Steady fit-out market growth gives a boost to Surface & Materials Show

by Georgie Baxter

Bircan Tulga Photography

The continued growth of the commercial fit-out and interior refurbishment market is great news for interior designers, architects and specifiers but means extra pressure to stay up-to-date with the latest products and materials.

The latest report from AMA Research states that the sector has grown by 34% since 2013 and rose 6% in just the past year. Commercial offices, education and leisure and entertainment are responsible for the steady rise.

Unsurprisingly then, innovative products from cladding to coatings, panels to plumbing and flooring to finishes will be the centrepiece of the Surface and Materials Show, which returns to the NEC from 9 to 11 October this year as part of the construction industry’s largest event UK Construction Week (UKCW).

Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said:

“We’ve packed the show this year with an exclusive array of new product launches and creative ideas that will inspire designers and specifiers from all parts of the interiors and architectural industry. From colour forecasts to bionic buildings, there will be topics that anticipate all the major technological, cultural and societal trends.

“There will be practical demonstrations of best practice installations, new applications and techniques, and the opportunity to attend a series of workshops and seminars covering high end to high tech. The big issues of the day, including fire safety, wellbeing and indoor air quality, will also be up for discussion.”

Among the speakers, experts from the Concrete Centre, Canon, cTrap and Lund University will take to the stage to share the very latest on their products, research and development, and what to expect next in the sector.

The ‘Future of Construction’ is UKCW’s theme for 2018 which will explore the latest innovative ideas, products and systems throughout the event. The Innovation Trail provides the perfect opportunity to see what’s on offer for the interiors sector with exhibitors including 4M Works, Bruag AG, Crown Décor PVT, Decorative Panels Lamination, Fibo UK, Impress Surfaces, J&J Teixeira, Morland, Soyang Europe and William Smith.

This year also sees the launch of the UKCW Role Models Campaign to champion the existing talent in the industry and to inspire the next generation.

Role models are taking part in an outreach programme, going to colleges and schools in the coming months to talk to students and teachers at key stages of their education to explain what inspired them to choose construction as a career and to bust any myths around the image of construction.

37 inspiring men and women have recently been shortlisted for this campaign, and the overall Role Model of the Year will be announced on 9 October.

Debates on major national and international construction issues will take place on the UKCW Main Stage. Speakers already confirmed include Phil Wilbraham, expansion programme director at Heathrow; Bridget Rosewell OBE, commissioner at the National Infrastructure Commission; Ben Derbyshire, RIBA president; and Ruth Davidson, National Housing Federation executive director.

Other benefits for visitors include an extensive programme of free CPD sessions, the Beer & Ale Festival with hot food and live entertainment, and a chance to celebrate with the Construction Enquirer Awards.

Last year was UKCW’s most successful yet with more than 30,000 trade visitors. This year is set to be even bigger with a forecast of 35,000 visitors.

90% of visitors to the event say they are there to source new products and suppliers, 79% to network with suppliers and other visitors, and 76% to talk to product experts and exhibitors’ technical staff.

Visitors to last year’s show had a combined purchasing power of £75 billion, with 85% of attendees having direct purchasing authority. They included 3,771 professionals from architectural and design firms, more than 3,000 contractors and 7,651 housebuilders and developers.

If you want to share your latest product launch or service or just want a platform that gets you directly in front of your customers, there’s still a chance to grab an exhibitor spot. Register your interest via the Surfaces & Materials Show Exhibitor page.

Free tickets for visitors to the Surface and Materials Show are also available now from

Tickets also allow access to the other UK Construction Week shows: Building Tech Live, Timber Expo, Civils Expo, Energy 2018, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2018, Build Show, as well as Grand Designs Live on 10 and 11 October.

Keep up-to-date with the latest information about exhibitors, product launches and speakers at Surface and Materials Show at and on Twitter at @smshowUK or using the hashtag #SMShow2018

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