A meeting place for the construction industry, The Big 5 features exhibitors from more than 50 countries

There are many ways to judge the success of a trade exhibition in this region.

Some of them include the scope of the sector it represents; the number of exhibitors and visitors attending the event; the networking and business potential the exhibition offers and the hype it creates. The Big 5 scores highly on all these counts.

According to the event's organisers, dmg world media Dubai Ltd., which also organises popular events such as The Office Exhibition and The Hotel Show, there are few, if any, other events anywhere in the world that compare to The Big 5 in terms of floor space, number of exhibitors, international representation and number of visitors.

The Big 5 exhibition is one of the longest running events of its kind in the region, featuring exhibitors from more than 50 countries.

In addition to construction, the event covers key allied sectors such as glass and metal, air-conditioning and refrigeration, water technology and environment, bathrooms and ceramics, and marble and machinery.

History of support

"The Big 5's heritage goes back to the very beginning of Dubai's extraordinary growth, which it has supported over the years," says Bernard Walsh, Managing Director, dmg world media Dubai.

"We have built the success of The Big 5 - which is today one of the world's major construction shows - by understanding the needs of the industry and delivering against those specific requirements," he says.

In support of that statement, Walsh also adds that a survey of exhibitors undertaken during the event in 2005 showed that the feedback was highly positive in terms of generating business and establishing contacts. This, he says, is a direct result of the extremely high quality of trade visitors attracted to the show.

Bigger, every year

The event held in 2005 was also the biggest one in its history. The exhibition area covered the entire Dubai International Exhibition Centre, filling ten exhibition halls, the Al Multaqua Hall and one pavilion.

Visitors increased by 14.4 per cent compared to 2004, with a total figure of 38,535 trade professionals attending the show. This included 16,700 overseas visitors and exhibitors.

Visitors from India and Pakistan increased by 30 per cent, from Iran by nine per cent and from Europe by 39 per cent.

Exhibitors from 58 countries participated in the exhibition, with 1,886 stands representing 2,477 companies - there were also 29 national and regional groups, with all of the world's leading building and construction markets strongly represented.

Notwithstanding the previous event's success, the organisers are confident that this year's event, being held at the Dubai International Exhibition Centre from October 28 to November 1, will surpass these numbers.

Walsh says that they were inundated with rebookings even before the show opened and is confident that with the Dubai International Exhibition Centre creating additional floor space for this year's event, it will be even bigger.

The organisers also expect to see more than 40,000 visitors attending the event. These will include international, regional and local buyers from the public and private sector, architects, engineers and contractors. One of the companies that will be attending includes Dewalt Industrial Tools.

"The construction industry is rapidly expanding in the Gulf region and an exposition such as The Big 5 is an enormous platform to harness greater market potential in the Middle East.

"We are hoping to generate business contacts in the Middle East and play a greater role in the development of the region.

"The Big 5 also offers a good opportunity to learn more about what other markets have to offer and to meet and trade with people from all over the world," says Kari Vikman, Marketing Manager, Dewalt Industrial Tools, Middle East and Africa, who adds that the show is the perfect platform to take advantage of the region's huge opportunities and to interact with partners to introduce their new range of heavy-duty industrial tools.


This year's event also has about 30 country pavilions including ones from the UK, China, Australia, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Germany, and brings together more than 2,000 exhibitors from more than 50 countries.

The German pavilion is spread over 6,000 square metres in the new Zabeel hall and has more than 300 companies offering high-quality products and services related to the construction sector.

There's also a Welsh pavilion exhibiting for the first time at The Big 5 featuring companies such as IEA Ltd, Conren International and Francis Ceramics.

Companies from Australia will include the Tapepro Drywall Tool Company, which will showcase their range of automatic taping tools used in plasterboard construction.

Companies representing the air conditioning sector include JCI-York, a world leader in the field of air conditioning. The company considers the show a good platform to establish important contacts and develop business.

According to a company spokesperson, JCI-York will be showcasing a packaged chiller plant with controls to meet the air conditioning needs of large fast track projects.

UTS Carrier, another important name in the AC sector, will also be exhibiting at the event. It has been part of the Big 5 for more than a decade, making valuable contacts and procuring lucrative deals through the show.

Sanipex, a leading supplier of luxury sanitaryware in the region and an exhibitor in the past, believes that the event is a good chance to meet architects, contractors, developers, manufacturers and end-users related to construction industry.

"This show, which is one of the best in the Middle East, is a chance to revive old contacts and relationships, get feedback from your visitors regarding new market requirements and meet new customers for the export market," says Kerrie Black, Brand Manager - Bagno Design, Sanipex Group.

Renowned brands

Considering the potential for future business from the region, international and regional exhibitors from the marble, stone and ceramics industry including RAK Ceramics, one of the world's largest manufacturers in the sector, will also participate.

Globally renowned brands from the bathrooms and sanitaryware sector such as Franke, Geberit and Grohe will also have their designs on display.

When discussing the impressive line-up of exhibitors, Walsh says that The Big 5 has been proud to bring the very best the world has to offer to the region, and that products that increase efficiency while maintaining high levels of quality are sure to be of major interest at the show.

Walsh adds that they have also introduced an educational element to the show to benefit the industry in general.

"Comprehensive programmes of free technical seminars presented by experts from the world's leading companies will cover the most important industry topics including the latest product and service developments. Last year, we staged a total of 60 seminars over the five days of The Big 5 exhibition and this will be repeated again this year," he says.

Free seminars will be presented by leading international experts from all around the world.

Topics such as thermal insulation, structural glazing and cladding, new materials and systems, passive cooling and daylight deflection, fire safety, ventilation, corrosion resistant reinforcement and AC systems will be covered at the event.

According to the organisers demand for places at the free seminars is expected to be very heavy and visitors are advised to reserve their seats early.

"These seminars give us the opportunity to allow visitors access to best international working practices and to discuss new technologies and product innovations that will directly benefit their businesses," says Walsh.

In view of the heavy demand for materials by the construction industry, a MEDMA (The Middle East Drymix Mortar Association) conference will also be held during the event featuring lectures on advanced drymix mortar applications, the general overview of the drymix mortar industry and its opportunities for growth.

While events such as these will ensure another successful year for The Big 5, the organisers are excited about several developments and the impact they will have on the conference and exhibition sector.

These developments include the expansion and enhancement of the current exhibition space and facilities, followed by the construction of Dubai Exhibition City, part of the Jebel Ali Airport City, which will offer a staggering 120,000 square metres of exhibition space by 2009.

"We are hoping to generate business contacts in the Middle East and play a greater role in the development of the region. The Big 5 also offers a good opportunity to learn more about what other markets have to offer and to meet and trade with people from all over the world," says Kari Vikman, Marketing Manager, Dewalt, Middle East and Africa.

The Big 5

  • Venue: Dubai International Exhibition Centre, World Trade Centre
  • Organisers: dmg world media Dubai Ltd
  • Dates: October 28 to November 1
  • Participating sectors: Building and construction, glass and metal, air-conditioning and refrigeration, water technology and environment, bathrooms and ceramics and marble and machinery
  • Exhibitors: 2,000 exhibitors from more than 60 countries