Robots, BIM and Blessed

Features Posted 22/08/17
The importance of embracing technology and change will emerge as strong themes from the 2017 Construction Expo this autumn.

Delegates from the construction industry are expected in their thousands at the Kent Events Centre, Detling, between 8.30am and 4.30pm on Thursday, 5 October, to hear keynote speakers and to network with like-minded people. The Expo, in its 10th year, is recognised as the best way to find out about major developments and regeneration projects in the county, to catch up with the latest in digital developments and to meet buyers.

More than 150 exhibitors have booked a stand, knowing that face-to-face contact with potential customers is the most effective form of marketing. As Simmons Market Research, which carries out independent national consumer surveys, comments: “Ninety-one per cent of senior decision-makers attend trade shows to source purchasing information and if you’re not exhibiting you can’t be part of the purchasing decision.”

Among the exciting developments on show at the Expo will be demonstrations of the latest in Building Information Modelling (BIM), software used to present digital models of projects for your customer. Looking forward, the show will consider where the construction industry in Kent will be in 2025 and beyond and how to act now to attract the next generation of workers.

Among six keynote speakers during the day is leading academic, entrepreneur and business forecaster Professor Richard Scase, who will address the breakfast meeting on “Why autonomous or robotic vehicles will save the planet”. His theme is that self-drive cars will have the biggest impact on society of all the emerging technologies, claiming “they create the potential for the re-design of our transport systems. Urban neighbourhoods and road systems will be revolutionised. People will regain control over urban space dominated by the automobile.”

Improving management efficiency within the construction industry is the theme of Sandi Rhys Jones’s talk “Older, bolder and staying alive”. Sandi, who specialises in workplace culture, will discuss how to retain and develop valuable staff, how to improve project management and communication with clients and how to attract young people into construction.

Embracing digital development is the theme of Philip Collard’s speech to Expo delegates. He has spent more than 25 years helping contractors in the construction industry to improve their workflow and efficiency, using specific digital tools which can transform businesses and increase productivity and profits.

The benefits of Building Information Modelling will be explained to delegates by Robert Umphray, head of BIM at Deeo Design and Engineering. He will define what BIM can mean to your project, how to minimise risks to capital and construction phases and how to unlock the savings potential that BIM offers.

Finally – and likely to be the most popular of speakers – is actor Brian Blessed, whose large frame, bearded face and booming voice will be familiar to all, for his roles in Z Cars, Black Adder and as Vultan in Flash Gordon.

Brian, who has attempted to climb Everest three times and is the oldest man to have walked to the magnetic North Pole, will share amusing stories from his long career, which began at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Tickets for his talk at the Expo dinner, which begins at 5.30pm, cost £49 plus VAT and are available from the website.

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