Editor, IFSEC Global

January 14, 2020

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Glass and Glazing Federation: Why visit FIREX?

In the build up to this year’s show, the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) talks through its experiences of exhibiting at FIREX International 2019, and why anyone involved in the fire safety sector should come along to FIREX 2020 this September.

Said to be the largest trade federation representing the interests of the glazing sector in the UK, the GGF offers technical support for building regulation compliance, specification assistance, and new developments in the industry. It also produces a glazing manual containing advice on best practice for installers and specifiers of glazing products.

With this being the case, the Federation’s principle aims were not commercial at the show, but simply to promote fire-resistant glazing as a vital element of a building’s fire strategy, as well as best practice methods of installing it. As the UK’s largest hub for the fire safety sector, FIREX International is the perfect place for this – in 2019 the show welcomed thousands of professionals from across 73 countries, including visitors from construction, manufacturing, government and more.

 

What could visitors expect to see from the Glass and Glazing Federation at last year’s show?

FIREX2019-20Adrian Blaydon, Technical Officer: Unlike most companies exhibiting at FIREX 2019, the objective of the GGF was not commercial in nature. We weren’t selling anything. I think that was quite attractive to many visitors nervous of getting the ‘hard sell’. The only thing we are promoting is fire-resistant glazing as a vital element of a building’s fire strategy, and the best practice with regards to specifying and installing it.

The Fire-Resistant Glazing Group (FRGG) is one of the many technical groups within the Federation, and consists of the major fire-resistant glass manufacturers, fabricators, installers, testing and certification bodies, and independent consultants, all of which give their time free of charge to attend meetings and offer on-stand support at FIREX. The only message we are intent on delivering is that fire-resistant glazing is extremely effective in the containment of fire, but it must be specified and installed correctly to ensure performance.

 

How did you engage with visitors?

Over the course of our presence at both FIREX 2018 and FIREX 2019 we successfully engaged with just short of 200 stand visitors. In addition to this, our speaking slots during each show gave us the opportunity to explain the benefits of fire-resistant glazing as part of the strategy to contain fire and ensure the safe evacuation of its occupants; this led to some very interesting post-presentation discussions and a boost to stand visitors.

Engagements included suppliers of fire safety products, but the predominant sector attracted to our stand was those seeking an update on legislative changes that have been introduced by government, as well as the changes which we anticipate in the months and years to come.

 

What do you feel was most valuable for engagement?

This is a difficult question to answer. It was very pleasing to see that our seminar: ‘The Importance of Fire-Resistant Glazing’ was so well attended, and stimulated both interest and good on-stand debate.

It is also extremely encouraging to see so many individuals and companies – both exhibitors and visitors – believing that the events post-Grenfell present a massive opportunity in the way buildings are built and regulated, leading to – in the words of Dame Judith Hackitt – a safer future. Having said that, it would be remiss of me not to mention the FRGG members who gave their time free of charge to help us spread the message of best practice in fire-resistant glazing.

 

For others exhibiting, how did you promote your involvement pre-show? Any why was this important?

The GGF has a variety of communication media with which we update our members and the industry in general about our activities. Our quarterly magazine Glassi – circulated to members, architects and a variety of interested parties – had an extensive article covering our presence at the exhibition.

In addition, we have a regular e-mail newsletter circulated to our members – ‘Members First’ – which contained a range of articles and soundbites inviting people along to meet us, as well as taking a look at the other stands within the exhibition.

As FIREX 2019 approached, we intensified our communications via the use of twitter and website articles to ensure that we demonstrated our commitment to fire safety, as well as our desire to ‘bang the drum’ for those companies who have a passion for the competent specification, fabrication and installation of fire-resistant with accurate evidence of performance.

Any exhibitor present at FIREX doesn’t just want engagement: they want engagement with the right people. I do not believe there is another UK exhibition which presents more of an opportunity than this.

 

And what’s going on for the GGF in 2020?

We will be consistently communicating developments within the glazing sector to our members, and this I suspect will involve continued engagement with government to advise about specific changes in legislation which may have an impact on the glazing industry, as well as disseminating those changes to our members.

It is also very likely that 2020 will see a further revision of our ADB referenced document: ‘A Guide to Best Practice in the Specification and Use of Fire-Resistant Glazing Systems’. We are waiting for the regulatory system to stabilise before this is issued – that could take a while!

 

Exhibiting at FIREX

FIREX 2020 will be taking place between 8-10 September at the London ExCeL this year. Co-located with IFSEC International, Counter Terror Expo, Intelligent Building Show, Facilities Show, Safety & Health Expo and Workplace Wellbeing Show, the three-day free-to-attend exhibitions and conferences bring together the latest physical, cyber and converged security and fire safety technology, solutions and insights from hundreds of suppliers.

For those looking to exhibit, whether you’re looking to launch a new product, generate new customers or raise your profile within the fire safety industry, the team at FIREX will work with you to make the exhibition a part of your strategy for achieving your goals. Email [email protected] to find out more.

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