A few weekends ago we returned to the Homebuilding & Renovating Show, this time in Glasgow. Last year we had attended when we were in early planning stages, still wondering if we could actually do this. Ahhhh, we were so young, with such stars in our eyes! This year’s experience was very much different, we had specific vendors we wanted to speak with and products we wanted to see.
We spoke to everyone we planned to and then some! Over 20 different vendors overall ranging from window suppliers (of course…) to screed specialists. I hadn’t even thought about screed which is really an example of one tricky part of attending trade shows. How much of what people are telling you that you need do you actually need? I think the best answer here is to have a detailed project plan and do your own research. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg scenario when you’re like us though, being so blissfully unaware leaves massive gaps in our knowledge base and we can start to fill those gaps by attending trade shows.
The vendors at the show seemed to fall into two buckets, first we have the folks who populate their stand with sales people and should be approached only after donning protective gear (aka resting bitch face) and those who commit, as their representative subject matter experts and industry veterans who should be embraced with the same vigour as a long lost friend…although you should expect to encounter a security detail if you actually do this.
Some absolute stars of the show for me were Mike Shufflebotham from Green Building Store, Tom Gribben from Glenalmond Contracts and Peter Smyth from K Rend. All of these folks handled our newbie questions with respect and patience even though our project is distinctly on the small side for them. There were some who definitely didn’t and I’m sorry to say that casual sexism while talking to a woman about construction reared it’s ugly head on more than one occasion… (bastards).
I would definitely go again and would recommend anyone with a significant house project do so. Hopefully by the time the next one rolls around we’ll be up to our eyeballs in gutting our cottage.