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Guide to top construction conferences events and tradeshows 2019-2020

Guide to the Top 2019-2020 Construction Conferences & Events

Learn about the Top Construction Tradeshows You Should Be Attending

We’ve covered in previous blog posts how vital continuous education is to the evolution of individual employees. And it’s these employees that can help move a construction company forward with new ideas, innovations and forward-thinking. One of the best ways to expose construction employees to these new technologies and ways of thinking is to encourage them to attend one of the many industry conferences that take place throughout the year. 

Some are big and involve an extensive range of exhibitors and breakout sessions. Others are smaller, more intimate and allow for more niche networking opportunities and hands-on learning. No matter the size, all types of construction conferences can be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Learning new skills
  • Exposure to new technology to help perform work more efficiently and effectively
  • Networking and interacting with the who’s who of the industry
  • Staying abreast of trends and potential threats
  • Gaining fresh ideas, new perspectives and valuable insight

If your company isn’t dedicating a budget to ensuring your employees can attend several construction events each year, we’d suggest you set aside the necessary funds now. What you spend up front and on travel is more than likely to make up for itself over time in increased productivity and revenue. If you’re serious about empowering your employees with the knowledge and resources that will help them—and your company—succeed in this competitive industry, start building a professional development plan for your staff. 

If you’re an employee and struggling to make the case to your employer on why you should attend top construction tradeshows and events, we’ve added some tips towards the bottom of the post, here. 

Are you wondering what—and where—some of the best construction conferences and events are? Start marking your calendar now and take a look at our list of 2019-2020 events for construction professionals, below. 

Without further adieu, here’s a look at the top construction conferences and events in the 2019-20 calendar year from around the world—in order by date. 

Top 2019 Construction Conferences and Events

Construct (October 9-11; National Harbor, Maryland)

Described as “the event for construction professionals,” the 2019 edition of Construct takes place from October 9-11 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Maryland, with education slated to take place all three days of the event and the exhibition portion of the event on October 10 and 11. It’s annually attended by architects and designers, engineers, estimators, consultants, contractors and project managers. The event annually hosts more than 50 industry-accredited education sessions, a 175-plus exhibitor show floor, networking opportunities, a learning area and a demonstration area, among others. Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned construction veteran, there’s something for everyone at Construct.

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Lean Construction Institute Congress (October 14-18; Fort Worth, Texas)

“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—a week-long program of learning designed for architects, engineers, general contractors, trades workers, and more. The 2019 LCI Congress will take place inside the Fort Worth Convention Center. New show features will include a Live Lab featuring tools and concepts, and also a Lean Gallery, where attendees can see lean concepts in action.

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SMACNA Annual Convention (October 20-23; Austin, Texas)

The 2019 event will take place inside the JW Marriott Austin, and feature a mix of educational tracks with world-class speakers and a comprehensive exhibition show floor. The 2019 event will offer attendees more than 30 education sessions, including a keynote by renowned speaker Gordie Brown. New Technology Sessions, networking receptions and a special evening concert with the rock band Foreigner are also part of the SMACNA Annual Conference, which helps mark the 75th anniversary of the SMACNA.

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SMACNA 75th annual convention
Trade Show at SMACNA (Sheet Metal, Air Conditioning National Association) Annual Convention is its premier event that blends exceptional education with world-class networking and social events–and this year is no different as we journey to the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina for the 75th Annual Convention, October 14-17, 2018. Photography by Steve Exum & Nathan Richards of exumphoto.com

Design-Build Conference & Expo (November 6-8; Las Vegas, Nevada)

Coming from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas is the 2019 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), thousands of attendees will kick things off with an opening party at the OMNIA nightclub before settling in for several days’ worth of valuable learning and knowledge sharing. To cap it off, DBIA will induct its second round of Fellows at a special awards dinner on November 7.

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Further Reading:  A Quick and Dirty Guide to Construction Submittals

Connect & Construct Summit (November 18; Las Vegas, Nevada)

Digital, diverse and dynamic—those are three terms that help describe the construction industry as we know it today. Connect & Construct at Autodesk University is a special one-day event designed to cater to the innovation going on in the industry through high-level keynotes and presentations. Connect & Construct also serves as the prequel to the annual Autodesk University event, which gathers Autodesk software users from all different industries.

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Connect & Construct Summit

Autodesk University (November 19-21; Las Vegas, Nevada)

Come in for Connect & Construct, stick around for Autodesk University, or AU. While Autodesk software is deployed in all different industries (i.e., gaming, product development, automotive, etc.), construction is undoubtedly one of them. AU regularly hosts about 10,000 professionals from all different industries. In addition to an expansive exhibition hall, AU also hosts high-level educational sessions to show professionals how its software can take operations to the next level. This year, AU is hosting construction-specific sessions on using its Dynamo solution for BIM models and digitizing infrastructure. 

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The Big 5 (November 25-28; 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.

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Big 5

London Build (November 27-28; Olympia, London)

For those in Europe, there are 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.

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Construct Canada (December 4-6; Toronto, Ontario)

Held in conjunction with The Buildings Show, World of Concrete, PM Expo, Buildings Connect and the Homebuilder & Renovator Expo, Construct Canada drops in the Toronto Convention Centre this December. The show mixes education with an exhibition, and with so much going on, attendees will never run out of things to do or learn while there.

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Construct Canada - construction tradeshow floor

Top 2020 Construction Conferences and Events

NAHB International Builders Show, or IBS (January 21-23, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada)

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. 

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World of Concrete (February 4-7, 2020; 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.

Want to find out the top trends emerging from last year’s World of Concrete? Check out our event recap.

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World of Concrete Exhibit Floor

Construction Institute Summit (February 20-22, 2020; Los Angeles, California)

Want to learn how to solve some of the biggest problems facing the construction industry? If so, then be sure to get to the Westin Los Angeles Airport Hotel this February for the Construction Institute Summit. Through case study presentations, panel discussions and technical sessions, an agenda packed with industry leaders will detail the problems facing the construction industry now and reveal how to solve them.

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Further Reading:  10 Data-Driven Construction Strategies to Boost Productivity  

New York Build (March 3-4, 2020; New York, New York)

New York’s largest construction and design show returns to the Javits Center in March 2020. 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.

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AGC National Convention (March 9-12, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada)

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.

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AGC National Convention

World of Modular (March 9-12, 2020; Orlando, Florida)

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.

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CONEXPO-CON/AGG (March 10-14, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada)

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. In 2020, there will also be more than 150 education sessions on hand. 

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CONEXPO-CON_AGG Day 1-G

ABC Convention (March 23-27, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee)

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.

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NASCC: The Steel Conference (April 22-24, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia)

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.

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NASCC: The Steel Conference

BIMForum (May 3-5, 2020; Houston, Texas)

Save the date for the 2020 BIMForum, which takes place in 2020 from the Marriott Marquis in Houston. Planning will get underway in the near future. Stay tuned for more details.

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Advancing Preconstruction & Estimating (May 4-7, 2020; Las Vegas, Nevada)

Contractors, owners and clients will gather in Las Vegas next year for the annual Advancing Preconstruction & Estimating conference. 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.

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Groundbreaking Women in Construction Conference (May 14-15, 2020; San Francisco, California)

Presented annually by Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine, this conference is designed to help the women of construction rise to new ranks in the industry. The 2020 event aims to have more than 750 attendees at Hilton Union Square in San Francisco next May.

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AIA Conference on Architecture 2020 (May 14-16, 2020; Los Angeles, California)

What’s new and now in architecture? Find out at AIA Conference on Architecture, coming to SoCal in spring 2020. Registration will open in January 2020. Stay tuned for more updates and details as the architecture event draws nearer.

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AIA Conference on Architecture
Photo courtesy: The American Institute of Architects

ENR FutureTech (June 11-12, 2020; San Francisco, California)

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. Stay tuned for more information as more details are released about the event in the near future. 

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Further Reading:  Top 6 Construction Risks — And How to Reduce Them

NAWIC Annual Conference (August 12-15, 2020; Houston, Texas)

Women in construction unite! The annual National Association of Women in Construction is back for another year, and it will arrive in Houston, Texas, in 2020. Stay tuned for more information and registration information in the coming months.

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CMAA National Conference & Trade Show (October 11-13, 2020; San Francisco, California)

Ideal for construction management and project management professionals, the 2020 event is coming to San Francisco. Stay tuned for the agenda and registration information in the coming months.

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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. Here are a few tips that will help you to build a solid case for you attending the event(s) of your choosing. 

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 majority of construction companies are operating on extremely thin margins after all. First, you should try to estimate all the costs you would incur by attending the event. This should include the price of 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. 

If possible, 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. If you need help crafting this email, events like Autodesk University have ready-made templates you can customize and send off. 

Create Your Annual Construction Conference & Events Schedule

What construction events do you plan to attend in the remaining months of 2019 and throughout 2020? If continuous education is one of your company’s long-term goals, there’s no better way to do it than by devoting a budget for construction tradeshows and conferences. It’s an investment that’s likely to pay off big time in your company’s future.

Grace Ellis

As a Content Marketing Manager at PlanGrid, Grace is the managing editor for the PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog. With over eight years of experience in marketing, communications and PR for technology companies, she is specialized in high-quality content creation across both traditional and digital media platforms.

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