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Buildex Vancouver to focus on disruptive force of technology

Warren Frey
Buildex Vancouver to focus on disruptive force of technology

Vancouver’s biggest construction and design conference is back with some new twists.

From Feb. 14 to 15, the Vancouver Convention Centre will host Buildex Vancouver, a trade show and professional development event for the city’s construction, renovation, property management, interior design and architecture industries.

The focus of this year’s conference is the disruptive force of technology on the construction industry, along with how people interact with built forms, said Informa content and strategy manager Nicole Etherington.

“This year technology is definitely a major theme and how it impacts how we design, build and manage buildings,” Etherington said.

One of the key features this year, she added, is a series of talks entitled Views From the Edge, focused on disruptive new forces changing the construction industry.

“We have five different speakers talking about building with wood, robotics, reshaping the relationship between architecture and society, blockchain and smart contracts and regenerative housing,” Etherington said. “It should be a really good two hours.”

The talks, which take place from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 14, are based on the 15 to 20-minute lecture format popularized by the TED conference. The moderator for the sessions will be Tony Osborn of Tony Osborn Architecture + Design.

Buildex will also feature a Pechakucha track for the first time, Etherington said, focused on iconic wood designs. The Pechakucha presentations, consisting of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each over approximately six minutes, will feature talks on the T3 Minneapolis office building, the Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre in Surrey, B.C. and the Thompson Rivers University addition to its law school.

“Pechakucha is a format that’s new for our Vancouver conference and it’s built around the human environment, health and wellness at the urban scale and at building level,” Etherington said.

On the trade show floor Buildex is working with Vancouver-based World of Walas, a Vancouver-based company with ties to the Kingdom of the Netherlands to explore connections between construction across Europe and on Canada’s West Coast via a European Innovations pavilion.

“We’ll be exploring smart city initiatives across Europe, looking at the economics of sustainability and examining if virtual reality can help build cities,” she said.

Other topics at the pavilion will include a look at automation in buildings and an examination of Vancouver as a smart and sustainable city.

Etherington also pointed there will be a deep dive into the changing B.C. Building Code.

“Because this is a technical conference, any building code changes are a highlight,” she said, adding that Thomas Mueller from the Canada Green Building Council — British Columbia will also speak to the organization’s Zero Carbon Building Standard.

To create a new experience for conference attendees, Etherington said, Informa draws from a wide pool of industry expertise.

“We get a broad spectrum of the industry in attendance, so we work with industry advisers. Usually we have three keynotes, and this year we have six keynotes. We really made an effort to go out to the industry and find thought leaders in their field,” Etherington said.

“It’s a continuous process for us and we’re looking at what other trade shows are doing.”

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