Metsa Wood: making sophisticated technologies look easy.

Ecobuild is UK show of shows

Published:  23 March, 2012

LONDON: Three days, over 1600 exhibitors and an avalanche of new launches, this year's Ecobuild was a testament to the new era which UK construction is experiencing. The show has become one of the world's biggest events for sustainable design, construction and the built environment and the UK's largest construction event of any kind. 

Visitor numbers appeared to have been slightly down on last year's show, but this year, people were placing orders, talking business and looking to spend money. Ecobuild managed to attract over 50 000 architects, specifiers, housebuilders and developers from across UK and Europe.

Most of the exhibitors we spoke to said the mood was definitely more optimistic and that visitors were more aware of how they needed to source ecological products.

National merchants Jewson, Wolseley, Graham and Grafton were all present. Independent merchant Ridgeons partnered Renewable Technologies UK, the sole importer and exclusive distributor of Philadelphia Solar modules.

'Cool Concrete' was the theme chosen by materials company Lafarge. The company incorporated its 20 rules of sustainable construction and designed a building based on the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe,  demonsrating the versatility of its products in a departure from just plain construction applications.

The company won the 'Best Sustainable Stand' at the show for its imaginative use of technology to explain the products' uses, applications and environmental credentials.

Knauf Insulation's 3D 'augmented reality' interactive displays helped visitors experience different types of solutions from the company's portfolio for newbuild and refurbishment of residential and commercial building sectors.

Metsa Wood's two-storey stand showcased a number of new product developments, including the launch of a new roofing system, Finnroof.

All the companies we saw were actively moving towards partnering solutions, sophisticated technologies and applications that speed up the build, are easy for installers to comprehend and which are also consumer-friendly. Not a small ask.

The rush towards sustainable building products and practices is essential for future suppliers to the construction industry.

The challenge for the industry is to manage its costs and maintain business in the current difficult trading conditions, while ensuring that it is in a position to meet the demand and move towards sustainable products.

Read the first of Builders' Merchants News' show reviews in the April edition, out on the 17th.  

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