Making an exhibition of oneself

For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Am I the only one to find it particularly ironic that the notification that Interbuild aka BEST is cancelled for this year arrives the day before Ecobuild opens?

It’s hardly the most surprising news we’ve ever published. Interbuild has been called a ‘shadow of its former self’ for several years now.

There are loads of reasons why, but there was less and less of interest to merchants with every incarnation in the last 10 years. Things probably weren’t helped by the decision to turn a biennial show into an annual one, just as the worst recession to hit the construction industry for years started to bite. Ah, the benefits of hindsight!

It wasn’t helped by the split into specification-led ‘solutions’ and ‘what-happens-on-site’, with no real understanding that there is a hugely important sector which actually gets the products to market – merchanting.

It also wasn’t helped by the rise of the more specialised, tightly focussed exhibitions in sectors like kitchens and bathrooms and it certainly wasn’t helped by the rise of Ecobuild.

But then I think we are looking at a chicken and egg situation. Did Interbuild falter because Ecobuild got so big? Or did Ecobuild grow to fill the void left by Interbuild?

Anyone who is anyone in the UK construction sector will be making their way to Excel over the next three days. Any manufacturer worth its salt knows that these days, there has to be an ‘eco’ or ‘sustainable’ message if it is to be taken seriously. I commented last year that there were a great many stands whose sustainable claims could probably be seen as a triumph of marketing over substance.

That being so, it is still the place for the UK construction industry to see and be seen, to find out the latest developments and look to the future, hopefully a slightly more prosperous and sustainable one.

If you’re at Ecobuild, pop along to the BMJ stand – N574 – and say hi and let us know what you think about the show.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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