With massive works expected of it over the next few years in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, the country's construction industry is experiencing major growth whilst being challenged by the lack of skilled resources. Great strides have to be taken to attract new entrants into the profession whilst also encouraging skilled professionals back into the local industry.
Trade shows Interbuild Africa, Plumbdrain Africa, Aircon-Vent Africa, Woodpro Africa and the recently launched Glass Expo Africa, are well positioned to service the needs of the industry to beyond 2010, acting as a forum for developing new business, showcasing top products and services, looking at ways to address the skills shortage, and providing a vital networking arena for businesses.
With more than 50% of combined available floor space already sold, the shows cover the full spectrum of related industries in residential, commercial and industrial development including building services, construction, plumbing, glass and aluminium, air-conditioning and woodworking.
"The shows offer visitors the perfect opportunity to compare products and services, plan future capital equipment purchases and view the latest technology and industry trends, " says Gary Corin, Marketing Director at Specialised Exhibitions, organisers of the show.
"At previous shows, there was extensive networking between local businesses to assess potential synergies and partnerships, and visiting international companies were keen to forge local business relationships recognising the growth effect of the 2010 Soccer World Cup."
Attracting major decision makers from throughout South Africa, as well as a strong delegation from other African countries and international visitors, the exhibitions provide a platform for buying and specifying, and also for developing and stimulating growth opportunities for business.
"We enjoyed a 20% growth in attendance, with over 7,700 visitors meeting and interacting with more than 235 local and international companies at last years shows, " says Corin, "and this year we have seen a considerable growth in exhibition floor space sales year-to-date and we are significantly ahead of where we were this time before the 2006 show."
An exciting addition is Glass Expo Africa, the first glass and aluminium exhibition, which is enjoying the support of key industry players pulling together to make it an outstanding success.
"93% of available floor space at Glass Expo Africa has already been sold, " says Roz Nash, Exhibition Manager, Specialised Exhibitions. "Due to this overwhelming response, we've made the decision to increase floor space to accommodate the extra demand. It's an exciting platform to showcase latest products, trends and technologies, and a forum for discussion for the latest in overseas developments that will impact South Africa to meet the increasing legislative requirements in this country."
Seminars will add even greater benefit to Glass Expo Africa with topics such as: Expanding Boundaries with Glass, Energy Efficiency, Towards 2010, Opportunities in Africa, and Beyond 2010.
"There are so many different architectural uses of glass overseas such as glass staircases in Europe and glass pool fences in Australia, and we want to let South African's know the latest trends in design, " says Steve McCoy, owner of McCoy's Glass Wholesalers and a leading driver of this initiative together with other industry colleagues. "Frameless showers have become increasingly popular in SA, and many other great designs are waiting to be exposed. We need to start upselling and expanding our current boundaries."
"New laws will soon be coming into effect regarding emissions and the ozone layer. Saving energy in South Africa will be of paramount importance and the increase of the use of glass and embracing double glazing will be key choices, " says McCoy. "Glass Expo Africa is an excellent showcase for these concepts and ideas."
Plumbdrain Africa will also feature new exciting developments in the industry and will host various industry talks and presentations, which will be essential to those involved in the industry. Interbuild Africa and co-locating shows will be held at the Expo Centre, NASREC, Johannesburg, from 23-26 July 2008.
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