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Assessing the impact of Ecobuild 2013

With sustainable building event Ecobuild over and done with for another year, construction industry professionals and observers have been looking back at the trade event and taking stock of the emerging trends, innovative products and evolving practices that the three-day event brought to light.

Ecobuild 2013 took place at London’s ExCeL arena at the beginning of March and drew nearly 60,000 people from across the UK and Europe to see the offerings of more than 1,500 exhibitors and to hear some leading industry experts impart their wisdom and experience on a range of subjects.

The editor of the Builders Merchant’s Journal, Fiona Russell-Horne, noted that there was a rather more subdued air to the 2013 event, however, notable from the areas of new building technology that sparked such buzz as little as two years ago but now seem to have reached a plateau. She wondered whether that might be the juddering economy’s effect both on the spending power of the consumers and on the marketing budgets of the exhibitors.

“The solar PV and thermal companies which were everywhere two years ago had […] continued to drop off in terms of visibility at the show,” she blogged. “Is this indicative of the times we find ourselves in – that there simply isn't the money in the industry to fund these huge, expensive marketing ventures? Or is it that all these things have an optimum size and that Ecobuild is now adjusting and finding its own level?”

The popular blog on the industry website, Building Design Expert (BDE), surmised that events like Ecobuild really do chiefly exist for sales purpose, and that the sharing and pooling of industry knowledge that takes place is a handy side effect.

The BDE Blog stated, “Construction trade shows are a tried and tested format of providing from tens to hundreds of shop windows for exhibitors to dress in the most imaginative way possible in their continued attempts to attract the attention of passing shoppers, and with a keen eye on their market share… If we are attracted to a building, a product, or an exhibition stand; there’s a half reasonable chance that it will create a memorable moment in time.”

The event did wow, however, as a major showcase for many building products and practices that are destined to form the future of the British building industry and that tradesmen and women would be wise to acquaint themselves with. From new heat pump ventilation technology to the latest in sustainable bricks, Ecobuild once again staked the brand’s claim as a key date on the construction industry calendar.