Construction’s big event regenerates for 2017

A reinvented Ecobuild returns in March with what’s been hailed as an immersive exhibition and conference programme, under the umbrella theme of regeneration

The leading show for the built environment, Ecobuild 2017 will see ExCeL London transformed into a ‘city’ – complete with a main street, distinct destinations and special feature attractions. Central to the experience will be Regeneration Drive, a boulevard running through the centre of the exhibition floor, linking different aspects of the show and enabling visitors to experience the very best examples of innovation and creativity from across the built environment.

Martin Hurn, brand director at Ecobuild, explained:

“For 2017, we’re completely overhauling and innovating the Ecobuild experience. We asked our visitors what they want and need from the show, and sustainability overwhelmingly came to the top of the agenda. To deliver this, we’ve ripped up the floorplan and reinvented Ecobuild as an immersive city centred around Regeneration Drive.

“Imagining the exhibition as a city allows us to deliver a unique programme focused on regeneration, in a way that is relevant and inclusive to all our exhibitors and visitors. Different aspects of construction and the built environment deserve specific focus, and each of Ecobuild 2017’s destinations will have something distinct and exciting to offer.”

As visitors make their way up Regeneration Drive, they will be introduced to key destinations including The Arena, City Hall, The Campus, The Gateway and The Performance Lab.

The Arena will be home to the Ecobuild Conference, with headline guest speakers, staging a range of keynote speeches from industry thought leaders and innovators across the three days. As part of the programme, UK-GBC (the Green Building Council) will host daily leadership panels chaired by CEO Julie Hirigoyen.

The show’s sustainability hub, City Hall, will be home to the UK-GBC and World Green Building Council, representing the culmination of Ecobuild’s Redefining Sustainability campaign – which seeks to create an industry-wide understanding of sustainability objectives and drives, along with a clear direction for the future.

Architectural collective Assemble will also present its award-winning Granby Workshop project at the Campus – the show’s “destination for innovative thinking and the latest technology.” Visitors will be able to view and interact with a unique installation created by Assemble, telling the story behind the collective’s Turner Prize-winning regeneration project. Attendees will be also able to interact with Future Materials, a gallery curated by ARCC, previewing next-generation materials and processes currently in either research or testing stage.

The Gateway is where visitors can explore national and social infrastructure projects in partnership with ICE, as well as a separate seminar theatre dedicated to Green Infrastructure. The Performance Lab, meanwhile, will showcase the latest in smart home and smart building technology in association with Ecobuild 2017’s building performance partner, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE).

In response to the increased Government and industry focus on offsite construction, Ecobuild has also partnered with Explore Offsite to bring a significant showcase of the exciting opportunities offered by offsite technology in the future of construction, with the industry’s leading suppliers and a series of daily masterclasses.

Another new partnership sees Ecobuild and UK District Energy Association creating a new and exciting area: the ukDEA District Energy Town Square, host to leading British suppliers and also international pavilions from Sweden and Denmark, two of the most mature district energy markets in the world. The ukDEA District Energy Town Square will be located adjacent to Ecobuild’s Performance Lab.

Day one of the Ecobuild Conference will focus on future-proofing building and construction. Key topics will include large scale domestic refurbishment, carbon reduction in the built environment and promoting ‘green infrastructure’ through planning, while Ecobuild’s Big Innovation Pitch reaches its climax with finalists presenting solutions to M&S and a panel of industry judges.

The second day will see industry leaders debate solutions to the housing crisis, featuring a panel including Jules Pipe, deputy mayor for planning, regeneration and skills, Greater London Authority and Ben Derbyshire, HTA Design partner and RIBA president-elect, among other sector experts. Topics covered will range from improving energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings to meeting the new zero carbon homes standard as part of the ‘Low Carbon London’ initiative. Broadcaster Will Gompertz will also interview Niall McLaughlin of Niall McLaughlin Architects, recent RIBA Charles Jencks winner.

Among other things, day three topics include the possible legislation binding developers in an agreement to consider the wellbeing of future generations when planning.

‘Redefining sustainability’

More than two thirds of professionals in the built environment identify sustainability as the industry topic of greatest interest, but the term’s actual meaning is constantly developing. Ecobuild’s Redefining Sustainability campaign has been developed to drive discussions about, and ultimately create, a universally accepted understanding of sustainability that’s “appealing, engaging and accessible to all.”

Ecobuild has announced key collaborations with Lead Partner UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC), World GBC, RIBA, BRE, the Construction Products Association, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), CIAT and the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE). There will also be pavilions showcasing associations including the Builders Merchants Federation, Passivhaus Trust, NFRC, Concrete Pavilion, TRADA and the STA.

With such a wide variety of exhibitors and partners, Ecobuild will provide visitors with the platform to collaborate and address the key issues of regeneration and its role in shaping sustainability.

Free registration is now open for visitors. For more information on this year’s event, exhibitors and conference topics, visit www.ecobuild.co.uk