Exhibition Stand Builders - South Africa

Exhibition stand builders, As Exhibitors never see what goes on behind the scenes, here is a bit of insight from the production stand builder side and how they do things

I Will discuss:

  • What does an exhibition stand builder do?
  • The Steps in Exhibition Stand Building
    • Step 1: Client briefing
    • Step 2: Stand builder - Preparation
    • Step 3: Stand builder - Factory production
    • Step 4: Stand builder - Preparation before the build up!
    • Step 5: Stand builder - Build Up
    • Step 6: Show Days
    • Step 7: The Breakdown
  • A Little bit about Wilo (reference example)

What does an exhibition stand builder do?


As a stand builder, it is their job to design, manufacture and erect exhibition stands according to exhibitor’s requirements and expectations. Planning around the exhibiting companies image and products or services.

For exhibition stand building companies, it becomes their task to take all the stress off the exhibitor’s hands and liaise directly with the organisers on their behalf, as well as assist with planning for the event, for example the logistics, promotion staff, refreshments, cleaning etc. Ideally all an exhibitor has to do is show up on the day of the event and market their company, which is unfortunately the only thing can’t be done for you.

Most exhibiting companies have strict rules and regulations to their image and of course, this will be the task of a stand designer. Researching of the companies needs to be done in order to do this correctly and design accordingly.

Exhibition Stand Designers   Click here to see how exhibition stand designers do those awesome 3D designs.

Here at ACE our moto is: Our client’s success, will be our success.we give our all into client support, satisfaction and production. We will go through great lengths for all of our clients.

Let’s go through the process steps from one of our project done for WILO PUMPS SA who exhibited at IFAT in South Africa.

Step 1: Client briefing

The client briefing step is purely to help a stand designer come up with a relevant design for exhibitors. Obviously needs to be done before the exhibition stand builder can do anything.
During this step the stand designer gathers all the relevant information in order to pitch a design, along with the design of course is the cost quote for such design.

The sooner the design and preparation gets done the better, as stress levels are at a low as well as the costs.

Exhibition Client Briefing.   Click here to view our online client briefing forms for reference

Step 2: Stand builder - Preparation

Once a client is happy with a design and wants to proceed, the project gets passed on to the factory for the stand builder to take control and start the preparation for production as well as compile a buildup schedule.

Technical drawings, pantone codes and wood ordering gets done, the more time put into the preparation the smoother it will go for the stand builders on build up day, the goal is to accomplish an easy, no problem build.

The sales rep of the exhibition stand building company generally will fill in all your required forms at this stage, requested by the organisers of the show, (health and safety, EMS submissions, stand builder company details etc). Forms are never the same, and can actually be quite mind boggling. Sometimes there are 3 or 4 sections, sometimes over 10 for every stand.

The design & EMS submission needs to be approved from the organisers also. They check and make sure that the stand is going to work in the space given and we won’t run into any mishaps. For example, in some venues, the roof height varies in different areas of the hall. So they ensure that the builder won’t need to take the roof out to build the stand, sounds odd. But seriously, poor preparation can lead to these silly mistakes.

Step 3: Stand builder - Factory production


This is where the fun starts, where the exhibition stand builders start their work. Once the materials are received production starts. Cutting, slicing, CNC works, sanding, drilling and lots of hustle and a busy factory. Nothing better than seeing the production line of manufacturing an exhibition stand, especially for the designers, they love seeing their designs come to life.

As per this client’s request, they wanted to come through to the factory and see how their stand was coming along.

We pre-built the stand at our pre fab factory in Kya Sands for their viewing. The stand was still raw, no painting was done yet, graphics weren’t applied. It was just the structure itself.

This stage gives even more ease of mind for an exhibitor, because I’m sure there has always been that one case when a sleepless night accrues thinking ‘am I going to get to the show and find nothing there?’, this is exactly what a stand builder should insure a client not to stress at all about.

Step 4: Stand builder - Preparation before the build up!

By this stage we would have already double checked the graphics from the client and added to the production line, ready for printing.

The stand builders start with the painting and all other little bits that needs doing before they load up and head to site, the more done in the factory the less time needed on site.

We try to get as much done prior to build up to ensure a quick as possible build. I’m sure it must be a little unnerving for a client to see their stand still not done and the show starts tomorrow. Eeek! I would also start freaking out a bit. Though this is just the way things happen, and you just need to understand that stand builders do this as their jobs, they know what they doing. Exhibition stand builders can easily work 18 hours a day on the stand, as the build up for a show is very time pressed, where a lot of work needs to be done to get things finished and looking good.

We do everything in our power to ease clients stress. We try make this a fun experience for the exhibitor.

Step 5: Stand builder - Build Up


This is where all the preparation and planning leads to. Buildup. Depending on the show, stand builders sometimes only have 1 day to build. Others get about 3 or 4 days’ build time (every hour is gold). There is a lot that goes into build ups. Long hours, late nights. We give it our all to ensure that we deliver exactly what we promised, if you have seen stand builders at work, you will know how hard and intensely they work.

Team work is key here. Stand builders know real team work! Spending all these hours with colleagues, relying on them, you can’t help but appreciate them.

Communication between the stand builder and the exhibiting company is important, knowing when the client can come to the stand and start placing their products and equipment. Having the stand builders and the exhibitors on the stand working at the same time is a little difficult so the goal that we try to achieve is having the stand completed or at least 80% complete so we can work around the exhibitors instead of them working around the stand builders.

Custom Exhibition Stand Time laps.   Click here to view a time laps of a European company setting up a custom stand.

Step 6: Show Days

Now the show starts, where the exhibitors step in and the exhibition stand builders can have their break to catch up on some rest. Depending on the show & stand, often there is a staff member from the stand building company that attends the event daily, to ensure everything is kept in good order and sorts out any issues that might pop up.

Step 7: The Breakdown

On the last day of the show, exhibitors go home and chaos starts again. The breakdown, stand builder goes and dismantle the stand.

Depending on the job, various things happen during breakdown. For example, Wilo bought the entire stand and requested for us to rebuild the stand at their factory after the show. We took great care in disassembling the stand ensuring minimal to no damage. So when it came time to build the stand, there wasn’t too much needed to be done. After the stand was erected and a few things touched up and fixed. We gave it a fresh coat of paint and voila! Bobs your uncle! The stand was good as new and assembled in their factory for their client interaction and showcase!

This doesn’t happen often though, generally a breakdown is exactly as is sounds, Break it Down. The time is even shorter for breaking down exhibition stands, no time to mess around, and the stand often goes straight to the dump from the show.

I hope you have enjoyed this article. I hope it has given you a better idea of what steps we take in order to deliver a service as exhibition stand builders

A little bit about Wilo

They offer plug in interface modules for nearly all pumps, so that building automation connections are always optimally realized to meet current as well as future requirements. This means the pumps can be fixed directly into the existing system on site.

The advantage of dual pump management that wilo offers not only allows a switchover or peak load cut in, but can even contribute to energy savings in some areas.