Autumn is a season full of exhibitions that pretty much cover just about every aspect of construction. Whether it’s ways to reduce heating costs, aesthetics, solar control, safety or just novel concepts that simply make life all that more simple or beautiful, there has been something for just about everyone from builders and installers to architects and home DIY enthusiasts.
At the end of September, the Homebuilding and Renovation Show exhibitors saw self-build and renovation experts descend on Excel in London. Here visitors were offered free one-to-one advice regarding both current and forthcoming projects.
Inspirational home renovation ideas were displayed to an eager DIY audience. Furniture, ground source heating, home automation and staircase renovation were just a few of the key areas explored by homeowners and architects evaluating the next ‘must have’ in aspirational living.
The newly launched UK Construction Week began at the beginning of October and saw the coming together of no less than 9 Construction Shows under the roof of the NEC in Birmingham. A great number of professional companies were exhibiting across five halls at the exhibition centre, with a vast array of innovative design and high specification products, ultimately on display to attract sales, inspire installers and to make life safer and more beautiful for the all important end user.
Whilst installers, builders and architects could revel in a Beer Festival alongside the potential of tomorrow’s products, which will undoubtedly provide key aspects to help grow their businesses, I was keen to explore more than just the figures on footfall regarding some of these events which combine trade with consumer audiences.
After spending some time visiting the exhibitions it was evident that they remain popular and for exhibition organisers there appears to be a buoyant market out there, with many companies remaining happy about putting aside budget for these types of events. Face to face interaction with potential new customers was considered extremely important as a means of awareness and corporate growth.
As with any trade show footfall varies from day to day, but the response was a positive one from exhibitors regarding the Build Show. Likewise, being incorporated into UK Construction Week, sitting alongside trades that complement such as gardening and roofing, undoubtedly helped those exhibiting increase product awareness. WindowWare certainly looked enthused and pleased with the results of their exhibition.
For the DIY aficionados Grand Designs Live was the platform for discovery, with the implication from exhibitors that quality, security and cost saving benefits were the most important considerations to many visiting consumers.
Robert Appleby an installer for the Skylight company stated that the show had been a resounding success and the decision to exhibit had been the right one. The Scottish company manufactures bespoke skylights and glazing systems that make optimum use of light in all sized roofing projects. With Secured By Design accreditation, the rooflights, which are manufactured in triple glazed units, certainly made quite an impact, with heavy duty security reflected in the company’s on-stand presence. It certainly was a crowd puller at the show.
Energy efficiency and tailored design clearly have made an impact with homeowners, which had resulted in very positive show sales for Chimella Ltd. The novel product, an umbrella that is housed inside open chimneys to prevent heat from escaping and drafts from entering a property, was impressing visitors to its stand. Talking to Managing Director and product inventor Simon Wild, it was clear that energy savings and value for money were priorities for homeowners when making investments. He expected with lead generation and on-stand sales that the decision to exhibit at Grand Designs Live would be a very good one for the company.
Consumers seem to be drawn to reduce energy costs without losing anything in terms of product quality. On discussing this with visitors who had just left the Skylight stand, they wanted security that would add value without anything detracting from the overall look of their home when considering their loft extension. A couple who had invested in no less than three Chimellas, had purchased two for themselves and one as a gift, having seen the energy saving benefits for themselves in a friend’s London home.
For sure, ROI was key for many people regarding the decision making process, which is not particularly news to anyone, but that design-led living seems far more achievable is becoming increasingly apparent to them. The message that they can have it all seems to be inspiring the crowd to invest.