According to recent reports, the UK now lags behind Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands when it comes to offsite construction and the efficiencies this can offer the housing market in particular.

So all eyes will be on the Offsite area at this year’s UK Construction Week (UKCW). Discussing and dissecting the developments in modular and volumetric building technologies, products and techniques, scrutiny will be on the proof of performance of this fast-growing sector and how well, in reality, it can address critical issues such as skills shortages in the construction industry.

This year’s UKCW event includes the return of the Offsite Theatre, supported by the Modular and Portable Building Association and showcasing the latest news, products and discussions in premanufacturing, volumetric and all other types of offsite construction, at Birmingham’s NEC between 9-11 October 2018.

Industry experts and commentators will take centre stage to provoke discussion and outline plans for how offsite construction can tackle the housing crisis, and how the supply chain can keep up with the unprecedented demands to come.

Offsite Innovations

Ahead of the official release of the Offsite Theatre seminar programme, UKCW has announced a selection of Offsite exhibitors including CTX Containex, Extenda Line, Smart Panel, KC Cabins Solutions Ltd, Kerkstoel, Fermacell, REM, MPBA and Portakabin; alongside more than 100 exclusive product launches.

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said “If you work in the construction industry, it’s a must-attend event. It’s an opportunity to see new products, discuss deals with suppliers, meet with your peers and hear what’s going from leading industry experts.

“For any forward-thinking business, the knowledge that will be taken away is invaluable.”

The Offsite Theatre links three of UKCW’s nine shows including:

Build Show
Centred around the Regeneration Hub, sponsored by Easy-Trim, the Build Show will uncover the latest developments, trends and projects in building refurbishment, repair and maintenance, alongside three new sections to the show: Doors, Windows and Glass; Roofing, Cladding and Insulation; and Tools, Health and Safety.

Timber Expo
The Timber Expo, supported by TRADA, returns with a new feature – the Confederation of Timber Industries’ workshops on issues such as fire safety and the successful use of wood in construction. These will take place alongside an array of timber-related talks, installations and exhibits.

Surfaces and Materials Show
The Surface and Materials Show will deliver workshops on hybrid concrete construction and modern materials, alongside a digital display hub which promises a tangible and visual experience that will inform your future projects.

Innovation Trail
A trail of innovation will flow through each of these shows, as well as Energy 2018, Building Tech Live, Surface & Materials Show, HVAC 2018, Civils Expo, Plant and Machinery Live, and Grand Designs Live; cementing UKCW’s 2018 innovation theme.

Talks, workshops and free CPD sessions will bring you up-to-speed with the innovative ideas shaping the future of the offsite construction industry. Bookings for CPD sessions are now live so register quickly as spaces are limited.

Other highlights of the week include the Beer & Ale Festival with hot food and live entertainment, and a chance to celebrate the Role Model of the Year, following the official shortlisting of 37 inspiring men and women.

Take Part

The Build Show takes place between 9-11 October at the NEC in Birmingham. Free tickets for visitors are now available at Tickets allow access to the other UKCW shows.
There’s also still time to take part in the UKCW as an exhibitor. If you want to share your latest product launch or service with those who matter, register your interest via the Build Show Exhibitor page.

Keep up to date with the latest information about exhibitors, product launches and speakers at the Build Show via the website and on Twitter at @BuildShow or using the hashtag #BuildShow2018.

The revolution in indoor climate control and security spearheaded by smart technologies is the subject of a UK Construction Week seminar being given by GEZE UK’s head of window technology.
Spencer Allen for will share the spotlight with the likes of architect and television presenter George Clarke and representatives of the BRE, Carbon Trust and Sunday Times, during the showcase event, staged at the NEC Birmingham, 10 – 12 October.

He will explore the concept of smart natural air ventilation, how it works, outline its benefits and examine the findings of recent studies on its effects on workplace productivity and reducing ‘sick building syndrome’.

The session, which takes place at 2.30pm within the Smart Buildings Hub, on 10 October, will look at how smart solutions are used in life-saving buildings such as hospitals and how they can be used to save lives in the event of fire by allowing safe and smoke free escape.

It will also address security – eliminating ‘windows left open’ and the benefits of safe and secure night ventilation on buildings for optimum ‘next working day’ environments.
Said Spencer, GEZE UK’s National Sales Manager for Window Technology: “We spend 90% of our time indoors, so it’s not surprising that improving air quality inside buildings is in all our interests.

“With climate change resulting in ever-increasing temperatures and more frequent heatwaves within the UK, it is time that we looked at efficient ways of improving building ventilation which will require less energy usage.”

Event attendance is free. For further information click here.

For more information about GEZE UK’s comprehensive range of products and system solutions call 01543 443000 or visit

UK Construction Week, the UK’s largest gathering and community of construction professionals, has conducted a survey to uncover and tackle issues facing construction, housebuilding and skills in the run up to the General Election. With over 1,000 responses from a cross section of professionals working in the sector, key points from the survey include:

  • Sir Richard Branson is named as ‘the best person’ to head up new UK infrastructure projects
  • 77% believe state intervention is needed for more housing
  • 38% want Gavin Barwell to retain his position as Housing Minister
  • 54% call for more housebuilding on brownfield sites

One of the most significant results from the survey was for Sir Richard Branson, who was voted as the best person to spearhead new UK infrastructure projects, such as HS2 and Heathrow Airport, signalling a need for more entrepreneurial vision in tackling large scale projects.

On the result, Sir Richard Branson said “I’m very flattered by the survey. The only danger is that if I oversaw these key infrastructure projects then by the time I’ve finished there would only be room for one airline and one train company, both beginning with the letter V! The key thing one needs to get right is to plan these major projects with the customer’s needs in mind. Too often these are planned by engineers for engineers and fail to meet the user’s demand. This means they are underused and fail to have the major impact they should do.”

Further results show a three way split on the government’s current housing policy with a third of those polled voting both for and against current policies, and a third not convinced either way.

Over half of those surveyed (54%) called for the next elected government to be more aggressive with planning permissions on brownfield sites to enable house building. Only 11% voted to loosen Green Belt restrictions, dispelling the myth that the construction industry wants to build on protected land.

Although the industry isn’t wholly satisfied with current housing policy, Gavin Barwell was voted overwhelmingly in favour as the best man for the job of Housing Minister, with the next name suggested, Boris Johnson, only receiving a quarter of the number of nominations. Labour’s John Healey, previous Housing Minister under the Labour government, was the third suggestion.
77% of those surveyed believe the only way to reach 1 million homes by 2020 is by state intervention, and for a council house building programme to begin.

For infrastructure, there was a two way split between Vince Cable and Sir Richard Branson who were both voted as the best people to lead UK infrastructure projects, followed by Sir Alan Sugar and Sir James Dyson. A clear indication the industry feels it needs entrepreneurial visionaries to successfully take projects forward to 2021.

In terms of major projects the industry is generally positive about these going ahead with a Conservative government, with HS2 and Heathrow seen as the safest projects followed by Hinkley point, Crossrail 2, Thames Tideway and the road renewal building programme.

However, there is a real concern that major projects will stall if the Conservative government is not re-elected, with a majority of those surveyed believing all projects will stall with HS2 coming out on top (44%) followed by Crossrail 2 (40%) followed by the road renewal building programme (40%), Hinkley Point (30%), Thames Tideway (30%) and Heathrow third runway (26%).

Nathan Garnett, Event Director at Media 10, which runs UKCW, said: “We have seen a great deal of talk around housing and infrastructure in this general election campaign so far, so I think that the main political parties should take note of this industry wide survey. It shows that there are still a lot more assurances and interventions needed to build the homes we need and the infrastructure we have been promised. We will be using these results to make sure the main political parties know what the industry wants, and one clear message is that innovation and entrepreneurial endeavour cannot happen without government assistance.”

Returning to the NEC in Birmingham last month, the UK’s largest construction trade event UK Construction Week attracted more than 30,000 trade visitors and over 650 exhibitors to showcase their latest innovations, debate the industry’s biggest issues and do business together.

Featuring nine shows under one roof, the event began on Tuesday 18 October with eight strictly trade shows running for three days: Build Show, Timber Expo, Civils Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2016, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2016 and Smart Buildings 2016. Then, overlapping the last two trade days and running on until Sunday 23 October, Grand Designs Live offered a unique crossover experience between trade and public.

UK Construction Week

Now in its second year, UK Construction Week attracted visitors from across the full spectrum of the construction industry – from tradespeople, self-builders and SME owners to architects, civil engineers, national house builders and interior designers. Organised by Media 10, the show covered over 70,000 square metres of exhibition space and featured more than 165 hours of seminar content from 100 plus speakers.

In total there were 13 different seminar theatres at the event with the main stage being hosted by television presenter and architect George Clarke, business journalist Steph McGovern and television broadcaster and business journalist Victoria Fritz across the three days. Debating topics such as productivity, the skills shortage, BIM, offsite construction and intelligent environments, the seminar theatres provided a powerful platform to share best practice, devise new strategy and drive progress.

UK Construction Week also hosted a raft of major new product launches from leading industry companies such as CEMEX, Easy-Trim Roofing and Construction Products, Condair, Cotherm, Instant Upright Ltd, OX Group UK, Irwin Tools, Banbury and SAVANT to name but a few.

Feedback from exhibitors has been very positive and the show has received a high number of re-bookings for the 2017 event. Some of the companies confirmed so far for next year include Festool, Easy-Trim, Theben AG, White Haus, ForgeFix, Ecovolt, Combilift Ltd, Creagh Concrete and many more.

Joshua Watkins, Managing Director at Swiftec (Build Show exhibitor), said: “There have been a really broad variety of people here, which has been exciting. It’s a great place to meet clients and visitors as well as getting a good grasp of what’s going on in the industry.”

Mick Jackson, IT & Marketing Manager at Joseph Ash (Surface and Materials Show exhibitor), commented: “Honestly we’ve been surprised with the footfall, which has been excellent and has lead to some strong leads. We’re excited to see what tomorrow brings!”

Ian Thornton, Specifier Consultant at Calor Gas (HVAC 2016 exhibitor), also commented: “We did our research before coming and knew we would meet a lot of relevant people here. That’s exactly what has happened and we’ve done a lot of business this week!”

Dave Cole, Sales Manager at Vandecasteele (Timber Expo exhibitor), added: “We’ve long been an exhibitor at Timber Expo and will continue to be in the future as it is a valuable meeting hub for our UK customers.”

UK Construction Week

In addition to all the new products and services on display, UK Construction Week hosted a variety of unique features and industry award ceremonies. The Business Advice Centre provided free professional advice to SMEs at the show, while the Gamification Zone offered visitors an opportunity to learn more about their leadership potential. Among the seven award ceremonies hosted at the show, the inaugural Construction Enquirer Awards were a huge success with more than 500 people in attendance to recognise the construction industry’s best companies to work with and for.

Nathan Garnett, Event Director for UK Construction Week, commented: “We are so pleased with how this year’s show has gone and want to thank all of our exhibitors, visitors, speakers, association and media partners for helping us put on such an impressive event. I believe the show is testament to the willingness to progress and collaborate within the construction industry as a whole.

“With representatives from across the entire sector it was great to see all the innovation and life present in the industry. The seminars were really well attended and engagement was high from visitors, which goes to show that we were able to hit the mark in terms of content. The interest in next year’s show has already started to flood in and with booking the NEC until 2019, we are confident that UK Construction Week will go from strength to strength over the coming years.”

Returning to the Birmingham NEC, the dates for UK Construction Week 2017 are set for 10 – 12 October. For more information about UK Construction Week or to register your interest for next year’s show, please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.

Organisers of HVAC 2016 are pleased to announce that the show in October will host a number of new product launches from leading exhibitors including some industry firsts, as well as a raft of exciting competitions.

In a world first, humidification and evaporative cooling specialists Condair will be previewing the first ever condensing, gas-fired steam humidifier at its stand. The new Condair GS recovers heat from exhaust gases to pre-heat its incoming water supply, saving energy and making it the most efficient gas-fired humidifier available.

For those looking for the latest innovations in the smart controls market then Cotherm UK’s stand will be well worth a visit. The company will be launching its new range of smart water heating controls as well as its smart electric radiator controls. Leading ventilation solutions manufacturer Airflow Developments Ltd will also be exhibiting its brand new Ardoit Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) range of units. The Passive House certified units are equipped with the latest smart technology that allows airflow settings to be controlled within the home or remotely by PC, tablet or smartphone.

Organisers are also pleased to announce that HVAC 2016 will host the official European launch of pioneering air treatment company Bio-Oxygen. The company will be showcasing its air sterilisation system, which guarantees odour free results along with 99 per cent elimination of viruses and bacteria. Also with new products specifically for for the UK market, air conditioning specialist Hitachi will be bringing its all-in-one Tutaki-SCombi air source heat pump as well as other examples from its newly expanded range.

Nathan Garnett, Event Director for HVAC 2016, commented: “For anyone wanting to learn what’s new in the HVAC sector, HVAC 2016 is not to be missed. The number of product launches and even world firsts is staggering for this year’s event and I’m really excited to see what’s been described to us in the flesh. When these launches are combined with the informative seminar content I’m convinced that the show will be well worth the day out for any HVAC professional.”

Steve Bartholomew, Sales Director at Cotherm UK, added: “We have chosen to exhibit at HVAC 2016, as part of UK Construction Week, to launch our range of smart water and space heating controls because of the presence of local authority decision makers and also decision makers from OEM’s and industry representatives. They are key markets for the new energy saving devices which will offer great value to the identified markets and in turn the user and householders.”

Other exciting stands visitors should make sure to visit include Darwin Clayton, which will be offering it’s new and improved insurance scheme for the HVAC sector and Calor, which will have representatives from its new dedicated rural housing developer team to answer any questions and offer advice. In addition, the latest innovations from Knauf Insulation, Trimble and Kingspan Insulation will also be on display.

Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 18 – 20 October, HVAC 2016 sits alongside Timber Expo, the Build Show, Civils Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2016, Plant & Machinery Live, Smart Buildings 2016 and Grand Designs Live as part of UK Construction Week.

For more information or to register for your FREE ticket to attend, please visit or follow @hvacshow on Twitter.

UK Construction Week have announcee the launch of a new social media campaign #ConstructionRoleModel designed to celebrate the unsung heroes of UK construction, with help from the Construction Youth Trust.

The campaign allows those in the industry to nominate and reward their peers who work tirelessly to go the extra mile for clients, encourage the next generation of construction professionals or improve their workplace.

To kick start the campaign, UK Construction Week will look to the industry for help in defining what a ‘construction role model’ is. Highlighting examples of individuals who’ve tackled adversity, combatted the skills gap or championed diversity, experts and industry figureheads will deliver a series of blog pieces showcasing people who’ve made a positive contribution to the industry.

With the concept established, UK Construction Week will open up the nomination process to the broader construction community. Inviting followers of its Twitter handle @UK_CW to nominate themselves or others by using the #ConstructionRoleModel hashtag.

UK Construction Week will then begin the process of selecting the most popular nominees, with the winners announced at this year’s event. Once chosen the ‘construction role models’ will be given a platform to share their views of the sector. In a series of Q&A sessions and features nominees will discuss what it takes to thrive in the industry, what inspired them to work in construction and what advice they would give youngsters looking to start a similar career.

Christine Townley, Executive Director at Construction Youth Trust, commented “It’s a great privilege to be involved in a dynamic and positive campaign that shines a light on those doing brilliant work within the industry. Our day-day work focuses on helping young people with a passion for construction get the right skills and training to make an impact in the sector. Therefore we’re delighted that #ConstructionRoleModel will raise awareness amongst the younger generation on how rewarding a career in the construction industry can be.”

Construction Youth Trust is a charity that helps young people in England and Wales who want to work in the industry by providing access to training, education and employment opportunities. In particular, it concentrates on helping those whose journey to work may be challenging due to barriers such as financial circumstances, lack of awareness of opportunities, low self-esteem, gender or ethnicity.

Nathan Garrett, Event Director for UK Construction Week, added: “We’re very excited to get the #ConstructionRoleModel campaign off the ground and look forward to seeing who people nominate for the award. I truly believe we’ve created a campaign that not only showcases the broad career opportunities within construction but also appeals to a younger generation.”

Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 18 – 20 October, UK Construction Week combines nine shows in one location. With over 24,000 trade visitors last year – a figure expected to double at this year’s event – the show boasts over 650 exhibitors. Visitors are able to attend Timber Expo, the Build Show, Civils Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2016, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2016, Smart Buildings 2016 and Grand Designs Live.

For more information about UK Construction Week and to keep track of the #ConstructionRoleModel campaign, please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.

With just weeks to go before the industry heads to Birmingham for UK Construction Week, planning a visit around the comprehensive seminar schedule is vital. Delivering high-level insights into the key issues facing the construction industry from a raft of recognisable names, the Main Stage seminar programme is integral to the event.

Each seminar will consist of an hour-long panel discussion, covering a key topic. Visitors will not fail to recognise the TV personalities – themselves international broadcasters, journalists and authors – heading up the seminar programme.

John Humphrys 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 industrial 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 next discuss the economic environment and its impacts on the industry, considering how we can protect construction from potential economic weaknesses. The image of the industry as a whole will also be under the spotlight, with contributions from Brian Berry of the FMB, Christina Jackson from Amey and Tim Carey from Willmott Dixon. Among others they will consider how the industry has an image problem – governments do not value the construction industry as a key driver within the UK economy and it is not perceived by the public as a modern employer.

Rounding off day one, Dennis Seal of DLS Strategic Ltd and John Stewart of the HBF will explore whether capitalism can fix the housing crisis. Their discussion will look at market-orientated solutions, which might bridge the affordability gap plaguing the country’s housing market.

Presiding over the second day of seminars, Steph McGovern 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 and 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, 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, said: “An overview of the seminar schedule and events on the main stage Seminar Theatre is vital for anyone planning to visit the show. 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 roll call of speakers and the line up of topics will not fail to satisfy anyone attending over the three day event.”

Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week will be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 11 October (with the trade only days from 6 – 8 October) the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors with an expected audience of 55,000 visitors.

Visitors 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, Smart Buildings 2015 and Grand Designs Live.

For more information please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.

As students across the country get stuck into the new academic year, UK Construction Week is celebrating education and training of all kinds – highlighting that there is more than one way to build a successful and rewarding career in construction.

Key to this is the UK Construction Week Career Centre, a dedicated area within the Build Show where house builders, construction firms and other industry experts will be on hand to offer construction specific careers advice to visitors. Covering apprenticeships, on-going training and professional development, the centre will cater for all levels – from seasoned professionals scoping out their next move, to new starters looking for their first break into the construction sector.

Supported by a host of industry bodies, the Career Centre will give visitors a useful insight into a variety of career paths in building, civil engineering, integrated technology installation and other crucial construction trades. Key partners include the Home Builders Federation, the Institute of Civil Engineering and the Women’s Engineering Society, as well as construction skills and apprentices network K10 and major UK house builder Cala Homes.

Visitors will also be able to gain inspiration by hearing the stories of other people who have built a career for themselves in the industry. For example, Heidi Perry, a generator engineer at building machinery supplier Finning, will be sharing her experiences as a female apprenticeship in a male-dominated industry.

Heidi, who took up an apprenticeship after sixth form college, commented: “Finding an apprenticeship wasn’t easy so I applied to Finning to work in the parts department. It wasn’t my ideal job but it was a foot in the door. Luckily, at my interview they asked if I’d prefer to work on the machines and I landed an apprenticeship working on diesel standby generators.

“Now I travel across the country fault-finding, servicing, working on the electrical control systems or fixing broken parts. Apprenticeships are a great way to learn. If you’re thinking of making the move into construction, do it. It’s brilliant fun and you won’t regret it.”

Nathan Garnett, show director commented: “Employing more than 2.2 million people, the construction industry has been the major force behind the UK’s economic recovery – and with £125 billion of public sector and infrastructure projects in the pipeline, the demand for skilled workforce is set to create even more employment opportunities in the years to come. The Career Centre at UK Construction Week will be a really useful source of information for visitors looking to take advantage of this booming work market.”

Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week will be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 11 October (with the trade only days from 6 – 8 October) the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors with an expected audience of 55,000 visitors.

Visitors will be able to attend the Build Show (incorporating Civils Expo), Timber Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2015, Kitchens & Bathrooms Live, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2015, Smart Buildings 2015 and Grand Designs Live.

For more information please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.

UK Construction Week is pleased to announce that Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is the latest name confirmed to speak at the inaugural Energy 2015 event this October.

Speaking alongside Adam Chase – Director of E4tech (UK) Ltd, Stephen Joseph – Chief Executive at Campaign for Better Transport and Claire Haigh – Chief Executive Officer at Greener Journeys, Natalie will discuss the future of sustainable transport at 12:00pm on 7th October at the Energy Hub. Exploring the social, economic and environmental considerations of greener transport, Natalie will bring significant knowledge and experience to the discussion, providing a high-level insight to a politically charged and timely topic.

Natalie commented: “It is important to provide consistent, predictable, long-term support for the development of the construction industry and in particular the uptake of greener and more environmentally friendly methods of building and retrofitting. Of all the components of the construction supply chain, transport has one of the greatest potentials to offer significant savings and improved performance if we invest in the right initiatives.”

Richard Morey, Group Events Director at Media 10, the event company producing UK Construction Week, commented: “We are thrilled to have such an influential political figure as Natalie Bennett speaking at this year’s UK Construction Week. The seminar content at the show will be right at the cutting edge of political debate about the construction industry and will provide an inclusive environment for high level discussions that will have real influence on the way we trade, build, learn and live.”

Natalie has been the elected leader of the Green Party since September 2012, previous to which she was the Coordinator of Camden Greens and founding chair of the Green Party Women’s Group. Born in Sydney, Australia, Natalie has lived in London since 1999 and originally began her career as a journalist, working for several national titles. Natalie has worked on a wide variety of policies for the Green Party and, with a degree in agricultural science, is the only political leader in the country with a scientific background.

In addition to Natalie’s contribution Energy 2015 will be supported by an extensive seminar programme of debates, practical workshops and panel discussions. Drawing on the knowledge of the show’s event partners, such as the British Photovoltaic Association (BPVA), the content schedule will cover key industry topics including securing investment, renewable technology, energy storage and energy efficiency.

Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 11 October (with the trade only days from 6 – 8 October), UK Construction Week will be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. Bringing together nine shows under one roof, the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors with more than 55,000 visitors.

As well as Energy 2015, visitors will be able to attend the Build Show incorporating Civils Expo, Timber Expo, HVAC 2015, Surface & Materials Show, Kitchens & Bathrooms Live, Plant & Machinery Live, Smart Buildings 2015 and Grand Designs Live.

For more information please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.

The extension of devolution deals to Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and the Midlands announced by Chancellor George Osborne have been given a mixed reception by industry figures, according to UK Construction Week.

Reacting to the plans to extend the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ concept, which includes the creation of a new Greater Manchester Land Commission, several industry commentators have welcomed the increased power over planning this will bring, while others have pointed to challenges in transport infrastructure that must be addressed.

Mark Clare, CEO of Barratt Developments and member of the UK Construction Week advisory panel, commented: “Although the details are still to be released, the appointment of a new land commission for Greater Manchester certainly seems to be a positive development that should provide a significant boost for construction companies in the area. It seems that the commission will be tasked with identifying publicly-owned and brownfield land that can be developed for housing – which is an important step towards tackling the estimated 10,000 new homes a year needed to support Greater Manchester’s growing economy and communities.”

Andi Hodgson, Marketing Director at UK Construction Week Exhibitor Hope Construction Materials, commented: “Operating and servicing a national customer base and network of operational sites, over 100 of which are located in central and northern England, the news of greater devolution to extend the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is welcome. On the surface the move seems as though it should provide a significant boost to construction in those regions, however the greater activity – particularly that of moving bulk and heavy-side building materials like concrete, aggregate and cement – will put a strain on existing transport infrastructure if it’s not improved.”

Andrew Orriss, Head Of Business Development at UK Construction Week exhibitor SIG Insulation, whose national head office is based in Sheffield, commented: “It’s an exciting time for construction in the north of England and Sheffield in particular is booming, with planned developments across the region and the recent announcement of a £480 million plan to develop the city centre. The extra boost this investment will bring to the area cannot be understated but it needs to be supported by a similar level of investment in transport and infrastructure, to ensure maximum benefits are felt.”

This sentiment echoes warnings from some commentators that without a major overhaul of transport infrastructure the economic benefits in the north will be lessened. In particular, Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester’s interim mayor, has called for transparency on planned rail improvements that are “key to the delivery of northern economic growth.”

For example, further clarity is required on the proposed electrification of the TransPennine Express railway line linking Manchester, Leeds and York, which was put on hold with no expected completion date back in June 2015. What’s more, the Chancellor’s proposed “Oyster style ticketing” across bus, tram, metro and rail services throughout the region has been met with derision from many quarters, with the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) claiming that actual investment in the Northern Powerhouse rail infrastructure sits closer to £3 billion than the £13 billion claimed in the budget.

Amidst the calls for improvements to existing rail networks, the proposed HS3 line connecting Liverpool and Hull via Manchester and Leeds, remains a shadowy prospect – particularly given that the north east seems to have been excluded from the Chancellor’s devolution plans.

George Clarke, architect, TV-personality and UK Construction Week advisory panel member, himself originally from Sunderland, commented: “It’s disappointing that the north east is not yet being given the same opportunities for self determination as some other northern areas. There is huge potential for economic and construction growth if the main urban hubs in the north are properly connected. If we really are to create a true Northern Powerhouse this needs to be addressed as a priority and the crucial transport links from east to west need to be greatly improved.”

Veering away from the London-centric focus that has dominated the construction industry for many years, UK Construction Week – held at the Birmingham NEC in October – is placing a strong emphasis on driving construction growth throughout the UK. In the main seminar theatre, devolution is under the spotlight on the first day, with a dedicated session asking whether it is the key to stimulating public and private infrastructure developments. Transport will also be under scrutiny, as the keynote session in the Infrastructure Hub takes a look at the future of rail – asking whether, with HS2 well underway, the focus should now shift to HS3 and the powerhouse cities of the north.

Bringing together nine shows under one roof, UK Construction Week will be the biggest construction trade event the UK has seen in years. Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 6 – 11 October (with the trade only days from 6 – 8 October) the event will unite 1,000 exhibitors with an expected audience of 55,000 visitors.

Visitors will be able to attend Grand Designs Live, the Build Show (incorporating Civils Expo), Timber Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2015, Kitchens & Bathroom Live, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2015 and Smart Buildings 2015.

For more information please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.