Behind any successful event is a team that is involved extensively to ensure that everything goes as planned. Construction and real estate events are not any different. Organizers of events such as dmg events’ The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016 usually work under the guidance and direction of an Event Manager.

We had a chance to meet and chat with the event manager for The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016, Patrick Gedeon, moments after the official launch of The National Construction Week at the KICC.


BARRACK: Hi Patrick, do you mind telling us about yourself – and dmg events?

PG: I joined dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa seven years ago, after completing my studies in business management. dmg events is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Daily Mail and General Trust plc (DMGT), an international portfolio of information, media and events businesses listed on the London Stock Exchange. dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa has operated in the Middle East since 1995 and owns many leading brands including The Big 5 portfolio of construction events, INDEX – the Middle East’s largest event for the interior design industry and The Hotel Show, the longest running and most important event for the hospitality industry.

Headquartered in Dubai, UAE and with satellite offices in India, South Africa and the UK, dmg events Middle East, Asia & Africa organizes over 45 events across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, North America and Europe.

B: Is The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016 the first event that you are holding in Kenya?

PG: The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016 is our launch event in Kenya and the broader East African region. Taking place from Nov 2 to 4, The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016 is the official exhibition of Kenya’s first National Construction Week, launched by Hon Prof Jacob Kaimenyi Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning earlier this year.

The event is co-located with the National Construction Authority’s Second Annual Construction Research Conference and Exhibition (ACoRCE 2016), which is the National Construction Week’s official conference. On our first event in Kenya, not only we gathered almost 200 local and international exhibitors of construction products at the Kenyatta Exhibition and Conference Centre: we offered over 20 free-to-attend workshops delivered by industry experts.

The Big 5 Construct East Africa is the first event in the country offering free to attend CPD accredited educational programmes to construction industry professionals.

B: What activities does dmg events organize?

PG: Among many other exhibitions, dmg events organizes The Big 5, the largest, most influential and renowned portfolio of construction industry events spanning the Middle East, India, South East Asia and Africa. With a network of more than 300,000 suppliers and buyers of construction products from 120 countries, The Big 5 focuses on the specific needs of the construction industries of the countries where it takes place, enjoying support from both national and international institutions.

The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016 is no exception. Beyond being endorsed by the National Construction Authority (NCA) and Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest), the show is supported by local government bodies and prominent associations including the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing & Urban Development, Ministry of Lands & Physical Planning, the Institute of Clerks of Works, the National Commission of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Town and Country Planners Association of Kenya (TCPAK), the Architectural Association of Kenya (AAK), the Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK), the Institute of Quantity Surveyors of Kenya (IQSK), the Jomo Kenyatta University of Architecture and Technology (JKUAT), and the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA).

B: What are some of the areas you’d encourage Kenyans attending this event to pay attention to?

PG: More than just an exhibition, The Big 5 Construct East Africa offers a broad educational programme. We organised 20 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) certified and free to attend workshops. Some of the topics covered include BIM, BREEAM, as well as latest solutions and best practices for the built environment.

These CPD workshops offer attendees a unique opportunity to learn, network and discover what’s new in the market in terms of technology and innovation. Also, the opportunity to meet conveniently in one place at one time hundreds of companies and manufacturers from around the world is definitely a must for all construction industry professionals in Kenya.

B: From your experience as an event manager, what value do events such as The Big 5 add to the exhibitors?

PG: First and foremost, The Big 5 Construct East Africa offers exhibitors the opportunity to access the booming Kenyan and East African construction market. We provide them a premier platform to expand their operations in this latter, meet with the right buyers and learn about the local industry’s needs and best practices to do business successfully.

International brands sent their representatives to The Big 5 Construct East Africa because they trust The Big 5 brand and its formula of success, which we replicate in every new territory. To help them further, we also organised the “How to Trade in Kenya” seminar, which was specifically designed to support exhibitors in the local market.

B: What is the importance of face to face interaction in events such as this?

PG: One of greatest the added values of B2B exhibitions like The Big 5 Construct East Africa is the chance to meet face to face with manufacturers, suppliers and industry professionals. This type of direct interaction allows for a bigger understanding of both products features and market requirements, and is therefore equally beneficial to exhibitors and visitors. These latter can see, touch, test the products directly.

Exhibitors have the opportunity to better understand the requirements of potential local buyers and the industry needs in general. Ultimately, The Big 5 Construct East Africa helps match efficiently and effectively demand and offer in the Kenyan construction market.

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B: What are some of the things that dmg events is planning to do going forward?

PG: The Big 5 Construct East Africa was a launch show and we plan to organise this successful event for many years ahead. The Africa continent is a much unexplored but very promising market for construction industry manufacturers, and for this reason we are launching a new Big 5 in Morocco next April: The Big 5 Construct North Africa 2017.

B: What tips would you give a visitor to this event? What are the practical steps that one can take to maximize the opportunities presented here?

PG: My advice to visitors is to plan their visit at the exhibition. As a visitor you should know exactly what you are looking for at the exhibition. The Big 5 Construct East Africa, like any other Big 5 event, showcases thousands of innovative and never seen before products for the built environment gathering hundreds of local and international manufacturers.

Moreover, it provides unique free to attend learning and networking opportunities, with dozens of CPD-Certified workshops delivered by industry experts on a variety of hot topics.

B: What are some of the new trends in construction that you think Kenyans need to be aware of?

PG: From Smart Cities, to Green and sustainable building solutions, from the Internet of Things (IoT) to safety and security regulations in the construction sector, there are many different trends worth exploring in the Kenyan landscape. Our free to attend and CPD certified workshops help industry professionals to do exactly this: discover the latest trends and best practices to understand the present and the future of the local, regional and international construction sector.

B: You have really emphasized a lot on the education content in construction. Do you think that enough work has been done to ensure that this is available?

PG: Since 2010, dmg events Middle East, Asia and Africa has placed an increasing emphasis on certified education within The Big 5 shows in the form of conferences, seminars and workshops to support continued professional development among audiences. The Big 5 Construct East Africa 2016 brought to Kenyan professionals over 20 CPD Certified and free to attend workshops to help them develop their skills and advance their careers. We are proud to state that this was the first event in the country that offered free to attend CPD accredited workshops to construction industry professionals.