The almost inevitable news came on Monday that the FIT Show, already postponed once due to the pandemic, has been pushed back again to May 2022. Against a backdrop of high case numbers, a supply chain that is crippled in most parts and the surreal situation that no one really wants or needs new customers, the right decision has finally been taken just 8 weeks before the show was due to open.

FIT Show postponed

This is the statement published on their website:

FIT Show organisers have announced the further postponement of its September 2021 event until May 2022, in response to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.

The fenestration industry’s flagship UK event will return to the NEC from Tuesday 10 – Thursday  12 May 2022. The announcement follows delays to the easing of COVID restrictions across the UK, a rise in UK cases and lack of clarity regarding restrictions for large-scale events.

FIT Show event director Nickie West comments: “We have been monitoring the ever changing situation in relation to COVID-19 and, after careful assessment, we believe that it is best for our exhibitors and visitors if we postpone FIT Show until May 2022.

“It’s always our priority to run a safe and successful event for our audience. The sharp rise in positive cases, coupled with the ongoing ambiguity surrounding what restrictions would need to be in place by September, created too much uncertainty.

“We have worked closely with our stakeholders and the NEC to create a new timeline that we believe is both safer, and provides greater certainty for the market. By postponing until the Spring of 2022 we believe that the majority of the UK will have been vaccinated and large scale event restrictions will be less ambiguous.

“I remain steadfast in my belief that no other platform can compete with the power of live events when it comes to connecting brands with the market. It has never been an option to flip FIT Show to virtual, it just would not deliver what our market wants and needs – face-to-face interaction, and to see, touch and compare all of the latest products side-by-side.”

“We will, however, be delivering our CPD approved learning programme virtually in September as a key touchpoint in our campaign, to engage with our FIT Show community between now and May.”

The majority of the brands who signed up to exhibit at FIT Show 2021 will move over to the postponed May 2022 timeline. The new dateline will also present a more secure proposition for brands who may have been hesitant to exhibit in September. Following the postponement, FIT Show will maintain its biennial frequency, returning for its scheduled dates in May 2023 onwards.

Nickie added: “As always, we are committed to running a safe and successful event for the industry when we return in May 2022. FIT Show will follow Fensterbau, making it the first UK flagship event to reconnect the market.

“I’d like to sincerely thank everyone who has demonstrated such resilience, determination and loyalty during these most challenging times. Your support is what FIT Show is built on. As a team, and a business, we are extremely grateful. We look forward to seeing you all, face-to-face, next May.”

The new dates ditch the “installer Sunday” plans that were due to take place in September. There are also plans for a 2023 show, one year from May 2022. Consecutive shows have been attempted in the past but was then rode back after the industry voiced its opinion.

These new dates put Fensterbau ahead of FIT, with the huge European show set to take place on Tuesday 29th March to Friday 1st April. For some of the sector’s biggest companies that operate both in Europe and the UK, that may be an issue.

Within the statement, there is the now-familiar swipe at anything other than “face-to-face”, which you would expect. But with this postponement, it may well add pressure on other industry events set to take place soon. If something like this has now been deemed unsafe or too risky, then other organisers may well be looking at their own plans and wondering whether going ahead, even with restrictions lifted, is the right thing to do.

For the next 6-12 months the industry is going to remain focused on the two biggest problems that are biting hard right now: crippled supply chains and acute skills shortage. These problems are immediate, they are causing major problems right now, and until there is a significant reduction in demand or dramatic scaling up of production capacity then these are problems that are going to persist for the medium term.

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