Showcase for the building world

Features Posted 18/10/16
Expo visitors learn of developments in the South East, including exciting plans for a major entertainment complex

Experts within the construction industry in all its forms met at the Kent Showground to share expertise, network and learn about the latest trends.

Early delegates were treated to an inspiring talk by the founder of Checkatrade.com Kevin Byrne, whose talk over breakfast on “From bedroom to boardroom”, shared his views on creating an inspirational business for both employees and customers.

He explained that his aim in setting up the company was to protect the public from rogue traders within the construction industry. He continues to improve the way Checkatrade does this, by following his slogan “believing the best in people and helping those in need.”

Checkatrade, which was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation in 2014, is used by 12 million people a year to select trade professionals for work in the home. It has a turnover of £16 million and the business model has inspired many other entrepreneurs.

Other speakers at the Expo included the director of Kier Build UK South Paul Gandy, who spoke about working with Kent County Council; Richard Hawkes of Hawkes Architecture, whose eco home has been commended by Kevin McCloud of TV’s “Grand Designs” programme; and Paul Spooner, the chief executive of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation who shared some of the exciting plans for this key growth area of north Kent.

In association with the development of Ebbsfleet as a garden city, David Testa, the CEO of London Resort Company Holding, spoke of the plans by Paramount London to create a new multi-billion pound entertainment resort on the site. He said the plans were at a critical stage, with the fifth public consultation period, but he hoped to be able to submit a planning application next year.

Paramount’s plans for Ebbsfleet include a huge indoor water park – the largest in Europe – venues for live music, a visitor centre dedicated to science and education and attractions based on films and TV shows. The complex could provide up to 27,000 jobs once it opens.

Among the exhibitors at the Expo were representatives from the fields of IT, health, ventilation and heating, web designs, financial advice, insurance and even aerial photography by drones.

Thousands of visitors browsed the stands and listened to the talks during the one-day exhibition.

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