Skills, investment and Brexit all on the agenda at UK Construction Week

The UK’s largest construction trade event UK Construction Week has released the details of its comprehensive main stage seminar schedule, which will be hosted by some of the biggest names in broadcasting and beyond including George Clarke, Steph McGovern and Victoria Fritz.

Hosted by architect and television presenter George Clarke, day one of the event will kick off with a heavyweight panel discussion centred on Chancellor George Osborne’s quote that the UK doesn’t “train enough or build enough or invest enough”. Debating reasons for and solutions to the construction industry’s low productivity, investment and inability to attract sufficient new talent, some of the panellists already confirmed include Adrian Belton, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Dr Diana Montgomery, Chief Executive of the Construction Products Association (CPA), Paul Nash FCIOB, President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and David Hancock, Head of Construction at theCabinet Office.

The first day will also see the first seminar in a series held throughout the week entitled ‘A Tale of Three Cities’. The series will highlight the opportunities, challenges and lessons to be learned from three of the UK’s most active cities: Birmingham, Manchester and London. The first instalment focuses on Birmingham and will include the views of the infrastructure, commercial and residential sectors plus developers, local authorities, architects and energy professionals.

As the first major event in the industry following the EU referendum, day two of UK Construction Week will provide visitors with their first chance to hear from industry leaders on what’s in store for the sector and will be hosted by business journalistSteph McGovern. This first seminar is entitled ‘Keep Building; housing in post referendum Britain’ and will cover key challenges facing the UK’s house building market such as funding, planning permission, construction skills and incentives. Confirmed panellists for the debate include Allan Wilen, Economics Director and Head of Market Intelligence for Glenigan, Stephen Hodder, Immediate Past President and Client Ambassador for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) andDavid Cowans, Group Chief Executive at Places for People.

The second seminar will look at ‘How can we drive innovation in construction materials in post-Brexit Britain?’ and some of the confirmed speakers include representatives from the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA), theMaterials Council and infrastructure giant Amey.

The skills shortage will also feature in the seminar schedule on day two as panellists are asked how the construction industry can best promote itself to prospective new talent and what steps it can take to fill the skills gap. Leaders from the BRE Academy, Considerate Constructors Scheme (CCS), Arup UKMEA Region, Built by Her and Morgan Sindall Group will all offer their opinion and advice in what is set to be a very practical and progressive discussion.

The final day of seminars will be hosted by television broadcaster and business journalist Victoria Fritz and will take a closer look at the impact of BIM six months on from the Government’s soft landing deadline. Has it worked in practice? And what support can the industry expect for level 3? Delving questions like these will be put to a senior line up of panellists from Balfour Beatty, Crossrail, RIBA Enterprises and the BRE.

Another key topic for the third day will be ‘How can we better harness the potential of SME builders?’ As the government plans to commission 10,000 new homes directly from SME builders, what are some of the challenges they face in the supply of new homes and what can be done to support them. Paul Bogle, Policy Manager at the National Federation of Builders (NFB), Sarah McMonagle, Head of External Affairs at the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and Conrad Ford, Chief Executive of Funding Options will all offer their opinion on areas such as skills, apprenticeships, finance and planning.

Nathan Garnett, Event Director for UK Construction Week, commented:

“Central to this year’s show, the seminar schedule has been a real focus of our organisation – ensuring we cover the most pressing topics to offer the most value to our visitors. We really believe that the show offers a powerful opportunity for the industry to propel itself forwards into a stronger, more united and prosperous future. Indeed, as the first major event following the decision to leave the EU, UK Construction Week will play a significant role in shaping strategy and settling nerves within the sector.”

Taking place at the Birmingham NEC from 18 – 20 October, UK Construction Week combines nine shows in one location. With over 24,000 trade visitors last year – a figure expected to double at this year’s event – the show boasts over 1,000 exhibitors. Visitors are able to attend Timber Expo, the Build Show, Civils Expo, the Surface and Materials Show, Energy 2016, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2016, Smart Buildings 2016 and Grand Designs Live.

For more information about UK Construction Week or to register to attend for free, please visit or follow @UK_CW on Twitter.