Q&A with new ecobuild owner Martin HurnThursday 19 October
What’s your background in the events industry?
I started my career with UBM Built Environment in 2004, initially working on the group’s media brands including Building, BD and RIBA Journal in classified sales. I progressed through the company in various roles and then became Brand Director of ecobuild in June 2016.
Explain briefly how you got hold of ecobuild:
I spent five years running ecobuild with UBM and then, when the opportunity to acquire the event came up, I set up Futurebuild Events Ltd. The company is made up of a highly experienced team, including some of those who’ve organised the event in previous years. This passionate group of individuals is incredibly excited about evolving and improving the show in partnership with the built environment industry, to make sure it delivers what visitors and exhibitors want and need from ecobuild.
Explain the collaborative approach for next year’s show:
We recognised that over time people began to feel that ecobuild was losing relevance, so one of our core objectives was to challenge that. We’ve been working with industry to shape, evolve and curate ecobuild 2018, to ensure it keeps attendees at the forefront of the built environment. This includes gathering feedback from industry polls and surveys, as well as from our newly created Advisory Board and Steering Committee, to inform the exact shape, format and content programme of the event.
By doing this, we can make sure ecobuild 2018 is reflective of what matters in the sector now and over the coming years, and in its very nature, will mean it is different to previous years.
Futurebuild Events is also evolving the format of the event to make it unlike what you’d expect from a typical and traditional trade show. For example, the centrepiece is going to be a comprehensive conference programme that is curated by top industry figures and focused on delivering a real action plan for change.
This will be surrounded by the unique ‘futurebuild districts’, that will each explore a different aspect of the built environment.
We’ve also introduced more stringent criteria for exhibitors. Each one must be committed to showcasing the most innovative ideas, encouraging greater collaboration or giving attendees a valuable and memorable experience.
Tell us how you got hold of feedback from attendees/exhibitors of past shows:
As mentioned, one of the first things we did as owners of ecobuild was to establish both the Advisory Board and Steering Committee to help shape the format and direction of the event.
Members of the Advisory Board include big name past exhibitors, such as Portakabin, Recticel Insulation, Celotex, Bauder and The Italian Trade Agency. The steering group on the other hand brings together the industry’s leading, forward-thinking organisations, including the Construction Leadership Council, CIBSE, ICE, BRE and ZEDFactory.
These groups have been helping make sure ecobuild is the platform to share ideas, learn about the latest innovations and establish new, valuable relationships. They have also been providing key insights and feedback to help prioritise the agenda and offer the best possible experience for all attendees and partners.
We have also been carrying out extensive research through social media, including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, so that previous attendees and exhibitors can directly feedback on what they would like to see at ecobuild 2018. This has been done in the form of polls and videos posted online, and has garnered a wide range of opinions.
What are the key issues you have identified following their feedback? What are the solutions/new features for the show in 2018?
A clear message from the industry was that ecobuild needed to evolve and become more relevant. We’ve listened and, as part of the planning of the 2018 edition of the event, the futurebuild districts have been developed to surround a series of ‘eco showcases’ and feed into the main conference programme which has sustainability at its heart. Together they will allow the most innovative, exciting and inspiring brands, companies and speakers to not only discuss the highly topical issues facing the built environment, but also to create an action plan for change. The focus of this plan will be helping to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
What’s the venue?
Do you have partnerships in place? Please explain.
ecobuild has established strategic partnerships with a wide range of contributors for the 2018 event, including the UK Green Building Council, BRE, RIBA, CIAT and ICE. In addition, each of the newly established futurebuild districts is supported by key partners. For example, the timber district is supported by groups including the Structural Timber Association, Confederation of Timber Industries and Timber Trade Federation. The offsite district is in association with Radar, who are specialists in building technology communications, Offsite Hub, Offsite Magazine and strategic consultants, Cogent.
What’s the target for exhibitor numbers and visitors for 2018?
One of the key focuses for ecobuild is making the event as relevant as possible for exhibitors and visitors. We hope and expect attendance to be up from 2017. Our focus is on the type of exhibitors and innovations we bring to the industry in 2018. We truly believe that square footage isn’t a mark of success and value – it is the quality of experience that really counts.
This means bringing together the most innovative, exciting and inspiring brands, companies, speakers and experiences. Our conference and seminar programmes will be all about providing thought provoking, valuable content and an unparalleled opportunity for sharing ideas, networking and relationship building.
Notes to editor
ecobuild is the ‘must go’ event in the construction industry calendar for forward thinking companies, senior professionals and influencers.
Under the new ownership of Futurebuild Events Ltd., ecobuild 2018 (06-08 March at ExCeL London) will be a fresh new format that’s nothing like an ordinary trade show. The event will bring together the most innovative brands, speakers and experiences; thought provoking, valuable content, and an unparalleled opportunity for sharing ideas, networking and relationship building.
The centrepiece will be the comprehensive conference programme curated by top industry figures and the ‘futurebuild districts’, each exploring a different aspect of the built environment.
Industry professionals can share their thoughts on how they want the event to look, by contacting the ecobuild team on social media using the hashtag #ecobuild
For media enquiries, please contact:
Myriam Khan or Barry Maginn at Tangerine
0161 817 6600