The best of the BEST

14 September 2010

Everyone knows that construction is becoming more technologically advanced, but visitors to this year’s Built Environment Solutions & Technologies (BEST) show will get a preview of how a cutting-edge scanning technology that’s already in use by the FBI and Metropolitan Police could revolutionise the way we exchange project information.

The Faro Laser Scanner Photon 120 can capture detailed 3D representations of built structures — or crime scenes — and export the resulting data into CAD, Rhino or other desktop modelling software for analysis. The device rotates 360 degrees, measuring everything up to a distance of 120 metres with an accuracy of ±2mm, to generate a 3D model created from thousands of points of information.

Applications could include scanning a building prior to refurbishment, recording the technical detail of a completed building for comparison with the original design drawings, or scanning structures in remote or difficult locations.

The technology is on trial at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. Senior lecturer Bob Shiel told Building Design: “You can map one model over another. You can be designing and building at the same time, getting very quick feedback telling you where things are going and what the difference is between the design and the building.”

The system is just one of hundreds of ideas and innovations being showcased at BEST, which takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on October 18-20. Themed as “smarter construction for the new economy”, the event aims to provide practical solutions to delivering affordable, sustainable projects in today’s economic uncertainty.

Five “hubs” will each focus on a different aspect of construction. Ticketholders also get free entry to the Infrastructure Show, Interbuild Specifier, Interbuild Onsite and Glassex @ Interbuild, which all run simultaneously at the NEC.

The events have a procurement focus, connecting clients, contractors and specifiers with each other and the supply chain. Here, CM previews some of the products and services being exhibited at the five shows.


Builderscrap is a free website designed to help builders reduce volumes of construction waste sent to landfill by giving them access to each others’ surplus materials. Companies that register can post details of the type and weight of materials they have available, or contact other sellers to arrange an exchange. Cost savings are made through lower waste disposal charges and a reduced need to buy new materials. (see page 26)



Carrymate Transport Grips reduce the effort and potential physical strain
of carrying flat panel materials such as sealed window units, glass or sheet metals. The grips are used in pairs and clamp to either end of a panel, allowing it to be lifted by two people. Each clamp self-adjusts to the width of the material, so that it can be carried safely, even through narrow passages or across uneven grounds. Each grip can lift up to 220lbs (100kg).

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Appollo Cradles, which manufactures scaffold and access systems for unusual applications, is launching a new extra-wide scaffold beam. At 1.5m wide, the 1500 X-beam is the widest scaffolding beam system on the market and can span up to 100m. Aimed at cantilevered applications such as working above roofs or accessing the underside of bridges, the beams are compatible with fittings and spigots used on conventional scaffolds.
The beams are made from a tough aluminium alloy and can support up to
10 tonnes over a 30m span.

The Infrastructure Show


A one stop shop for multi-utility installations, including electricity, gas, telecoms and water, Utility Network Connections targets contractors, developers and clients of all sizes. UNC is a leading player in the newly developing field of independent service providers (ISPs). The service covers all aspects of utility supplies, from design to hand-over. Its installation and connection service covers a range of sites from single new-build plots to commercial or industrial parks.

The Infrastructure Show


Latest estimates suggest that theft from vans is more of a problem than ever. With an estimated 624 thefts a day, prevention should be at the forefront of van owners’ thoughts. Van-Locked specialises in the supply and installation of replacement and additional locking systems plus security products and accessories for the van operator. The company has a new online interface, a nationwide network of mobile installers
and more than 30 years’ experience.

Interbuild Onsite


Yachting supplies company Harken is more used to exhibiting at boat shows, but it’s using Interbuild Specifier to take its fall-arrest harness and anchorage system to construction buyers. Originally designed to provide safe access to the hulls of super yachts, Harken’s external access system is also suitable for applications such as safe roof access, general access and maintenance.

Interbuild Specifier


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