Interbuild 2009 is focused into two distinct sections.
• Sustainability Street will feature 11 buildings.
• Irish sawmillers see Interbuild as a promotion opportunity.
• A strong lineup of conference speakers has been organised

It’s autumn again so it must be Interbuild.

The annual construction products show at the Birmingham NEC has been a behemoth in the past, with a blister-inducing number of stands and products.

But this year’s show (October 18-21) comes at a difficult time for the building industry, with house starts at record lows and the spectre of construction job losses in the slump reaching 100,000. This, combined, it is widely felt, with competition from London’s Ecobuild show, means that the NEC event this year will be smaller, covering two halls as against last year’s three.

However, with some signs of life starting to return, Interbuild 2009 could still provide an interesting barometer of industry sentiment. And, interestingly, show director David Pierpoint told TTJ recently that, while exhibitor numbers were running about a third

behind last year’s 680 stands, visitor registrations were ahead by 15%.

As well as being smaller, the show will look quite different because of significant re-focusing by organisers EMAP, which means two distinct sections.

Interbuild Specifier in Hall 5 will showcase construction design, products and processes, while Onsite in Hall 4 is designed to provide builder visitors with everything they need on a building site.

The show’s central feature in Hall 5 is the eye-catching Sustainability Street with 11 structures demonstrating sustainable building material systems and materials. The organisers say the feature will be one of the “most compelling live displays of offsite and sustainable technology ever seen in the UK”.

Key vertical markets such as education and healthcare will be brought to life through the buildings.

Structures include the Intelligent Building, which is constructed to PassivHaus standards and made using the SupaWall system – a hybrid timber frame system which utilises timber studs and PU rigid insulation to achieve U-values as low as 0.10 W/m²K.

Licensees Maple Timber Systems and Scotframe Timber Engineering will illustrate their portfolio of completed projects on the upper floor of the property.

Another showcase building is an affordable housing solution from Ergohome. The volumetric solution is a SIP structure built on a steel chassis with external cladding including timber and aluminium components.

The steel framed base allows the home to be positioned high enough for vehicles to be parked underneath. The first trials have been completed at Birmingham University.

Cowley Timberwork was involved in building the structure of the Kita Design Classroom pod, the first of which is already installed at Elleray Preparatory School, Windermere. Designed as a low impact, carbon responsible buildings, it will house the Innovation Theatre.

There won’t be a Timber Zone as in previous years, as TRADA, which helped to co-ordinate the zone, is not taking part in the exhibition, so timber product manufacturers will be spread across Hall 5.

Four Irish sawmills have arguably one of the best stand positions in the hall on the Enterprise Ireland stand, supported by state forester Coillte.

ECC Timber Products, Murray Timber Group, Glennon Brothers and Grainger Sawmills will be hoping to increase their business in the UK.

“We want to support our customer sawmills,” said Coillte’s Richard Lowe. “It’s a good time now to create an awareness of our brand.”

The German government’s stand will also feature some timber companies, including sawmiller Holz Schmidt, which produces KVH construction timber, glulam and garden products. Hess-Wohnwerk will spread the message of its glulam expertise – it has worked with architects Renzo Piano and David Adjaye in the past.

Drüsedau & Müller GmbH is to display its range of wood flooring, while Pazen GmbH will show wood and timber/aluminium windows. Completing the list is wood frame construction specialist Norbert Schwarz Bedachungen.

By the off-site zone, German sawmiller Ante-Holz, which manufactures sawn timber, KVH finger-jointed structural timber and glulam, is expected once more to have one of the most eye-catching displays.

From Belgium is sawmiller Barthel Pauls Söhne AG, which produces sawn construction timber, scaffold boards and wood for laminated lumber. And American Softwoods will be making the case for US timber products.