Futurebuild came to a close today with a resounding call for the built environment to make a real commitment to tackling the major environmental and societal issues facing us all, by moving beyond words and taking positive action. Across the three-day event, thousands of professionals came together to find collaborative and innovative solutions to meet the challenges facing the industry, both today and in the future.
Setting the bar high in terms of creating an action plan for change that unites all sections of the industry, the event got off with a bang. The urgency of ‘now’ was highlighted right from the opening session of the ecobuild Conference, with The Rt. Hon. Lord Jack McConnell, Chair of the APPG for the SDGs, joining leading thinkers from across industry and academia to explore the need to act immediately if we are to meet the ambitious targets set by the UN SDGs.
Other conference highlights included Ben Derbyshire, Chair of HTA Design LLP and RIBA President, declaring that the “building quality debate is a critical one that addresses major issues that face everyone on the planet.”
Agenda-setting discussion wasn’t just limited to the conference arena. On day two, the visionary Professor Dr Michael Braungart told a packed Waste Zone to be “patiently impatient” to realise a thriving health and happy economy. Hundreds visited the seminar theatre to listen to the author of the seminal “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.”
Across the event floor it was standing room only at many of other 10 seminar theatres – all of which were focused on providing practical insights and inspirational case studies across key built environment themes. Visitor Mark Cessford, who is a Senior Architectural Technologist from GSS, said:
“I’ve always had an interest in sustainability and emerging technologies which was why attending Futurebuild was a must for me. As well as having a personal interest, the company I work for is looking to increase their focus on sustainability. Attending the seminars has allowed me to learn more about the latest material options. I’m looking to host my own CPD sessions so all the information I’ve learned from Futurebuild, I will take away and incorporate into these classes.”
The focus on encouraging and supporting real change continued on day three. BEIS Director of Energy Efficiency, Ben Golding, joined Cristina Gamboa of the WGBC to make a passionate and rousing plea for the construction industry to step up and build ‘net positive’ if it is to create a built environment fit for the future. Meanwhile, the Innovation Zone, a new and exclusive area delivered by BEIS in conjunction with Innovate UK, proved highly popular with its combination of inspiring talks around the opportunities presented by tackling climate change, a showcase of over 40 innovative start-ups, and a dedicated business bar focused on knowledge sharing and one-to-one expert advice.
Industry endorsement in Futurebuild continued to gain momentum over the three days, with exhibitors and partners hailing the event a huge successful at its close. Linda Stevens, RIBA Head of Client Services commented:
“Three days in, the empty shelves in our bookshop speak for themselves, we’ve sold lots of books. On a more strategic level, the partnership we have with Futurebuild and indeed our wonderful sponsors at ROCKWOOL and Rockpanel works extremely well for us.
“It enables us to be here with substantial presence and give an opportunity to one of our chartered practices to actually create something that has major impact, and this year’s stand, designed by Gundry + Ducker, has more impact than we’ve ever had before at Futurebuild. As well as that we’ve worked with the organisers to create lots of speaker opportunities for our RIBA president and expert members and practices. It’s clearly a successful partnership and we would most definitely like to build on what we’ve done over the last couple of years.”
Hadley Group which sponsored the central Hadley Drive agreed, with Director of Marketing Dan Martin adding:
“Futurebuild has given us the opportunity to showcase our expanding offering and to engage with existing and new customers, as well as allowing us to increase the presence of the Hadley brand. The quality of the visitors at the show has been a highlight for us and being surrounded by professional colleagues and fellow exhibitors has allowed us to showcase our innovations in an exciting market.”