Finding a space for the GCC

The dust has barely settled since Cityscape and already we're talking about the next major event, the Big 5.

COMMENT, Projects

I could dedicate space for some post-event analysis of what was good and what wasn't so good about Cityscape, in the same way the pundits have been debating the condition of Jonny Wilkinson's left foot since last weekend, but fortunately you'll be spared such insight. So we'll stick to just one gripe, and one that's likely to be raised among visitors and exhibitors to the Big 5: the shortage of car parking spaces at Dubai's exhibition centre.

The tales of parking trauma regaled by those who attended Cityscape led me to wonder why nobody has come up with the concept of Car Park City. It could be billed as 'luxurious', offering perks such as a five-star valet service, state-of-the-art car cleaning and maybe a little shoulder massage on the way out.

Parking issues aside, the Big 5 will once again provide a great platform for showcasing the latest building products from around the world.

A strong contingent from the likes of Germany, the UK, Italy and Turkey will again be present.

As will the pavillion from China - who will probably take another knocking from every other country for allegedly fuelling the counterfeit market.

It's good to see that the growing demand for plant and machinery will also be catered for.

Yet one area that currently has a minimal presence, but whose growth could be one to look out for, is the 'Made in the GCC' line of products.

Despite a lack of raw materials, latest figures suggest that the industrial manufacturing sector in the region is growing at an annual rate of 22%.

In the UAE, around $25 billion is being invested in manufacturing, while Qatar is spending $15 billion.

Thanks to this, manufacturers of building materials and machinery are beginning to emerge.

One local building product manufacturer said this week that they were just waiting for a 'niche' to arise before entering the construction market. It looks as if that time has finally come, and the Big 5 organisers may need to start planning space for the GCC contingent.

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