Spotlight on international firms at The Big 5 2014

Foreign players will boost UAE economy, event director says

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Suppliers operating in “slow” European construction markets will be the centre of focus at this year’s Big 5 exhibition in Dubai, according to group event director for the show, Andy White.

Speaking at a conference held in the city earlier in the day, White added GCC countries will award $195.67 billion-worth of construction contracts this year, up almost $35 billion compared with 2013.

“Encouraging international firms to set up shop in the UAE will benefit the local economy here,” White said.

“The Big 5 has gone from being a Dubai-centric event since it was first launched to becoming a regional event which attracts exhibitors and visitors from other countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar.

“The Big 5 brand has expanded since we took it to other markets, such as Kuwait and even Mumbai,” White added.

The Big 5 2014, and its co-located shows Middle East Concrete and PMV Live, are expected to host more than 2,700 exhibitors from 60 countries, with 25% representing new exhibitors in 2014.

White said “25-30%” of the exhibitors are from within the GCC, while the rest are international exhibitors.

“Every metre of space at the Dubai World Trade Centre has been taken up by the shows, which have been a complete sell-out. Italy’s will be the largest country pavilion at The Big 5, and government-funded stalls from the GCC will also be present at the show.”

Education programmes to be conducted at The Big 5 2014 comprise the organisers’ arrangements with Dubai Central Laboratory to educate international manufacturers about local standards for construction material.

“The education programme has increased our audience appeal and attracts a more diverse group of visitors. This year there will be 55 CPD certified workshops, allowing attendees to learn at the show and earn professional recognition,” White continued. .

The four-day workshop programme has high-profile specialists on a range of subjects including green building, project management, PPP financing and contract resolution.

A two-day Sustainable Design & Construction Conference will also begin on the second day of the show. Mario Seneviratne, managing director of Green Technologies, a LEED Fellow and a member of the judging panel for The Big 5’s Gaia Awards explained the impact of sustainable practices on the local construction industry.

“The sophistication of the industry and the requirements of clients for higher levels of buildings, products and services has certainly increased in pace and complexity,” Seneviratne said, while speaking at the press conference.

“Sustainability has quickly picked up in the region, especially in the UAE, and we continue to see major advances in green buildings. Some of the most sustainable buildings and projects can be found in GCC countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

“Manufacturers of construction materials like concrete and scaffolding are also evolving to incorporate HSE (health, safety and environment) and sustainability in their products now,” Seneviratne added.


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