An anniversary, a construction space race and Prof Brian Cox at Ecobuild 2011!

London’s Excel was the venue and 1-3 March 2011 the dates for the latest edition of what some claim to be the biggest and best exhibition for sustainable construction in the UK, if not Europe.

It was also the first anniversary of the launch of tCn‘s industry-specific networking and information sharing platform – and what a difference a year makes! Both the event itself and tCn have come on a long way since Earl’s Court 2010.

My Ecobuild

A lot has been said and written about ‘#EcoBuild’ (as twitter users hashtagged it), and for me it was a major success. It was great to see so many visitors and so many exhibitors promoting the good things they are doing in our industry.  Yes, you’re bound to see much of the same thing but surely that’s to be expected?  In retrospect and in my humble opinion, I found the venue easier to navigate, full of atmosphere for the two days I attended, and an all-round positive experience.

I was privileged to witness the formal partnership agreement re-affirmed between the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) (both tCn partners). Attendees included members and representatives from as far as China, including previous President Li Shirong (pictured right).

Next was another announcement from CIOB, regarding its B-live initiative – presented by TV’s latest ‘cool’ scientist, Professor Brian Cox (who has built a loyal following among some of my female friends!). CIOB’s project involved over 50 schools from across the UK, tasking them with designing the headquarters of a future ‘Global Government’, set in the year 2050. Their solution had to incorporate recycled materials and be designed for assembly in outer-space, against the backdrop of an overpopulated planet.

Congratulations to the students from Mill Vale Middle School in Dunstable who were crowned winners of the Inner Space project (they got my vote!), and well done to everyone else who entered.

Other highlights for me included speaking with a representative from Marks & Spencer to learn about their most sustainable UK store to date in Ecclesall Road, Sheffield.

The store will be the first of a number of planned ‘Sustainable Learning’ stores, which will further increase M&S’ understanding of sustainable construction techniques and processes. The new 12,400 sq ft Simply Food store, due to open in April and built from scratch on a former brownfield site, incorporates a host of sustainable and innovative design and construction features. The store is set to achieve a BREEAM rating of Excellent, and has received a Considerate Constructors Scheme score of 37.5 out of 40, making it one of the most sustainable retail outlets in the UK.

After a few drinks at EcoBuild’s resident ‘Fox’ pub with the teams from CIB Communications and Built for Training and it was time to dash over to St Paul’s to catch the end of Be2Camp‘s ‘tweet up’ and then run for the last train home (I missed it).

Social media on the AEC agenda

A very encouraging progression of EcoBuild 2011 compared with 2010 from tCn’s point of view was the amount of exhibitors we talked to who not only had social media in their sights for the coming months but had actually employed a specific person to look after their online presence or ‘finger-print’ as some call it.

It was fantastic to see many of those who have supported the tCn concept from its launch a year ago (big thanks to them – you know who you are!). And to those who were either new to social media or new to tCn, we look forward to talking to you in what should be an exciting 2011!

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About tCnFounder

Ryan Briggs is the Founder of tCn and has spent over 10 years in the construction industry working with various local, regional and national organisations. Now working with construction training provider, Built for Training, he is keen to use the tCn platform to help bring our industry together utilising social media technology while encouraging the next generation of talent into careers within the built environment.
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