An overview of the Builders' Conference service
Builders’ Conference is one of the two smaller sales leads services, alongside Planning Pipe. Where Planning Pipe handles planning leads, as the name suggests, Builders’ Conference serves the tender and contract stage. The big boys, Glenigan and Barbour ABI, research the whole process in much more exhaustive detail.
Builders’ Conference is a trade body rather than a commercial venture. It is owned by its membership of around 1,000 companies - including main builders, contractors and suppliers - and operates for their benefit on a not-for-profit basis.
The organisation has a relatively long history, dating back to 1935 when it was founded by the engineer and philanthropist John Laing. Originally based in London, where it has a particularly strong presence to this day, it now works out of Sutton in Surrey. Its team of more than ten researchers is much smaller than the two big sales leads firms, but their data is supplemented by information provided by the members.
Builders’ Conference handles over 11,000 projects a year, with a total value of £50 billion. As of 2018, members are able to browse this data through a new web interfaced called Serino. The platform was built in consultation with the construction industry and allows users to search and monitor projects, get updates by email, and use integrated calendar and mapping services.
As well as sales leads, Builders’ Conference maintains a huge database of contacts on behalf of its members, with some 90,000 contacts available and updated. It also runs a number of networking events over the course of the year. The Conference publishes regular sector and regional updates, and other market intelligence bulletins. Other services include a jobs board, and a live league table of top contractors by value of work awarded.
Builders’ Conference doesn’t offer the comprehensive detail of Glenigan or Barbour ABI, but it doesn’t set out to. It has a narrower scope, and what it does, it does well. If you need sales leads earlier in the planning process, then it may not be for you – consider Planning Pipe or one of the big two. If you tend to come in at the tender stage or later, it could be useful. For those joining a project after the main contractor has been appointed, such as subcontractors, site services or building material suppliers, the contract award data available through Builders Conference may be exactly what you need.
As a not-for-profit trade body, Builders’ Conference is not a competitor to Barbour ABI or Glenigan, and it doesn’t run with the same commercial pressures. It is nonetheless a useful source of construction sales leads and market intelligence for those who don’t need exhaustively researched projects – especially for those in London or the South East, who will benefit from the concentration of members in the region. If you’re after a straightforward tender and contract award service, Builders’ Conference is worth a look – especially since you can trial the service for free.
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