Some Reflections on London Ecobuild

31.05.13 12:17 PM By Andrew Wallace

The Ecobuild event in London, United Kingdom is the world’s largest Green Building event and this year it was held from 5-7 March at the ExCeL exhibition and conference centre at the heart of the new Green Enterprise District in London’s Docklands.

ExCeL is also the venue that has hosted very popular events such as Grand Designs Live, World Travel Market, The London International Boat Show and The London International Wine Fair.

It was also one of the venues for the London 2012 Olympics hosting seven out of twenty four Olympic events – boxing, fencing, judo, taekwondo, weightlifting, wrestling and table tennis – and six Paralympic events.

London is a cosmopolitan city, a cultural melting pot and is the natural meeting point for the world’s business networks and is a leading city in the world’s economy and a centre of international trade and finance. It is the natural place to host the world’s largest green building event!

Ecobuild provides a platform for businesses representing the entire spectrum of sustainable construction products.

From building structures and micro-renewables to insulation materials and water management systems, they’re all at Ecobuild.  As well as attracting the big industry names, Ecobuild also provides a platform for small and specialised organisations, with entry-level packages for start-ups and first-time exhibitors.
The event in the UK signified SHERA's entrance to such exhibitions in Europe. After hectic preparation and logistics getting everything prepared and sent from Thailand in time, SHERA successfully presented their booth at stand S1059 in the ‘Wood Gallery’, near the River Thames entrances.  

Who Exhibited?

Ecobuild provides a platform for businesses representing the entire spectrum of sustainable construction products.

The event hosted the world’s leading green, manufacturing, distribution and technical companies such as James Hardie, Lafarge, Malaysian Timber Council, Malaysian Timber Industry Board, Markey Eternit and many more.

From building structures to insulation materials and water management systems, they were all at Ecobuild.  As well as attracting the big industry names, Ecobuild also provides a platform for small and specialised organisations, with entry-level packages for start-ups and first-time exhibitors.

Visitor Profiles

Many of SHERA’s European partners paid personal visits to the booth, namely those from Germany (Xcon), Holland (Fetim) and Cyprus (Ikodomia).

In addition, we were happy to receive visits from other interested parties SHERA have been in communications with from the European region, covering a range of specialties such as traders, architects as well as scientists and fire test specialists.

The Build Up

Pre event activities included activities to target a European audience who communicate in English and in a very different way in terms of content and style compared to audiences in Asia.

For example, English and German language microsites, email marketing campaigns, social page creation in English – Facebook, Twitter etc, exhibitor page on Ecobuild website, partner website, and localisation of marketing and technical documentation to cater for European tastes. As well as the booth designs and all the logistics!

SHERA - Truly International

In addition to the above ‘soft’ activities, in the months leading up to the event, SHERA worked closely with our partners in Germany, Xcon, to get SHERA boards and SHERA ply certified to German fire standards, which involved fire testing with an accredited testing institute as well as formal approval from GIBt, the German institute in charge of approvals of building products to be used in the German marketplace.

SHERA board and SHERA ply were both approved to the following standards by GIBt in Germany:

Surface spread of flame:     PASS
Fire propagation index:     I = 0.1
Surface spread of flame:     Class 1
Reaction to fire classification:   A2-s1, d0

As Germany is just one country of many in the European Union, which all use a centralised list of accredited testing and approval institutes, it also means that the above certifications can be used at other countries in the European Union too, further opening the door for SHERA to enter the market.

The layout of the exhibition hall was split into various sections: wood, ceramics, brick, lighting, sustainable, organic and others. Stand designs varied greatly, some small and inconspicuous, huge and elaborate.

The event atmosphere was buzzing from day one. As soon as the doors opened in the morning of the first day, crowds of people came in from the large entrance doors and filtered through to each of the venue areas. We found day 2 to be the busiest and SHERA received a steady stream of visitors throughout.


The design of the booth was simple yet beautiful, and the booth was designed to showcase SHERA’s classic products and those which were most suitable for the European region, both in terms of climate, European architectural and cultural tastes as well as building requirements and regulations.

The highest percentage of visitors to the booth by far were Architects & Interior Designers, who showed a lot of interest in SHERA ply, the engineered wood panel MDF/plywood replacement from SHERA.

However, there were also a good percentage of traders as well as those interested in the use of SHERA products in their projects in Europe, from Latvia to Portugal to Belgium. As Europe has a very different climate to that in Asia, people were not so interested in insect resistance but instead paid a lot of attention to the fire resistant and water resistant properties of SHERA products.

SHERA displayed the following products at our booth:

•   SHERA plank/splendid plank - fibre cement cladding
•   SHERA d?cor wood & SHERA strip
•   SHERA board - fibre cement building boards
•   SHERA ply - fibre cement, interior grade, engineered wood panel
•   SHERA floor plank - fibre cement floor planks
•   SHERA door - fibre cement door skins, honeycomb frames and fire doors

The event was a great success and SHERA met some great people during the week.

The Ecobuild itself was extremely well organised and efficient and as it is now worldwide, SHERA are now looking at the possibilities to attend in a variety of capacities at Ecobuild China, Ecobuild India, and Ecobuild Malaysia!

In conclusion, SHERA found the event a tremendous learning experience and it helped grow our knowledge of the European marketplace and was a great venue for SHERA to introduce their products to a new territory. SHERA received some great feedback on their products as well interest and advice from visitors, many of whom expressed interest in SHERA ply due to the water and fire resistant properties and potential for substituting ply and MDF, which are products that are very well entrenched in the European market.

Andrew Wallace