Co-location, co-location, co-location

Melanie Mingas meets FM Expo and Middle East Concrete to talk Big 5

Nathan Waugh, event manager, Middle East Concrete (MEC).

Nathan Waugh, event manager, Middle East Concrete (MEC)

Compared to the inaugural show in 2011 MEC has grown by 50%. How was this achieved?

A large part of the growth has come from Big 5, but a lot of it has been a natural progression.

The companies that were traditionally located across Big 5 and been part of that have seen what we have done in terms or focussing the concrete industry and want to be a part of it. This in turn has helped Big 5 because they can then fill the space previously taken by concrete exhibitors with companies in sectors that are really growing at Big 5, like heating and ventilation, or flooring, for example. So it’s really helped both shows.

In addition, sectors that do not associate with the fit out end of the market, now have a show that is specific to their industry and is more representative of them, for example we have around 12 formwork exhibitors this time and there has been growth in other sectors too.

We want Big 5 to be seen as a product segmented show, rather than country, but an extension of that is to pull the concrete sector out entirely and brand it as its own event and industry. Concrete is at the heart of every big construction project and that really needs its own event.

What are the primary products and trends that drive the show’s agenda?

There is general growth across the whole region, but particularly in regards to MEC we are looking at the infrastructure projects like the GCC railway in the longer term and other projects across the region in the shorter term.

Saudi Arabia is a big market, as is Qatar and we do get significant visitors from both to the show. But I have found from speaking to several key clients that the UAE has bounced back stronger than they were expecting and they are now doing more business than they were doing at the start of the year. That’s what underpinning the growth of the whole show and it’s what is underpinning the international interest in the whole show.

We are fortunate that we have a very strong network of agents from across the globe and they recognise that not only is the Middle East a great region to sell products into now, but Dubai is the perfect hub to do that from and from that context, MEC provides the ideal base to do that.

Which elements are you most looking forward to hearing industry reaction from?

Being a bit of a concrete geek, I really like the concrete repair workshop. It’s something that has gone really well, it’s an important issue and it’s something that was very well attended in Saudi and Dubai last year and it’s something that we are looking forward to.

How did the industry react to the introduction of MEC last year?

Industry reaction to it was really positive among visitors and exhibitors. From a visitor perspective it was great because if they are buying they know they are going to go to Middle East Concrete rather than different country pavilions that may not be related to their sectors.

From an exhibitor perspective, they really liked the opportunity to be round other exhibitors from the same sector, such a admixtures to formwork to concrete block making machines and everything in between.

From their perspective it was great because they saw it was attracting their entire core audience in one location.

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