Thomas Bohlen, Chief Technical Officer at the Middle East Centre for Sustainability, says: “Everyone within the industry has an understanding of what green building means now, and eventually we will see it become just a normal part of building practice.”

Bohlen is one of the speakers at The Big 5’s Green Build Conference. He’ll be joined by representatives from Dubai Municipality, Masdar City, Atkins, Habtoor Leighton, Mott McDonald and Emirates Green Building Council, among others. The two-day conference will cover topics ranging from the value of green building to construction waste management and greening existing buildings. The sessions will focus on products, innovations, technologies and regulations within the GCC.

A new addition to the 2012 event is the Leed series of workshops, focusing on core concepts and implementation, facilitated by Mario Seneviratne, a Leed fellow and director of sustainability at Green Technologies FZCO.

The impact of sustainable construction methods continues to dominate industry conversation, and the concrete sector is no different. Assem Adly, Planning and Coordination Manager, Hard Precast, has seen a significant demand for precast products over the past few years. He says: “We have seen a tremendous increase in the use of precast concrete for large- and small-scale projects — hardly surprising when you consider the economic, environmental and logistical benefits of precast over cast in situ. It’s a trend we very much see increasing in coming years.”

In the UAE alone, the precast industry is valued at around $1.6 billion (Dh5.87 billion), according to figures released by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. By using precast fabrications, labour costs can be reduced by up to 25 per cent as compared with conventional concrete.

With more than 40 free seminars taking place throughout the four days, visitors will have the opportunity to listen to some of the leading experts from across the board, and attend presentations on new technologies, innovative products and guidance on the buying processes.

In addition to the seminars, there will also be a Concrete Repair workshop that will take participants through the key issues surrounding prevention of degradation in reinforced concrete, repairing deteriorated structures and cathodic protection of new structures. Particularly prominent due to the heat of the Middle East, this workshop has proven popular with engineers, architects and facility managers looking to discover ways to maximise the lifespan of their buildings and structures. Experts will provide insight into proper prevention and repair procedures for any concrete structure, as well as answering participants’ specific queries.

A full-day Concrete Sustainability Conference looking at government and private initiatives, new products meeting sustainable criteria, and carbon footprints, round off the educational content at the event.

“The educational elements of Middle East Concrete have been specifically developed with the regional and international audience in mind,” says Nathan Waugh, Event Manager, Middle East Concrete. “This event provides an excellent opportunity for companies to gain access to information and contacts within the Middle East market and help them to further their business understanding.