This year marks the first indoor/outdoor expo at the African Construction and Totally Concrete Expo – ranked first among construction stakeholders for its relevant and strategic content, according to a 2015 survey – which will run from May 9 to 11 at the Gallagher Convention Centre, in Midrand.
Events management company and organiser Hypenica Africa programme director Soren du Preez explains that this year’s event moved from the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, specifically because the new premises allow for an outdoor component, which will ensure the exhibition develops in new directions.
Aside from increasing the floor space, the outdoor aspect also allows greater freedom for exhibitors, as they can showcase larger machines and equipment, unhindered by the height or width restrictions of indoor facilities.
Moreover, the change in premises has led to the introduction of the Totally Concrete Battle Zone and Concrete Arena. Du Preez explains that these elements were introduced to pit exhibitors, their wares and skills against one another in a fun and engaging manner. “In the battle zone, construction industry manufacturers and suppliers will challenge their competitors during a series of tournaments, putting their machinery and equipment to the test, while, in the Concrete Arena, there will be an array of concrete demonstrations such as strength testing and bricklaying . . .”
She points out that other new elements include the Gauteng Construction Expo, aimed at facilitating cooperation within the province; the Construction Information Technology Summit, a rapidly developing segment of the industry that is introducing new ways of doing construction business in Africa; and the Dispute Avoidance and Resolution Seminar.
“New components are introduced to keep pace with current construction industry developments and are brought about by the exhibition’s advisory board. Every year, extensive research is conducted with new contacts, advisory board members and past participants of the event prior to the programme and content development.”
Du Preez says the 2016 advisory board comprises several C-level executives (or high-level executives such as CEOs/COOs/CFOs) who represent expertise across the global cement, construction and concrete markets. She adds that a yearly board meeting is held in Johannesburg, where board members meet and discuss emerging trends and opportunities in the industry and how they should be reflected in the conference programme.
She notes that the majority of speakers are nominated on recommendation of the advisory board and vary from year to year, based on the trends and topics the board selects. “Board members remain in contact with the event production team throughout the planning and execution phases of the event, with the majority of members participating as speakers, participants or exhibitors.”
She enthuses that this year’s event will feature more than 60 experts as speakers, including French industrial architect Thierry Bogaert, German construction authority Deutsches Institut fur Bautechnik president Gerhard Breitschaft, Kusile power station deputy project director Karabo Rakgolele and aggregate product supplier PPC Cement CEO Darryl Castle.
About the Expo
The expo will be colocated with the South African Institute of Civil Engineering’s Civilution Congress, the Housing for Africa Forum, the Women in Construction Awards and the Captains of Construction Leadership Forum.
Conference delegates can register for a platinum pass for access to all the colocated activities, except the Captains of Construction Leadership Forum, for which access is by invitation only.
Du Preez states that 17 workshops, open to all registered delegates and visitors, will be held during the event. Visitor registration is free and can be done online through the event’s website. “Visitors are not required to register for specific workshops, but they should take note of the ones they want to attend and arrive early, as seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.”
She says there will be myriad food stalls, in addition to concrete products manufacturer AfriSam‘s beer garden, as well as whisky tasting. “Security guards, police and paramedics will be on site and the event complies with all South African health and safety regulations.”
Participants will have the opportunity to network with more than 6 000 participants, including key private- and public-sector stakeholders.
“All participants have unlimited access to more than 180 exhibiting companies, training workshops, product demos, competitions and prize giveaways . . .” Du Preez concludes.