Space only means no walls and no electricity, just a marked-out area on the floor. 

All space only exhibitors are responsible for their own stand design and construction, and for ensuring that they, or their contractor, has received a written ‘Permission to Build’ before arriving on-site.

All work must be carried out in conformity with the Rules and Regulations of the venue and the Local Authority. The e-Guide provides guidance on achieving common regulative standards for events.  We recommend that exhibitors use a member of the Event Suppliers & Services Association (ESSA) to build their stands, which will provide the security of knowing their contactor is backed by the association’s Code of Conduct, Quality Charter and Bond.

Make sure your contractor checks the location and orientation of your stand in relation to an up-to-date floorplan, and that they build within the given parameters. The thickness of walls must be calculated inside the outer dimensions of the stand. The Organisers will not be liable for any costs incurred to rectify mistakes or make adjustments on-site. Below are some considerations when planning your stand.

  • How many walls will be required?  An exhibitor’s Contract to Exhibit will indicate ‘one’, ‘two’, ‘three’ or ‘four’ open sides.  Three open sides indicates the need for one back wall, two open sides indicates the need for two walls etc.
  • Space only exhibitors may not make use of walls provided by neighbouring stands that are built from the Organisers shell scheme. 
  • What are the other requirements or issues that need to be taken into consideration, e.g., store area, reception desk, and kitchen or sink requirements, disposal of waste from sampling etc.
  • If services such as water and waste are being used, exhibitors should consider the use of a platform to avoid unsightly pipes and connections (which could also cause a trip hazard) from the service ducts.
  • What floor covering should you have?  If you have a kitchen area, carpet is not a suitable floor covering – the floor here should be washable.
  • How much lighting do you need?  Use spotlights to highlight particular products or graphics.
  • You may supply your own electrical fittings, provided that all pre-wiring is carried out before you arrive onsite. Whoever has done the wiring then needs to sign a certificate to the effect that the work has been done by qualified personnel and in accordance with all rules and regulations governing electrical installations. This certificate needs to be handed to the electrical contractor before power to the stand is made live.
  • When appointing a contractor, exhibitors should obtain guarantees that the stand will be finished and all litter and stand construction materials removed from the exhibition halls by 1200 hrs on Tuesday 8 February.  After this time should be interior dressing only.


CDM (Construction Design Management) 2015

You will need to ensure that the build of your stand at the event is carried out safely. The CDM Regulations provide a framework to help you ensure that your stand is constructed safely and fulfil your legal obligations.

As organisers we carry out a number of activities as part of our own responsibilities some of which will help you fulfil your obligations. Please contact if you need any further help or information.

Organisers Support:

  • We ensure that all Space Only Contractors provide us with, Construction Phase Plans, consisting of Risk Assessments, Method Statements, Stand Plans and Welfare Arrangements. We employ Scott-Baker to provide help and support to Space Only Contractors with CDM queries – They can provide templates to assist in the completion of these documents.
  • We ensure suitable welfare facilities are available including toilets, seating, access to drinking water and food outlets.
  • We provide Health and Safety Site Rules to all contractors and exhibitors prior to coming onsite and onsite at entrances to the hall. There is no access to the hall during Build Up and Breakdown without having received the Site Rules and passes are issued only on this basis.

Exhibitor Responsibilities
Under CDM you are defined as The Client with regards to the build of your stand. Below is a list or your responsibilities, we have highlighted those that can be delegated to the Principal Designer and / or the Principal Contractor:

  • Make arrangements for managing your project i.e., building your stand. You do need to ensure that someone is named as responsible for ensuring all the required roles are fulfilled.
  • Appoint a Principal Designer and Principal Contractor. These roles are often the same company or person and can be an external company or someone you appoint within your company.
  • Ensure construction work is carried out safely and that welfare requirements are complied with. This would be delegated to your Principal Designer/Contractor.
  • Ensure that a Construction Phase plan is drawn up and a Health & Safety file is prepared. This would be delegated to your Principal Designer/Contractor who will do this as part of their obligations under this and other Health and Safety legislation.

Principal Designer Responsibilities
The Principal Designer is the person or company in control of the ‘design’ of your stand and they must:

  • Ensure that planning, design, and pre-construction is carried out in compliance with the law.
  • Ensure that risks are identified, eliminated, and controlled at the design stage.
  • Ensure that pre-construction information is provided to contractors.
  • Ensure a Construction Phase Plan is drawn up and a Health and Safety file is prepared.

Principal Contractor Responsibilities
The Principal Contractor is the person or company in control of the ‘build’ of your stand. If they employ a 3rd Party to deliver onsite this company would become the Contractor, whether one company or two they must:

  • Plan, manage and monitor the construction phase (build-up & breakdown) and the way the construction work is carried out, ensuring it is safe to construct and remove within an event environment and that it has little or no impact on the neighbouring constructions or contractors.
  • Ensure work is carried out without risks to Health & Safety.
  • Draw up site rules for the stand area (these will often mirror the Event’s rules, but should not be limited to this), ensure suitable inductions and welfare facilities; provide information, instruction, and training.
  • Restrict access to your site if required by the work being carried out at the time.
  • Liaise onsite with Event Operations team.
Exhibition Build Regulations

Proposed stand designs must be forwarded to Johanna Shirley by FRIDAY 7 JANUARY.

As per the CDM Regulations above please ensure a Construction Phase Plan is sent to If you have a stand contractor, they will do this and it should consist of:

  • All space only stands are responsible for building all their walls and cannot make use of neighbouring stand walls whether they are space only or shell scheme stands.
  • All work must be carried out in conformity with the Rules and Regulations of the industry accepted e-Guide and the UK Building Regulations including all BS Standards. Click here for the e-Guide.
  • We recommend that exhibitors use a member of the Event Suppliers & Services Association (ESSA) to build their stands, which will provide the security of knowing their contactor is backed by the association’s Code of Conduct, Quality Charter and Bond. If you would like to put your stand design and build out to tender visit ESSA – Submit Your Contract for Tender.
  • The maximum height for walls on single storey Space Only stands on the Mezzanine Level is 4m, EXCEPT for stands around the perimeter of the Mezzanine level whereby the height limit is 3m.
  • The minimum height for Space Only Stands is 2.5m.
  • All advertising and logos must be within specified height limits.
  • No advertising and logos will be allowed on the reverse side of dividing walls.
  • Please refer to the e-Guide for more information on Rules and Regulations for Double Decker Stands.
  • On divided sites if your wall is above 2.5m you must decorate the back of your wall facing your neighbours stand, down to 2.5m. these walls must be finished in a neutral colour only to the satisfaction of the Organisers.
  • Do not allow any off-site construction to begin until written approval has been received.  If written approval has not been received building will not be allowed to commence onsite and last minute approvals could involve the exhibitor in delays and / or additional costs.
  • Stands must be designed in a way as to not discriminate against disabled visitors.
  • All work must be carried out using non-flammable materials.
  • The design of the stand must be such that it can be erected and dismantled within the published time schedule (see Exhibition Timetable).
  • The Organisers may, at the expense of the exhibitor, remove or alter anything forming part of any stand, if in their opinion it is desirable to do so in the interest of the exhibition.
  • Any presentation or demonstration likely to interest groups of 10 or more people must be located towards the centre of the stand and clearly shown on stand drawings.
  • If any presentation or demonstration causes obstruction in the gangway and/or nuisance to any other exhibitor, we reserve the right to cancel the presentation or demonstration or restrict the frequency.
  • Vehicles are not permitted without prior written approval from the Organisers.
  • The stand floor area must be covered with a suitable floor covering.
  • The Business Design Centre is a permanently carpeted venue with dark grey carpet. If Exhibitors wish to provide their own carpet they must first lay floor flats or a platform. This must also be finished with metal/ plastic edging trim. Carpet must not be laid directly on top of the venue carpet. NB: Most carpet contractors sell their carpet outright, please make arrangements for it to be removed otherwise the venue will charge for its disposal.
  • Exhibitors are responsible for all actions of any contractor they employ to work for them. Any damage caused will be charged back to the employing exhibitor.
  • Balloons are only permissible with written approval from the Organisers.
  • All stand structures: signs, etc. must be confined within the area allotted and must not project into or over the gangways.
  • All painting onsite must be carried out using water-based paints.
  • At least 50% of each frontage must remain open or fitted with an approved transparent material.
  • Solid walling over 5m in length on a designated open side must be set back at least 0.5m from the stand perimeter.
  • All stands must clearly show the stand number and exhibiting company name.
  • Doors from offices, stores or meeting rooms must NOT open outwards on to a gangway. Vision panel windows must be fitted to all doors built into the interior of a stand.
  • Drop wires, rigging of banners and lighting are NOT permitted at the Surface Design Show. 
  • Exhibitors and their contractors should familiarise themselves with the Working at Height Regulations 2005, and amendment published in 2007.
  • Exhibitors who have two stands either side of a gangway who wish to connect them in some way must contact the Organisers for permission and specification regulations before implementing any design work.
  • Contractors and Exhibitors are reminded that the e-Guide and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health regulations (COSHH) should be adhered to. Please refer to any material safety Data Sheet prior to use. Click here for the e-guide page 128. A few points to note but not an extensive list so please do visit the e-guide as well;
    • Two-part fillers containing STYRENE are not permitted in the Exhibition Industry.
    • Night Sheets much be made of inherently non-flammable material.
    • Only water-based paint may be used on site.
    • All plastics, including plastic plants must conform to BS 476-Part 7, Class 1. Polycarbonate materials are acceptable.
    • Timber under 25mm thick must be impregnated to Class 1 standard. Treated materials show have ‘BS 476-Part 7, Class 1’ marked on them.
    • Boards, plywood, chipboard etc much be treated if under 18mm thick. The exception to this is MDF, which is acceptable for use due to its density. MDF and chipboard must NOT be machined onsite, as the dust produced is hazardous to health.
    • Chipboard must NOT be used as a weight-bearing material.


Exhibition Build Regulations

Business Design Centre (BDC)
Jack Williams
T: +44 (0)207 288 6485

Click here to order electrics online

BDC are responsible for and will carry out all electrical work on stands within the exhibition halls.

Please place your orders using the Online Ordering System which includes a price list for specific items. Orders must be made by Thursday 27 January. Other prices can be provided if required. The price for fittings covers the hire, power requirements, maintenance during the open period and removal at the close of the exhibition.

If you have any questions about the exact electrical requirements for your stand, please contact the electrical contractor using the details above who will be happy to advise you.

If machinery or working equipment is to be operated, please inform the electrical contractor, including the electrical requirements and ratings; this applies particularly where high fluctuating currents are involved. Electrical supplies (three- and single-phase) will be assessed on the information provided. The contractor will then be responsible for ordering the required mains from the venue. The installation of these supplies will be subject to a connection charge.

The standard supplies of electrical current available are:
Single-phase alternating at 240 volts, 50 Hz
Three-phase alternating at 415 volts, 50Hz

Basic guidelines For Socket Sizes and Usage

Listed below are examples of “typical” loadings for items plugged in to socket outlets:

500 watt sockets:           computers, TV’s, video’s, spotlights to 500W, refrigerators
1000 watt sockets:         domestic filter coffee machines, lighting up to 1000W
2000 watt sockets:         kettles**, machinery up to 2000W
3000 watt sockets:         hired coffee machines, machinery 2000W to 3000W

Note ** - these appliances are of varying power requirements dependent upon type or manufacturer. It is therefore essential that the reference tag or plate that is fitted to each appliance under law be read, the loading in watts or kW (kilo Watts = Watts x 1000) will be stated, and the appropriate size socket ordered.

Deadline date

Orders must be received by Thursday 27 January so that the necessary mains can be ordered from the venue in sufficient time for them to be laid in the hall before general construction commences. Orders received after the deadline will incur a 20% surcharge.
NB: Exhibitors who contract into the show after Thursday 27 January will be exempt from the surcharge if orders are made prior to arriving onsite.

Enquiry desk

During the build-up period, an enquiry desk to assist you with any electrical problems will be located outside the Organisers’ Office (under the staircase). The desk will be manned from 8:00am -6:00pm hours daily.

Supply Timetable

Electricity will be energised to stands as quickly as possible during the build-up period, subject to satisfactory inspection and testing of installations. Occasionally delays may occur because adjoining stands are not complete and ready for inspection.

Power to stands during the open period will be switched off each evening 15 minutes after the show closes.

Temporary power

If you require a temporary power supply during the build-up period, you should order this direct with  BDC Venue Services.

Electrical Testing

Every circuit installed on an exhibition stand must be tested before it’s finally energised. Costs for this are shown separately on the electrical order form.

For further information on how this impacts your stand, please contact BDC Venue Services.

All exhibitors are responsible for ensuring electrical items have been PAT Tested prior to bringing them onsite.


Display / Modular Stands
If you do not plan to construct a stand but utilise a “pop up” structure as a backdrop, all stand regulations still apply to your stand.  You are required to submit a Stand Plan, Risk Assessment and Method Statement and any additional CDM Regulation Information found in Health & Safety Information. 

The Business Design Centre is a permanently carpeted venue with dark grey carpet. If Exhibitors wish to provide their own carpet they must first lay floor flats or a platform. This must also be finished with metal/ plastic edging trim. All flooring laid (including floor flats) must be removed from site. If left behind, the organisers will have to pass the cost of disposing onto the exhibitor/ contractor.

Carpet must not be laid directly on top of the venue carpet. NB: Most carpet contractors sell their carpet outright, please make arrangements for it to be removed otherwise the venue will charge for its disposal.

Floor Loading

The Business Design Centre weight loadings are as below:

Mezzanine104lbs per sqft5KN per qm
Ground418lbs per sqft20KN per sqm
Height Restriction
  • The minimum height for walls on Space Only stands is 2.5m.
  • The maximum height for walls on single storey Space Only stands on the Ground Floor is 4m.
  • The maximum height for walls on single storey Space Only stands on the Mezzanine Level is 4m, EXCEPT for stands around the perimeter of the Mezzanine level whereby the height limit is 3m
Materials for Stand Fitting & Decoration 

There are strict regulations governing the materials used in the construction and decoration of stands and in the demonstration of products.   

All stands will be inspected during the build-up by the Health and Safety Officer and the Venue Fire Safety Officer. Any fittings or materials not meeting the fire regulations will need to be removed, or the stand will be closed down.  You should draw attention to these requirements to any contractors working on your behalf. 

  • Decorative materials used for stand dressing must be flame proofed or purchased already treated with an appropriate chemical. 
  • Artificial flowers and plants are highly flammable and give off toxic fumes and must not be used for stand dressing. 
  • Gangways must be kept clear and free from exhibits, stand dressing, furniture etc at all times during the open period of the exhibition.  Offending items are liable to be removed without warning.
  • No empty packing cases may be stored on, around or behind your stand, as this constitutes a fire hazard. 

For more information, please check the e-Guide pages 128 – 130. 

Permission to Build

A Construction Phase Plan as required by the CDM Regulations must be sent to Johanna Shirley ASAP, but definitely before the deadline date - FRIDAY 7 JANUARY. Please ensure your stand contractor (if you appoint one) complies with this deadline date, failure to do so could result in delays and / or additional costs. The design of the stands must be such that it can be safely erected and dismantled in the limited time available.

  • CDM Regulations requirements are:
    • Stand Plan – these must include:
      • A ground plan and elevation drawing
      • All dimensions, which should be to a recognised scale (e.g. 1:20, 1:25, 1:50, 1:100)
    • Method Statement including materials to be used
    • Risk Assessment including a Fire Risk Assessment that covers precautionary measures to be undertaken during build-up if working within a hazardous environment such as welding, toxic or flammable substances, etc.
    • Contractor Health and Safety Declaration
    • Welfare Arrangement Form

No construction will be permitted in the hall until permission to build has been issued.


For advice and a quotation please contact Expo Floors Ltd on: 
T: +44 (0)1922 721177

Ramps and Handrails

Please check the e- Guide pages 125-127 for Regulations relating to the use of ramps and handrails.


Drop wires and rigging is not permitted.

Stand Contractors 

Please complete the Contractor Nomination Form as soon as possible but by no later than Friday 10 December. We will then liaise with them regarding any information required.   

Should you need assistance on which stand builder to approach to build your stand, please click here for our Recommended Stand Builder list.  

Vehicle Entrances/ Lift Details

There are 2 goods lifts available for use by contractors & exhibitors during the build up and breakdown for the delivery of stand materials and exhibits.

    • Gallery Hall Goods Lift (in the middle of the mezzanine hall) – Capacity: 3000kg
      Size: 5500mm (deep) x 2550mm (wide) x 2500mm (height)
      Please note this one has to be moved around a corner.
    • Main Hall Goods Lift (by the loading bay) – Capacity: 3000kg
      Size: 3900mm (deep) x 1900m (wide) x 1900mm (height)

There is a possibility another show may take place at the same time as the Surface Design Show so it may not be possible to use the larger lift at all times as it may need to be shared with the other event. The smaller of the two lifts is a more direct route into the hall on the Mezzanine Level, however the corridor leading from the larger lift onto the Mezzanine Level is narrower and at a slight angle so a site visit is strongly recommended for large pieces of exhibition material which needs to come through this entrance.

Please keep the above in mind when constructing before being onsite. If you have any concerns, please check with the organisers by emailing Kate on