World of Paving

A blog to follow the development of the inaugural World of Paving trade show that will take place at Coventry's Ricoh Arena in February 2010

Monday 27 April 2009

What a venue!

Last Thursday morning, while I was on my way to a meeting for the modern apprenticeship program that's being developed for the hard-landscaping trade, I thought I'd have a nosey at that Ricoh Arena that's going to be the venue for the show next February.

I was supposed to be heading for Stoneleigh Park, which is on the other side of Coventry, but it was such a lovely morning, and I was full of the joys of spring due to becoming a grandfather for the first time that very morning, so I decided to set out a bit earlier than normal and allow enough time to complete a cross-town journey that would get me to the meeting in plenty of time.

I was really surprised at just how easy it is to get to the Ricoh Arena. It is, with no hint of exaggeration, just 2 minutes from the M6 motorway at Junction 3, and you really can't miss it.

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Admittedly it was 9:15am when I was there, so you wouldn't really expect it to be busy, but there are two ginormous car parks with security guards right outside the venue. I assume it's free parking as no-one asked me for any money, which is a great bonus if you're one of those unlucky enough to have to pay a king's ransom to park a bus-ride away from the building as is the case at certain other venues.

A good venue is half the battle for a successful event and I think the show organisers might just have worked a blinder here. Incredibly easy to get to; a doddle to park; and it looks damned impressive.

Roll on next February!

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Talking shop

The organisers are keen to promote the idea of holding 'Toolbox Talks' or short seminars on subjects that would be of interest to contractors. At other trade events, seminars and workshops are extremely popular with the suit-wearing classes, and there's no reason why they shouldn't appeal to those of us that get our hands dirty.

To get some idea of what might appeal, they've been following threads in The Brew Cabin (and other places) to see just what topics stimulate discussion. To date, they've identified a few subjects and have provided me with a 'long list'. They expect the list to grow over the next few months and then, as we draw closer to the event itself, to trim it down to a realistic shortlist before finalising a schedule and arranging suitable speakers/presenters to host each topic.

So far, they have:

  • Sealants for paving: the what, why and when
  • Using recycled materials: are they worth it?
  • Clay Pavers: don't be scared!
  • Drainage solutions and fall requirements for various surfaces
  • Sub-bases: materials, thicknesses and compaction
  • The Front Garden comedy legislation: has it been effective?

They are exceptionally open to suggestions for other topics, so if you have any ideas, let me know and I'll pass them on.

Saturday 4 April 2009

D'yer wanna be in my gang?

One of the ideas being discussed behind the scenes and in a number of other forums is the possibility and potential for creating a professional association for paving contractors. While many of the better contractors would welcome such an organisation to promote their values and speak for the whole installation industry, it's going to take a deal of organising to get block layers, flaggers, concreters, blacktoppers, streetmasons and general landscapers, to commit to support such an organisation.

I like the idea of using the event to initiate a discussion on the feasibility of such an organisation. Perhaps we can arrange an hour or so during the event to hold an open discussion forum to gauge support and to get a real sense of what contractors want. Those of us that post to message boards are a very small and select part of the wider trade. We need to overcome the traditional apathy amongst contractors and get those that don't post messages to the Brew Cabin and elsewhere, or don't use t'internet to further their business, to air their views in a free-for-all talking shop. Only then will we have a better idea of just what level of support there is for such a group.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Good response so far...

To date, the event organisers tell they’ve had a really positive response to the recent launch.

“We’ve already had some firm bookings and a good level of enquiries about the event from paving companies, equipment suppliers and associated products”, says Event Sales Manager, Paul Harwood.

Given that it’s not the best time in the economic cycle to launch a new trade event, and that our trade is suffering quite badly, it’s refreshing to hear that the event is attracting interest and is generally well-received. Paul reckons that he has a number of companies considering stand options and various positions within the hall itself, and seems confident that the recent improvement in the weather and the coming of Spring will see a steady increase in the number of confirmed bookings.