The Big 5 returned to Dubai last week, inaugurated by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry of the UAE, and a number of BSBG staff took the time to attend what is generally regarded as the largest construction event in the region. This year, the 39th edition of The Big 5 adopted the theme: “Shaping the Future of Construction”, showcasing thousands of innovators, suppliers and entrepreneurs with aspirations of creating a positive disruption within the construction sector.
As always , the ‘Big 5’ represent the five key sectors within construction: MEP, Interiors, Building Envelopes, Tools and Building Materials and Construction Technology and Innovation. Five different exhibitions made up the overall show, including: The Big 5 Solar – an exhibition dedicated to solar systems; The Big 5 Heavy, which displayed infrastructure and heavy construction technology; Middle East Concrete, dedicated to one of the UAE’s biggest exports; Urban Design and Landscaping Expo, and the HVAC Expo which was solely dedicated to refrigeration, heating, ventilation and A/C.Over the course of the event, more than 100 key industry figures gave talks in specially hosted seminars and summits, while the same number of workshops were also open for delegates to attend. For BSBG, it is often the content of the workshops and seminars that provide the most value, and this year was no different. Architect Chiragh Bhatia spent a day at the event, and he told us this: “We are fortunate to be based in Dubai, where events like The Big 5 bring together a very comprehensive representation from all over the world. It was very interesting to see up and coming trends in materials and products along with the latest innovations. There was strong representation from Turkey, India, China, the UK and many others. We attended a talk given by Kouroush Salehi, who explored the impact of tall buildings in an urban environment. He stressed the importance of a holistic approach to planning vertical urbanisation, which is the inevitable future of cities in the developing world. The talk also underlined how the designs of many tall buildings around the world do not really consider their immediate environment.”Other speakers at the event included representatives from Richard Branson’s new Hyperloop One project, which has extracted the benefit from Elon Musk’s open source concept that could potentially someday provide the means to travel between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in just 12 minutes. Microsoft, Aecom and Saudi Aramco are a selection of other notable organisations that sent key figures within their business to host talks at the event.
Overall, there were representatives from more than 30 countries participating, with 2,500-plus companies showcasing their solutions and products. The UAE and the Middle East remains a key destination for construction, as challenging and increasingly competitive local market conditions the world over compel businesses to look further afield, gaining a foothold in new markets, while diversifying their interests.A BIM Summit was also hosted by RTA, which assessed the future trends of BIM technology in the UAE. The overriding theme came back to the desire of Dubai’s leadership to see Dubai become the world’s ‘smartest city’, by adopting state-of-the-art technology in its earliest stage. BIM, it was remarked, will play a crucial role in the accomplishment of this ambitious vision.
Senior Architectural Technologist Alan McIntrye also attended The Big 5. He said: “BSBG is constantly striving towards increased knowledge, awareness and understanding of the modern construction industry, and there were a number of seminars held that offered great benefits to many of the staff (myself included) who attended as representatives of the group.”