Officially inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance and Industry of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on November 26, The Big 5 2018 brought the future of construction to the Dubai World Trade Centre. The 39th edition of the largest construction event in the Middle East was marked by the return to The Big 5 platform of the popular Middle East Concrete (MEC) and The Big 5 Heavy exhibitions, as well as by the launch of two brand new shows alongside the second edition of The Big 5 Solar: HVAC R Expo, dedicated to the HVAC R industry, and the Urban Design & Landscaping Expo (UDLE), the region’s only event dedicated to landscaping, infrastructure and urban development. In total, over 2,500 global exhibiting companies and more than 30 official country pavilions displayed thousands of innovative products this year at the mega construction event. The broad international participation demonstrated a growing interest in the expanding GCC market, where over 23,000 projects are currently under construction and worth more than USD 2.3 trillion, according to The Big 5’s Intelligence Partner, BNC Network. High-profile conferences took place throughout the four show days, including The Big 5’s FutureTech Construction Summit featuring speakers from Virgin Hyperloop One and Microsoft among others, and The Big 5 Solar’s Global Solar Leaders’ Summit under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy & Industry. Moreover, at The Big 5 Heavy, The Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai (RTA) and the British Standards Institution (BSI) awarded BIM standard certification to major clients at the RTA Innovation in BIM Summit, while a “How To Do Business Seminar” organised in partnership with Dubai South Business Park provided business intelligence to both exhibitors and visitors at the Big 5. The event also saw the successful introduction of the first Women in Construction Seminar & Awards in association with Mott MacDonald, which addressed the challenges that women face in terms of equal opportunities in the sector. The education agenda was further complemented by over 100 CPD-certified and free to attend workshops, including The Big 5’s Design Talks, Architecture Talks, Project Management Talks, and BIM Talks, the HVACR Talks, The Big 5 Solar Talks, the Commercial and Autonomous Vehicles Workshops, the Geotechnical & Engineering Conference, the Tunneling in Construction Workshop and the Concrete Essentials Seminar Series. Additionally, the brand new Big 5’s Live innovation Zone and Start-Up City hosted the most promising building solutions and 14 start-ups from around the world to promote innovation and a technological push in today’s construction industry. Here, WakeCap, the IoT-based enterprise solution aimed at improving safety and productivity at the construction site, was awarded a prize worth USD 25,000 by a panel of experts through The Big 5’s Start-up City Pitch Competition on November 28. The Big 5 welcomed close to 60,000 participants in 2018. The next edition of the event will return to celebrate its 40th anniversary from 25 to 28 November 2019, to at the Dubai World Trade Centre. To know more, visit www.thebig5.ae.