building, with an update on BIM adoption and the next steps, how to enable SMEs to make the most of BIM and how it is currently working for contractors and house builders.

Richard Morey, Group Events Director at Media 10, responsible for UK Construction Week, says: “We set out to create an informative programme of content that will complement and enrich the exhibition as a whole. The seminar programme is a key attraction for both visitors and exhibitors. I think the impressive rollcall of speakers and the line up of topics will not fail to satisfy anyone attending over the three day event.”

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