The Big 5

In-person again

VIPs tour a previous edition of the premier construction showcase.

What is claimed to be the only live in-person event connecting the global construction industry in 2021 is set to open its doors this month in Dubai, UAE.

The Big 5, which was rescheduled from November 23-26, 2020 to September 12-15, 2021, is gearing up to provide a 360-degree platform for the construction industry with a total of 10 events under one roof at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). 

Now in its 42nd edition, The Big 5 along with its specialised events is expected to feature more than 1,000 exhibitors from 45 countries. It will include 20 country pavilions to enable sector players to meet new suppliers, discover innovative products and learn from industry experts at its 70 free-to-attend CPD-certified workshops.

“This year, we look forward to bringing the full construction community together again to support economic growth and recovery through face-to-face business networking, live product showcases, and knowledge sharing experiences under one roof,” says Josine Heijmans, Vice President – Construction, dmg events, the organiser of the show.

The event will include conferences, practical seminars and CPD-certified workshops.

The event will include conferences, practical seminars and CPD-certified workshops.

Supporting the infrastructure and construction communities across the region, The Big 5 aims to build resiliency, boost the industry’s recovery efforts, and help plan for the post Covid-19 era, connecting businesses and professionals in a safe and convenient way. The event provides a safe and secure environment to restart business, following the dmg “All Secure” protocol and in collaboration with the DWTC and local health authorities, according to the organiser.

Since its first edition in 1979, The Big 5 has brought together the global construction community to explore opportunities in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The leading event has launched hundreds of thousands of products and facilitated partnerships, advanced knowledge and industry best practices, while serving as the gateway for international companies to access these regions, says dmg events.

The event will include high-level summits, practical seminars, CPD-certified workshops, and The Big 5 Impact Awards to foster collaboration, support best practices, and provide effective solutions to today’s industry challenges.

A new feature this year is The Big 5 Online, which aims to enhance the in-person experience at The Big 5 and to maximise stakeholder ROI (return on investment). The online platform, which went live on August 22, can be accessed till November 17 this year, offering a space for exhibitors and visitors to plan, promote, and follow up with one another in their own time and from anywhere.

New features being introduced at the in-person event this year include Digital Construction World and Intelligent Buildings product sector.

“As technology is shaping the future of construction, The Big 5 responds by putting the spotlight on technology this year with a new dedicated space on the show floor – Digital Construction World – designed to facilitate networking among technology providers and the right buyers,” says Heijmans.

The Intelligent Buildings product sector, on the other hand, will be a new dedicated area that will feature the most advanced smart building management solutions that are critical for creating user-centric and energy-efficient buildings with optimal performance.

Among other highlights, the “Start-up City”, now in its third year, offers an innovation platform where the startup ecosystem and the construction industry come together, and where Contech and Proptech startups get the opportunity to engage with decision makers who are looking for innovative ideas and solutions, says the organiser.



The Big 5 is also launching the exclusive Global Construction Leaders’ Summit at Dubai World Trade Centre, where construction leaders and senior government representatives gather to discuss support for future industry growth, collaboration and partnerships, the workforce of the future, the impact of digitalisation, inspiring efficiency, and advancing sustainable development.

Another key summit that will take place during the event is the Future of Facades Summit, a gathering of leaders from the facades industry. The high-level programme addresses ground-breaking themes and the latest innovations.

The third edition of the FutureTech Construction Summit will run on November 27, with a brand new agenda focused on trending topics: Artificial Intelligence, Digital Asset Management and Digital Twins, Smart Home, Smart Buildings and IoT, BIM, and 3D printing, VR, AR and drones.



Meanwhile, to celebrate excellence in the construction sector, dmg events is launching The Big 5 Construction Impact Awards on September 12 (see below).

The Big 5 will also recognise the role of women in the construction sector through the Women in Construction Forum and Awards.

“On September 15, The Big 5 will shed light on diversity and inclusion policies and best practices in the workplace, through a dedicated forum and awards aimed at empowering women in the male-dominated construction sector. The event returns for a third year, after a successful launch in 2018,”she adds.

A recent study by McKinsey highlights that organisations in the top-quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21 per cent more likely to outperform on profitability and 27 per cent more likely to have superior value creation.

Heijmans adds: “As we pursue our mission to support and move the building industry forward, we can’t but recognise that the implementation of proper diversity and inclusion policies in organisations are key to business success. Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) policies in organisations not only boost business but brings in different insights and experiences to combat the several major challenges that we face each day.

“To that end, we are excited to feature The Women in Construction Forum & Awards once again at The Big 5, with the objective of promoting diversity and inclusion policies that increase productivity in construction businesses and remove obstacles in the career path of women in the industry.”


The Big 5 Talks

The Big 5 will bring back its popular CPD-certified and complimentary workshops presented by leading industry experts. These will cover the full construction cycle and run across dedicated theatres.  These include the new Facilities Management Talks and Market Outlook Talks; as well as Architecture & Design; Concrete, HVAC R, Offsite & Modular Construction, Project Management, Solar, Technology, and Urban Design & Landscape Talks.