Thinking ‘big’

Robert Marsh, commercial manager of voestalpine Metsec – Middle East GCC, looks back on a successful few days at The Big 5, the region’s largest and most influential event for the construction industry

There’s a reason they call it The Big 5. This is no marketing hyperbole – this year’s event attracted over 2,500 global exhibiting companies and was the biggest it’s been in its 40-year history, which shows that, despite a slight economic downturn in 2018 due to low oil prices, the region still has a lot of attraction for business and investors.

The exhibition showcases six product sectors: MEP services, Building Interiors & Finishes, Building Envelope & Special Construction, Construction Tools & Building Materials, and Construction Technology & Innovation.

Gathering buyers and manufacturers of construction products from around the world, The Big 5 also offers a broad educational agenda, with two high-level conferences and dozens of CPD-certified workshops.

And this is not a show that stands still, but one that responds to both industry and global trends.

The construction industry in the Middle East is ripe for change and digital transformation is no longer a choice but a necessity. Against this backdrop, The Big 5 this year launched the FutureTech Construction Summit, which focused on the opportunities, benefits, key drivers and challenges that come along with technological advancements and innovation.

Inspirational women

Also new this year was Women in Construction, a seminar series aimed at addressing the need to reinvent gender diversity in the workplace. Speakers were all inspiring, powerful and successful women who are changing the game and providing women with positive role models.

At The Big 5, I was honoured to represent Metsec at one of the show’s CPD workshops, where I presented on ‘Purlin Optimisation and an Introduction to SFS’.

The impressive attendance, standard of questions and feedback I received after the workshop proved to us that there is a very strong desire by consulting engineers and architects to learn more about Metsec systems and that it’s a brand they know and trust.

It was a fantastic experience that I look forward to repeating at next year’s show.


What made the event even more special for us was the GCC division of voestalpine Metsec plc winning the ‘Product Innovation of the Year’ award at the Big Project Middle East Awards, for its purlins optimisation software, MetSPEC 14. Middle East.

The category celebrates suppliers and manufacturers who have worked innovatively to bring the most efficient products and services into the construction sector.

Metsec’s award-winning software provides customers with the option of designing products to the following standards: AISI S100, the North American Specification for the Design of Cold-Formed Steel Structural Members, and ACSE 7-05, the Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures.

It was humbling to be among some of the most innovative construction companies from across the MENA region; this win highlights our commitment to supporting structural engineers from the early specification stage, enabling them to optimise and streamline their design to the required standards, while providing cost-effective, efficient and lighter purlins solutions.