FIA – Behind the scenes

Posted on 27 Jul 2010 by The Manufacturer

Ever wondered about the logistics behind making an event like the Farnborough Airshow happen? Jane Gray talks to structure specialists De Boer about their work on the event and more.

De Boer, an innovative Dutch company whose services and capabilities range from providing event structures and staging to emergency business recovery facilities, has been the muscle behind the magic of the Farnborough International Airshow for the past eight years.

The challenge posed in creating an event like Farnborough, the world’s largest outdoor trade show, is huge, as Liz Routh, project manager for De Boer at Farnborough explained to TM.
“There is an iterative building process that starts on March 1 [over four months ahead of the event opening in July 19]. We put the skeletons of structures like the private chalets up at this stage and then the exhibition halls.

“The parts we use from event build to event build are interchangeable and so for the next phase we have to wait for the Madrid Open to finish before we can ship in the three hundred odd truck loads of parts needed.”

Farnborough is the biggest event in the De Boer calendar. They provide approximately 96% of the structures you see on the extensive site including the chalets, exhibition halls, press centre, pavilions and walkways. They cover an excess of 90,000 square metres of floor space and ship in 3,600 tonnes of building components.

“The lead time for building the Farnborough site is unusually long in comparison to a lot of the other event we cover due to the level of customisation and branding that companies like to overlay on our structures” – There was certainly enough proof of this to be seen among the rows of chalets facing onto the air display area – one sponsor organisation appeared even to have faced their structure with a full blown Georgian facade!

The versatility and resilience of De Boers structures belies their temporary nature. In fact in their other services De Boer are able to provided rapid response construction of facilities which require such extreme durability as temporary secure prison accommodation and police forensic labs – indeed the company were responsible for the efficient temporary housing of all London’s 7/7 bombing evidence.

Apart from supporting the UKs most important manufacturing industry event De Boer has also been responsible for enabling business continuity to a broad range of manufacturers after disasters such as flood and fire have obliterated factory and warehousing operations. De Boer work closely with individual companies and insurance brokers to build their services into company contingency plans so that –if the worst should happen – recovery can be almost seamless. De Boer’s business development manager, Mical de Boer says “Generally companies in the UK are better at being sensitive to contingency planning than other countries where we operate. I think this is in part because the UK has had to deal with hanging threats from the IRA in the past. However it is hard for company’s at the moment to look beyond the pressure of day to day work and in these exceptionally lean times some people are prone to see contingency spend as waste.