The Big 5: The Cornerstone of GCC Construction

As construction events in the Middle East and North Africa go, they don’t come much bigger than The Big 5.

In anticipation of this year’s event, we explore what is in store for visitors to this year’s exhibition and how the region’s biggest construction event is preparing to redefine the industry.   The construction industry has been the single largest sector and contributor to GDP, with the most conservative estimates reporting that US$500 billion worth of civil construction projects have been awarded across the six states since 2006.More importantly, total planned and un-awarded construction projects exceed US$1 trillion, equivalent to roughly two-thirds of GDP.

It is in this context that The Big 5, which will be held on 23-26 November 2015 at World Trade Centre, is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and engaging opportunities for businesses in construction to connect with booming industries and multibillion-dollar projects. As in previous years, visitors to the show will have guaranteed access to free CPD workshops led by some of the leading minds in the business. This year, 75 such workshops held at the four-day event.

Among the highlights will be an update on Dubai Municipality Green Building Regulations and, with the total registered and certified leasable LEED space in the country reaching 47 million gross square meters, there will also be a session on updated energy modelling strategies for LEED v4. There will also be a seminar on how to trade in the UAE for exhibitors looking to grow their presence or set up operations in the region. This will offer information on navigating the complex regulatory framework to set up a business and win work in the region’s booming construction markets, as well as providing key insights into local laws and effective business practices within the UAE.

Freezones will also be a central feature of this seminar on account of the role they have played in promoting the growth of the non-oil economies in UAE. Trade through freezones increased by 7 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2014 to US$73 billion, while imports through freezones also expanded by 10 percent to US$41 billion. In addition, direct exports and re-exports from freezones have increased 5 percent, to around US$3 billion and US$28.8 billion respectively.

Other workshops at The Big 5 will focus on market potential and business development, as well as improving supply chain competitiveness, managing both cultural diversity and ethical issues, fire safety, the complexities of designing healthcare facilities, and an introduction to smart cities and the Internet of Things – among other things. All of which are seen as being essential in providing learning opportunities that help visitors maintain pace with current trends.

Meanwhile, to better align local, regional, and global suppliers with the specific needs of local markets, The Big 5 will be feature a plethora of live product demonstrations of technologies and innovations that are shaping the construction industry. In a similar fashion to the workshops and seminars, participating exhibitors will bring experts to showcase products in action, giving all visitors the opportunity to assess the suitability of a product for their projects in real-time.

With 3,000 exhibitors and 85,000 visitors expected to descend on Dubai World Trade Centre when The Big 5 opens its doors, the event is bracing for another record-breaking year after the 2014 event broke all attendance records witnessed during the show’s 35 year history. Available floor space is also set for an eight percent increase from 52,265m in 2014 to 56,400 in 2015, following the expansion of Dubai World Trade Centre and strong demand from exhibitors.

Together with strong demand, extra floor space will also be used to accommodate a new hall called The Big 5 Focus, which will be making its debut at the 2015 event. As the latest addition, The Big 5 Focus has been created to serve the increasing number of visitors seeking information on the challenges and opportunities for technology in construction and project management.

In speaking about The Big 5 Focus, dmg event director Ashley Roberts explained the rationale behind the new hall and that The Big 5 Focus will offer more stand space for companies wishing to increase their presence at the event. He said: “The 2014 edition of The Big 5 was a record-breaking year, which was attended by 80,178 participants. To continue with the expansion and development of The Big 5 Focus is a hall dedicated to a range of features that have been introduced specifically to meet the needs of our visitors providing additional value.”

With this in mind, we’ve put together a snapshot of the not-to-be-missed CPD workshops and seminars at The Big 5.

1. Updates to Dubai Municipality's green building regulations

2. GCC construction sector update: Market potential and business development opportunities

3. How to trade in the UAE

4. Life cycle costing: Theory vs practice in the GCC region

5. Introduction to the UN Global Compact Principles: Sustainability and ethicality in real estate and construction

For the full agenda and complete information about the free workshops and industry speakers taking part at The Big 5, please visit

600450 The Big 5: The Cornerstone of GCC Construction

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