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Futurebuild 2020: What was hot

Did you miss the recent Futurebuild 2020 in London? If you want to find out the highlights from this prestigious construction and innovation event, we’ve got you covered!

What’s Futurebuild 2020 about?

Futurebuild is a national event in the UK for the construction sector, bringing together opinion shapers, decision-makers and product innovators from around the country. The aim? To discuss the biggest challenges facing the built environment, both now and in the future, and what the possible solutions could look like. The show was held at ExCel London this past week, 3rd-5th March 2020.

In the words of the event organisers: ‘Futurebuild 2020 will remain true to the roots of ecobuild by standing out as the only event to have a higher purpose, to be a catalyst for change. The passion for innovation and real change will extend beyond the world class knowledge programme, across the entire exhibition floor and showcase innovation like never before.’

Innovation and collaboration at the forefront

So, one thing is clear – innovation was central to the 3-day construction event. The vision of the organisers was to provide education to industry leaders and share innovations for a more sustainable future. The show featured six hubs to bring together like-minded experts around Buildings, Energy, Infrastructure, Interiors, Offsite and Resourceful Materials.

Collaboration was one of the recurring words throughout the event. Over 27,000 industry influencers, shapers and innovators gathered-together to come up with the best collaboration ideas. Construction experts recognise that in order to tackle climate change, it’s necessary to collaborate and unite our forces and ideas – we can’t go on working in silos. This is also how Keith Waller, Program Director at Construction Innovation Hub described it in an interview during Futurebuild 2020. You can watch his testimonial in the video below:

From the 27,283 visitors, 88% were at managerial level or above, and 77% authorise or specify products. With such a high-level profile, the event attracted architects, consultants, developers, engineers, contractors and local authority representatives from across the country and 68 other nationalities. To make Futurebuild more interesting, there were debates in the various Hubs, joined by over 9,600 industry professionals. The event also had partners from some of the most prestigious industry institutions in the country, including the Institution of Civil Engineers and BRE.

Hot debates at Futurebuild 2020

The opening debate, probably one of the highlights from the event, was titled ‘Putting the planet first.’ The panel featured industry experts, including Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA and Emma Wilcox, Chief Executive at Society of the Environment. They raised several concerns about the position of Britain in terms of sustainability. As they explained, Britain ranks 189th out of 218 nations for the ‘intactness of its living systems’ and its national parks are in category V, when they should be in category I or II.

Another hot topic at Futurebuild 2020 was the UK goal to achieve ‘net zero’ emissions by 2050. Because it became law, there is a real need in the construction industry to come up with innovative solutions to achieve it. Peter Murray, Chairman at New London Architecture, chaired a debate about how to reach this goal excluding off-setting the emissions as an option. Most organisations seem to be championing the offsetting of their carbon emissions. This includes projects ranging from planting trees to investing in renewable energies. This panel, however, argued that looking at prevention, rather than cure, is a better approach. To that end, they explored solutions to avoid emissions in the first place, or to reduce their distribution. For example, they discussed the advantages of extending building life cycles, thus reducing the need for re-build in general.

Digital innovation with digital twins

Once again, there couldn’t be an event about innovation in construction and engineering without including BIM. One of the key stages in the event was Digital Impact. This stage for digital construction included two main areas: Digital Centre and Digital Impact. The Stage was created in partnership with UK BIM Alliance and Women in BIM, two major BIM groups in the UK. The spotlight was on the concept of ‘Digital twins’, relating to the virtual replicas of existing assets. But the concept goes beyond a simple 3D or BIM model. The futuristic ideal is that the digital twins will be intrinsically connected. In fact, one could even maintain physical assets through the digital twin. Definitely lots of innovation to debate here!

Did you attend Futurebuild 2020? If so, let us know your highlights in the comments! Otherwise you can watch this video, covering Day 1 of the event!


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