Ecobuild returns next week and its focus is firmly on regeneration

Ecobuild is back next week with organisers promising an immersive exhibition and conference programme that will redefine sustainability, identify future growth sectors and tackle the housing crisis.

A strong line up of major brands and innovators are preparing to showcase their latest products and technologies at the event between Tuesday, March 7 to Thursday, March 9, including Saint-Gobain, Medite SmartPly, A Proctor Group, KLH Massivholz, Piveteaubois and Eco Homes Direct. Support and guidance will be on hand from TRADA and the Confederation of Timber Industries: Timber Trade Federation, Structural Timber Association and the British Woodworking Federation.

The event will bring a unique opportunity for professionals across the built environment to be part of the construction industry’s ongoing debates around key issues that influence decision making, as well as the chance to network with hundreds of sector experts and suppliers.

This year’s show will see Ecobuild transformed into a ‘city’ – complete with a main street, distinct destinations and special feature attractions. Central to the experience will be Regeneration Drive, a boulevard running through the centre of the exhibition floor, linking different aspects of the show and enabling visitors to experience the very best examples of innovation and creativity from across the built environment.

As visitors make their way up Regeneration Drive, they will be introduced to key destinations including The Arena, City Hall, The Campus, The Gateway and Performance Lab.

The Arena will be home to the Ecobuild Conference, sponsored by Regeneration Partner Skanska, and will stage a range of keynote speeches from industry thought leaders and innovators across the three days. Among these are Lord Kerslake, Chair of the London Housing Commission; Professor Tim Broyd, President at ICE; Dr Diane Montgomery, Chief Executive of Construction Products Association and Brian Berry, Chief Executive of Federation of Master Builders, amongst others.

The extensive conference programme will include topics ranging from the implications of Brexit for the construction sector, to the ongoing housing crisis and offsite construction. In response to the increased Government and industry focus on offsite construction, Ecobuild has partnered with Cogent Construction and Radar Communications to bring Explore Offsite to Ecobuild, within a dedicated area with leading suppliers and offsite technology masterclasses.

In addition to the conference sessions on the topic of offsite, a new dedicated area for Explore Offsite at Ecobuild will present the largest exhibition of offsite construction solutions ever seen in the UK. A total of 50 leading suppliers including Siniat, Portakabin and Hadley Group will showcase the product innovations, benefits and opportunities offered by offsite technologies in the future of construction from housebuilding to infrastructure.

Julie Hirigoyen, chair of the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC), Ecobuild’s lead partner, will host daily leadership sessions at the conference, focusing on the future of sustainable housing, workplaces and retail.

Key topics to be covered include carbon reduction in the built environment, as well as possible approaches to deliver a low-carbon city or neighbourhood. The former will be focused on the business case for setting science-based targets (SBTs) within the industry, while the latter will debate the requirement of all major London developments to be zero carbon.

Speakers include Dr Paul Toyne, Green Construction Board, Infrastructure Working Group; Heleni Pantelidou, associate director, London Infrastructure Group Arup, and Hannah Clement, UK-GBC.

The show’s sustainability hub, City Hall, is sponsored by Saint-Gobain and home to the UK-GBC, representing the culmination of Ecobuild’s ‘Redefining Sustainability’ campaign – which seeks to create an industry-wide understanding of sustainability objectives and drives, and a clear direction for the future.

Richard Halderthay, director of communications at Saint-Gobain, said: “As a leader in the construction market, Saint-Gobain aims to create great living places and improve daily life. We enhance habitats and daily life by creating and distributing sustainable products and building systems that improve productivity, health, wellbeing and comfort in people’s homes, workplaces and public buildings. Providing solutions to meet the challenges of sustainable construction is an opportunity to create added value, lower the environmental impact of construction and support customers to differentiate.

“Changing how we build, for the better, for the future is one of the core pillars at Saint-Gobain and led to the development of the multicomfort building concept. Multicomfort is about building and renovating our homes, offices, schools, hospitals and other buildings in a way that provides improved comfort, health and wellbeing for the occupants, whilst protecting the environment. We are proud to sponsor City Hall and look forward to participating in the seminar sessions during the event.”

Within The Campus, visitors can explore Future Materials, a product showcase curated by ARCC, to preview next-generation materials and processes currently in either research or testing stage through a number of universities.

Architectural collective, Assemble, will present its award-winning Granby Workshop project through a unique, exclusive and immersive installation created by Assemble for Ecobuild, to tell the story behind the collective’s Turner Prize-winning regeneration project.

Also in The Campus, the BRE Academy, international provider of training and education programmes for built environment professionals, will run an exclusive series of masterclasses within a dedicated theatre. Daily sessions by industry experts include BIM, responsible sourcing, BREEAM, change management and the Home Quality Mark.

The Gateway offers two focused stages: national and community-level infrastructure projects with Institution of Civil Engineers, and a separate seminar theatre dedicated to Green Infrastructure, sponsored by ACO and ranging from community green spaces to flooding.

Visitors will learn more about the findings of the Institution of Chartered Engineers’ (ICE) national needs assessment. The session will see a panel of experts – Professor Tim Broyd, ICE President; Professor Denise Bower, executive director at the Major Projects Association, and Adam Cooper, director of policy and engagement at the National Infrastructure Commission – debate what the UK’s infrastructure priorities should be with a view to the risks posed by Brexit and the need to align infrastructure solutions with the Climate Change Act.

The Performance Lab, sponsored by BayWa r.e., will cover the latest in energy efficiency and building performance in association with Ecobuild’s Building Performance Partner CIBSE – the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers.

Across the three days, CIBSE will host a daily session on indoor health and wellbeing, exploring how the WELL Standard relates to existing sustainability standards such as BREEAM and LEED. Visitors will also have the chance to attend a daily session around ‘Modelling for Performance and not Compliance’

Seminar sessions and topics include improving ‘Improving energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings’, ‘How technology, data and digital disruption will transform non domestic buildings’ and ‘Benefitting from the domestic renewable heat incentive’, amongst others.

Ecobuild has also announced key partnerships including RIBA, BRE, the Construction Products Association, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and CIAT. Additionally, pavilions will be showcased from associations including the Builders Merchants Federation, Passivhaus Trust and NFRC.

“With such a wide variety of exhibitors and partners, this year’s show will provide the industry with the perfect platform to collaborate and address the key issues of sustainability and its role in shaping regeneration,” said organisers.

Free registration is now open for visitors. For more information on this year’s event, exhibitions and conference topics, visit:

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