The inaugural Timber Expo “delivered”, according to Rupert Scott, marketing manager of one of the event’s principal backers TRADA Technology.

“Creating a show is difficult – you have to make the right judgements on the ingredients, then deliver on them,” he said. “But, while we may have areas to address and improve on for 2012, overall we judged right and delivered right.”

The organisers knew they were unlikely to get Timber Expo to where they ultimately want it to be in year one.

“We’ve got to get there in stages, but we still had to achieve critical mass this year to carry the show forward, and we’ve achieved that,” said Mr Scott. “It stands us in good stead with companies who wanted to wait and see what we could deliver this year before making a commitment. They’re one reason why next year’s show always had the provision to be bigger.”

Besides attracting 4,000 visitors and 120-plus exhibitors, Timber Expo also fulfilled its aim of being an event for informing and educating the market about timber and wood products, he said.

“Having shiny new products on stands is important, of course, but a vital component of a successful show, particularly for specifiers, is providing the technical input and information on products’ performance and how they address market needs and issues,” said Mr Scott.

He added that exhibitors’ efforts on this score were backed by the two-day programme of seminars and presentations in the three ‘theatres’ around the show, which attracted “hundreds of delegates”.

Awards ceremony

Transferring the Wood Awards ceremony from its traditional London venue to Timber Expo, where it was held at lunch-time on the opening day, also paid off.

“We had 200 people at the ceremony, double what has been achieved in recent years,” said Mr Scott. “And with nearly double the number of entries this year, the whole event was a great success.”

He acknowledged that attendance at TRADA’s In Touch with Timber conference, also held in conjunction with the show, was “something of a disappointment”. The event is targeted particularly at engineers, architects and other specifiers and previously has also been held in London.

“Maybe, given the audience, the move to Coventry did impact on attendance, as perhaps did the fact that this time the conference was divided into four half-day sessions,” he said. “But we’re already addressing how to remedy this.”

Overall, TRADA Technology says the show fulfilled its aim of “bringing the whole timber and construction supply chain together and oiling its cogs”.

“It gives the industry an event to build on. In fact, we’ve already started the process for next year, when we’ll have 50% more space,” said Mr Scott. “We want the whole industry to engage with us to develop the show for the future. We’ll talk to anybody with ideas and energy.”