HBR Show 2017 summary

Homebuilding & Renovating Show 2017 – Summary

Allan Corfield Architect, Construction Professionals, Self Build Leave a Comment

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Homebuilding & Renovating Show 2017 – Summary

When you made the decision to build your own home, you probably came to the realisation that you are in new territory and in order to succeed you have to commit and learn.

A quick and effective method to get to grips with the principles of Self Building is by attending one of the Homebuilding show.

The Homebuilding & Renovating Show is the most popular Homebuilding show series in the United Kingdom. If you read our blog regularly, you may have come across one of our preview articles about the show.

This blog will summarise the events of the HBR Shows in 2017 and present first-hand comments from the self-builders who attended.  If you have not attended the show yet and are planning to start your Self Build soon, this article is for you!


The HBR shows took place in 7 different cities around the UK. The audience at this year’s show was over 100,000 visitors. The National Show in Birmingham saw a 10% increase in the number of visitors from 2016 and had the highest number from all the shows at 39,557 visitors – London followed in second place with 20,948.

Due to the success of the HBR Shows, an additional show will be added to the programme in January 2019, at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre – It will host 120 exhibitors and expects over 5,000 visitors.


We spoke to self-builders who visited the shows this year and based on their opinions we created ‘The Best Of The Homebuilding & Renovating Show 2017″ – the list of the most useful elements for a self-builder.

hbr 2017 summary


The seminars were often noted as a main advantage of the shows. No wonder, as these were hosted by leading industry experts! They covered various aspects of Self Build & Renovations, including, how to maximise the chances of being awarded planning permission; how to finish your project on time and on budget; which construction system is the most appropriate for you; how to avoid the most common mistakes; and much more. Here is a comment from one of the show visitors:

“When I decided to Self Build, after the initial excitement, I realised that I have no experience or knowledge of it. I instantly become overwhelmed by all the enormity of the materials I had to learn. I did not know where to start. I did some research about Self Building and decided to visit the HBR Show. I found the Self Build Seminars especially helpful, each speakers expertise helped me to gradually develop my understanding of Self Build.”
Michael, HBR Show in Birmingham


Self Builders often leave the seminars with many questions about their own project. These can be answered at the ‘Ask the Expert’ consultation. Based in the Advice Centre, this is an opportunity for Self Builders to speak face to face with the experts about their own project for 15 minutes.

“I brought my own drawings to the show to discuss my project with a specialist. I went to the expert talks and exhibitors. They gave me so many ideas, it was overwhelming! But after my consultation with the Self Build expert, it helped clarify and narrow down my ideas. It is amazing, that despite the show is visited by thousands of self-builders you can still get a chance to individually discuss your own project with a specialist”.
Gavin, HBR Show in Glasgow
HBR show 2017 summary


During the show, visitors also have the opportunity to speak with hundreds of exhibitors and can learn more about the products best suited for their project. Visitors can also learn about the current & future self-build technologies in the master-classes. Those who considered building a low energy home, for example, could go to a seminar describing SIPs technology or Passive House Standard and then discuss how those solutions fit their own project.

“We really enjoyed watching the masterclasses. We learned about the products/solutions and built up the base of our questions. Then we could visit the exhibitor’s stand and get first-hand answers and find out what products and solutions would work for our project”.
Kim and Andrew, HBR Show in London


The event not only provides an opportunity to meet with the experts, but also fellow self-builders. Discussing your project with other homebuilders can provide inspiration and enrich your project significantly. Being able to touch and experience products at the visiting exhibitors’ stands helps in making informed decisions on a project.
“I really enjoyed sharing information and opinions with other self-builders who came to ExCeL London today. This is something that I needed because, until today, I was only discussing my project with the professionals. Building your own home is very personal. I needed to speak to someone who is in my shoes. Thanks to chatting with the fellow self-builders and of course, all the professional advice I received today, I feel much more confident about my project.”
Maria, HBR Show in London
hbr 2017 summary

Other Self-Builders reviews:

“We have visited several shows over the last few years but most recently the Glasgow and Edinburgh. The show was very well set up and relatively easy to navigate. Seminar talks were very useful especially if you know what you want to know. For example, if you know that you want to learn about building techniques, eco-technology etc. – they are all there and listening to people talks passionately about what they do which triggers your own thought process.

We really enjoyed speaking to the timber kit manufacturers. The planning advisers answered all our questions about our planning application and SIPs specialists explained different building techniques clearly and simply. We would definitely recommend going to the HBR show. You will become more informed and even going more than once will let you get most out of them over time. We may continue to go along even after we are finished building. Speaking to architects or other specialists at the shows, and understanding their approach and how they work was a key factor in us deciding to appoint them.

Our advice to other self-builders would be to be organised before the show. Decide which seminars you want to attend, specialists you want to see and plan your day around those. Get there early. If you are planning to stay all day, bring lunch or snacks (otherwise you can be standing in a queue for 20-30 mins) and if you can, don’t take kids. They will quickly get bored as these shows are fun for grown-ups only!

Mandy and Duncan, HBR Show in Edinburgh

“We visited the HBR Show in Edinburgh. The venue was very easy to find and had a plenty of parking spaces. The stands were laid out like streets so it was very easy to navigate and find desired exhibitors. We also got a map of the event which came in handy. We attended three talks during the day, they all were very useful as they were delivered by experts in their fields. They were extremely well attended so you needed to be very sharp if you wanted a seat. Many of the exhibitors brought their products, which gave us the chance to really see what they had to offer. For example, the window manufacturers brought sizeable displays which let us see the quality of their product. The exhibitors could scan your pass in order to obtain your details making follow up discussions after the show very straightforward. We would really recommend the show to every self-builder. It is a great way to see a diverse array of the suppliers at one time and directly compare products side by side. My only piece of advice to other self-builders would be to go to the show on the first day, as you may want to go back the second day too!

Joy and Martin, HBR Show in Edinburgh

homebuilding and renovating hbr show 2017 summary


Allan has worked with the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows for the last couple of years, gradually increasing his involvement every year.

This year he took part in four shows, where he delivered various seminars including ‘how to design your dream home’, ‘guide to building a low-energy home’, and ‘the most common self-build mistakes and how to avoid them’. You can find the articles based on Allan’s talks on our Self Build Blog and videos, on our YouTube channel. Allan was also available for face to face consultations as the Self-Build Expert in the Advice Centre. 

After this successful co-operation, Allan was invited to become a permanent member of The Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine team, and you will be able to see him at all seven HBR Shows next year.

“2017 has been a great year for the shows, with record visitor numbers and the huge amount of happy visitors! The shows really are a great way to kick off your self-build journey or help solidify your plans for your renovation. The level of quality advice given by the experts, in both seminars and one to one advice – is invaluable, and a great way to discuss your dreams with the top people in the industry.

I am already looking forward to attending all of the shows in 2018 and meeting lots of excited visitors and industry experts.”

Allan Corfield


This year was the last for David Snell at the HBR Shows. The author & Contributing Editor at the Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine is starting his well-deserved retirement. He devoted over 30 years of his life to the self-build industry, starting when it was not even recognised as an industry in its own right. 

David is the author of several books on self-building including “Building Your Own Home”, “The New Home Plans Book” and “The Home Plans Book”. David and his wife have self-built and renovated thirteen times and are currently engaged in their 14th self-build project. David has recently seen the publication of his new novel “Sing to Silent Stones”. We would like to thank David for years of amazing service, helping 1,000’s of people to build their dream homes. We wish you luck on your new career path as a novelist.

HBR show 2017 summary


homebuilding and renovating hbr show 2017 summary

The Homebuilding & Renovating Shows in 2018 will kick off with the largest show – National Homebuilding & Renovating Show in Birmingham 22-25 March. If you are interested in visiting one of them, it is a good idea to spend some time preparing for the show. Feel free to read our articles which will help you get the most from the show and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions.

If you have decided that you want to visit the show, click the button below and claim your 2 free tickets.

Without any doubts, The Homebuilding & Renovating Show is growing from year to year attracting more and more self-builders. The main advice we have for any prospective self-builder is to become as knowledgeable as you possibly can…and attending the shows is the easiest way!

If you did not get the chance to visit one of the shows in 2017, then make sure you book a ticket for 2018… and when you do please pop along to the Advice Centre and say hello!

Have you been to any of the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows in 2017? What seminars, experts and exhibitors would you recommend? Do you have any advice for others? Share your opinions in the comment section below!

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