The Top Virtual Construction Events and Tradeshows You Should Be Attending
During these unprecedented times, we find ourselves adapting to all kinds of new environments and lifestyles. Since COVID-19 hit, we’ve also seen many changes in how businesses operate and events are taking place. There is one thing that everyone is doing to keep their projects and operations running — going virtual.
More construction events and tradeshows are going digital than ever. It’s an incredible opportunity to enjoy the same events that you would have attended in person, all while from the comfort and safety of your home. For construction professionals, attending these virtual events gives you the chance to remain engaged in the industry, advance your skill and knowledge, and learn about up and coming technology.
Below we have a list of the top virtual construction conferences and events for you to look forward to in 2020. We’ve also included some upcoming in-person construction events for 2021.
Top 2020-2021 Construction Conferences and Events
Autodesk University (November 17-20, 2020)
At AU 2020, you’ll learn alongside your peers in architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and media and entertainment. AU 2020 is a global digital event that brings together innovators from around the world—designers, engineers, builders, creators—to explore new ways of imagining, creating, and collaborating. Discover emerging technologies and trends to help you achieve your new possible. There is no cost to attend AU 2020, but registration is required to participate. AU 2020 begins November 17 with our Americas broadcast and continues around the globe. If you’re in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, or European time zones, join beginning November 18.
And did we mention, AU is free this year?
Construct Virtual Experience (October 7-9, 2020)
Described as “the event for construction professionals,” the 2020 edition of Construct takes place from October 7- 9 virtually, with education slated to take place all three days of the event. It’s annually attended by architects and designers, engineers, estimators, consultants, contractors, and project managers. During the three-day educational program and two-day expo, industry leaders converge with a common goal of educating and inspiring for the betterment of the industry.Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned construction veteran, there’s something for everyone at Construct.
SMACNA The Edge Conference: A Virtual Education Forum (October 13-15, 2020)
The 2020 event will take place virtually, and feature a mix of educational sessions with world-class speakers and a comprehensive exhibition show floor. All attendees will have unlimited online access to the full lineup of educational sessions through January 15, 2021.
ENR FutureTech (October 13-16, 2020)
Another annual event hosted by ENR magazine, FutureTech explores the future technologies coming to a construction site near you. An ideal show for everyone in architecture, construction and engineering, the event is known as the industry’s leading technology construction event. This virtual event will contain a series of thought-provoking and interactive sessions and what’s coming next for the future of the industry.
Lean Construction Institute Congress: Virtual Congress (October 19-23, 2020)
“Lean” is a common buzzword that’s getting thrown around a lot in the construction industry these days, but do you really know what it means to transform a jobsite to a lean built environment? That’s the goal of the Lean Construction Institute, or LCI, Congress. Join more than 1,600 of your peers virtually for the premier Lean event of the year! Developed for the design and construction industry, LCI’s 22nd Annual Congress in 2020 will offer continuous education credits, cutting-edge Lean methods and countless networking opportunities — all digitally.
Design-Build Conference & Expo Virtual Conference (October 28-30, 2020)
Design-Build Conference & Expo, where the who’s who in the design-build world will come to network and learn. Hosted annually by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). There will be seven tracks of education, federal sector pre-conference sessions, a virtual Technology Pavilion, access to the best design-build exhibitors in the nation and creative networking opportunities to bring our annual Conference & Expo directly to you.
Advancing Preconstruction & Estimating (November, 3-6 2020)
This is an all-encompassing virtual precon event for general contractors, trades, clients, and design firms. The event will cover design, estimating, forecasting and bidding, data and technology, subcontractor dedicated sessions, and project set up. The 2020 edition will mark the fifth year of the show, and new additions will include case studies from all sizes of firms, comprehensive networking sessions based by region, step-by-step project details, and more.
Construct Canada Virtual (November 30-December 4)
The virtual event experience offers everything you have come to rely on from the face-to-face event, plus innovative features not possible from the in-person show. Attend interactive panel discussions, hear from industry thought leaders, discover leading product innovations, connect with old friends and much more. While the delivery has changed, the quality is the same!
World of Concrete (January 19-22, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada)
Attended annually by concrete and masonry professionals across the globe, World of Concrete is the top event for staying on top of all the trends, technologies and equipment in the construction trade. The event annually attracts more than 60,000 professionals and features a New Product Zone, demonstration areas, a packed exhibition floor and networking opportunities. If you’re serious about concrete and masonry, World of Concrete should be on your shortlist of events to attend in 2020.
NAHB International Builders Show, or IBS (February 9-11, 2021; Orlando, Florida)
Known as the homebuilder’s premier industry event, IBS is an ideal stop for any builder involved in commercial construction. It mixes industry experts with builders with product vendors to create an immersive, engaging experience that’s certain to deliver many key takeaways for those who attend. More than 130 education sessions are planned, more than 1,400 exhibitors are expected and there are demonstrations and networking events to attend as well.
Construction Institute Summit (February 25-27, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri)
Participate in wide-ranging discussions with industry experts and innovators on finding real solutions to top problems in the construction industry.Witness an overview of a high-performance project, firsthand from the project team’s perspective, and participate in an insider tour. Meet and mingle with industry peers from around the country and learn how they are better managing risks and increasing project efficiency. Earn PDHs via technical sessions, technical tours, and keynote presentations. Experience a vibrant cultural scene with iconic landmarks and more, offered by St. Louis, Missouri.
World of Modular (March 6-9, 2021; San Diego, California)
Hosted annually by the Modular Building Institute, World of Modular returns to Orlando, Florida, in March. It’s the definitive event to learn about opportunities where buildings—or parts of a building—can be constructed off-site and transported to the jobsite for more affordable and more streamlined construction. Stay tuned, as the event venue is still to be determined for this event.
ABC Convention (March 9-11, 2021; Grapevine, Texas)
The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) next convention is coming to Music City. The conference will feature case studies of how ABC members are building Nashville’s downtown. Stay tuned for details on this event, as planning is underway.
AGC National Convention (March 29-April 1, 2021; Orlando, Florida)
The Associated General Contractors of America, or AGC, have held this construction conference for more than 100 years—and it’s still going strong today. Coming to the Bellagio next March, the AGC National Convention is expected to attract more than 2,500 attendees throughout the three-day conference. Its highlights include a mix of breakout sessions, exhibitors showcasing the latest products to the AEC market, networking, entertainment and more.
NASCC: The Steel Conference (April 14-16, 2021; Louisville, Kentucky)
Hosted annually by the American Institute of Steel, The Steel Conference comes to Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center in 2020. Designed to connect professionals in the steel industry, more than 140 sessions drop during the event, including topics such as structural stability, connected design and more. More than 5,000 industry professionals attend this annual event.
New York Build (May 11-12, 2021; New York, New York)
New York’s largest construction and design show returns to the Javits Center in May 2021. The event is free to attend and features more 200 leading industry speakers, an expansive show floor, industry-approved workshops and more. If you’re in or around New York next March, make sure this show is on your list. Being that it’s free, you don’t have anything to lose.
AIA Conference on Architecture 2021 (June 16-19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
What’s new and now in architecture? Find out at AIA Conference on Architecture, coming to Philadelphia, 2021. Stay tuned for more updates and details as the architecture event draws nearer.
CMAA National Conference & Trade Show (September 12-14, 2021,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Ideal for construction management and project management professionals, the 2021 event is coming to Philadelphia. Stay tuned for the agenda and registration information in the coming months.
The Big 5 (September 12-15, 2021; Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE))
Dubai has one of the biggest construction markets in the world. It makes sense that the Big 5 acts as a global hub for the construction industry. The top construction event is also known as the International Building & Construction Show and takes place in the Dubai World Trade Centre. If you’re in the region or can justify the expense to visit, be prepared to be inspired by some of the biggest projects in the Middle East. Featuring 68,000+ attendees, this event is an international construction show you surely won’t forget.
London Build (November 17-18, 2021; Olympia, London)
For those in Europe, there is a range of excellent construction conferences available. London Build is the leading and largest construction and built environment show for London. With 500+ speakers, 350+ exhibitors and over 25,000 attendees, this event is a must-attend for contractors in EMEA. The event even features a well-known Women in Construction networking event.
CONEXPO-CON/AGG (March 14-18, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada)
Save the date for CONEXPO 2023! The biggest construction tradeshow, one thing notable about the triennial CONEXPO-CON/AGG show is that it happens almost all outdoors. That means the likes of the heavy-duty equipment that you see on jobsites are a common staple at this event. With nearly 3,000 exhibitors across about 2.5 million square feet of space, CONEXPO-CON/AGG is by far the biggest construction show exhibitor-wise that the industry has to offer.
How to Make the Case to Your Employer to Attend Construction Tradeshows and Events
As an employee at small and large construction firms alike, you might encounter roadblocks when it comes to convincing your boss or upper management on why you should attend construction events in 2020 or 2021. Here are a few tips that will help you to build a solid case for you attending the event(s) of your choosing — whether that’s virtual or in-person in the future.
Choose the Right Event
This might seem obvious, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Make sure you understand the full scope of the event that you wish to attend. For instance, if it’s a construction event aimed at C-level executives, as a superintendent or project manager, there might be other events to spend your time.
Create a Sample Agenda
Sometimes just a note or email with a link isn’t enough to showcase the value of the event. Be explicit, but brief (after all we all are busy!), on what exactly you want to attend at a particular construction tradeshow or event, and why it’s important to your current job role or career path.
Outline the Reasons for Attending
In addition to a sample schedule or agenda, also make the case back to the specific outcomes you hope to achieve by attending the construction conference. This could be learning something new about a particular technology you’re trying to implement, seeing a specific expert on a delivery method you’re beginning to roll out or nurturing a very niche trade skill you’re hoping to bring to your company.
Crunch the Numbers
Ultimately, many employees get turned down for events because of the cost impact. The good thing about the vast majority of virtual construction events is that they are free (like AU 2020) or at a very reasonable price point.
But if you are looking to make the case for an in-person construction event in the future, it’s essential for you to first estimate all the costs you would incur by attending the event. This should include the price of the event pass you want (note: many construction tradeshows have several levels of tickets), travel costs (i.e., plane rides, gas, rental cars, taxis), meal costs (do your best to estimate this unless you have a set per diem) and hotels prices if overnight stays are required.
For both virtual and in-person events, you should also try to monetize the return on investment your company would get if you attended the event. Examples include, “We would save X hours a week if we were able to adopt this process,” or “We would save $X/year if we were to adopt this technology successfully.”
Send a Formal Email
Sending employees to an industry event is a significant investment decision for most construction companies. While it is usually worth the money, they may have to mull over the details. You should formalize your proposal in an email containing your sample agenda, reasons for attending and cost analysis.
Construction Events Are More Important Than Ever
As the world deals with COVID-19, we all look for a little bit of normalcy in our lives. This is something that is a priority for every business, including those in the construction industry. However, the construction projects have not come to a complete stop. The industry is striving to find new ways to stay productive and mitigate delays in production, while still social distancing and staying healthy.
By embracing virtual opportunities as much as possible, the construction industry too can continue to innovate while staying productive. If continuous improvement is one of your company’s long-term goals, there’s no better way to do it than to encourage your employees to take time to attend upcoming virtual events. It’s an investment that’s likely to pay off big time in your company’s future.
What construction events do you plan to attend in the next year?