#ecobuild this year was, as always, interesting and informative; your blogger remembered the pedometer and clocked up an incredible four and a half miles in just the first day, traipsing around the halls looking for news stories and meeting exhibitors and their marketing people on the stands.
Despite the fact there were fewer exhibitors this year, most people I spoke to felt that we are finally turning a corner, that construction is beginning to pick up again, and they are cautiously optimistic about the future. Indeed, many launched new products – ranging from loos flushed by compressed air to external insulation systems able to facilitate the huge amount of solid wall upgrades which will be funded under the Energy Companies Obligation.
There were also a number of companies who had taken novel approaches to attracting people to their stands – other than having hospitality girls proffering trays of drinks. I saw a Storm-Trooper who could have come straight of the set of Star Wars’ latest sequel, while a company offering such services as guard dogs had its personnel dressed in Police style uniforms and hi-viz jackets.
Approaching the Plastic Surgeon stand, though, my first impression was how ginormous it was! I was faced with a wash hand-basin, half pink, half white; while MD Rob Mouser, Marketing Manager Cathy Baillie and their team were all strutting around in long white ‘doctor’s’ coats – where’s the stethoscopes, I thought. The jokes from visitors about tummy tucks and nose jobs were inevitable, and taken with good grace …. But the coats did the trick, as they got inquisitive visitors on to the stand – which is all any exhibitor wants at Ecobuild. You cannot leave any stand until you’ve had chapter and verse about how good the products and services are – that is just Ecobuild etiquette.
After accepting we have nothing to do with medicine, though, people seemed genuinely interested in our repair rather then replace ethos, and hung around to watch live demonstrations of baths and doors being repaired. Then, of course, on Wednesday Rob took the lead in launching our SOS (Save Our Surfaces) campaign, which has been developed to raise awareness of the sustainability credentials offered by repairing rather than replacing.
The show was all over in three very worthwhile days, but I think a couple more and the other men in white coats would have been along to carry me off in one of those jackets that zips up at the back.