Hiring trade fair services: exhibition stand assembly guide /12

Fair services are perhaps the biggest headache of fairs. Both its contracting through the fair service platforms, as well as its deadlines and surcharges are swampy issues that must be taken into account. we give you an overview so that you can overcome them without stress.
truss structure hanging from pavilion ceiling

Fair services: everything you need to know

Hiring a turnkey stand does not mean that you do not have to worry about the services of the fair. Some suppliers will help you with the contracting, but in general it will be you who must pay and order them. That is why there has to be a lot of communication between you and your provider, since the services are ordered based on plans and dates that are initially out of your control. Normally the budgets for the construction of stands usually detail "Fair services are not included" so it will be difficult for you to get rid of hiring them.
With that being said, here is a summary of the services you will typically hire at the show:

participation fee

trade show

The participation fee is the amount you pay for space at the fair. It varies depending on the type of space you hire. These are the rates for 2023 at the Interlift fair held in Germany. each fair has its own rate but they are usually similar throughout Europe.

How much does it cost?

Here you can see some rates for the year 2023 in Germany. Depending on inflation, prices can vary a lot, so if you read this post in later years... check the new rates. 

rates participation fees trade show

assembly fee

people installing booth at a trade show

In some countries, such as Spain, a fee must be paid for installation rights. This fee is included in the price of the stands offered by the fair. The price of the assembly fee varies depending on the fairground. The price fluctuates between €7.00 and €9.00 x m2. (2023)

This fee must be paid before the start of the fair, in some fairs it is paid directly on the exhibitor's platform and in others the fair sends the budget along with other fees;

electrical connection

electric box

Normally a basic power is offered together with the contracting of the space. In case you do not need a large consumption, you have to check with your provider if you need more, which will most likely be a few KW depending on your space. For example, for a 40m2 stand, IFEMA Madrid usually includes about 3kw which only allows for some lights and a fridge. There is a lot of variation in this price depending on the fair, so you should always check the official rates.

How much does it cost?

The rates vary according to each fair, but here are some prices to give you an idea of the cost.

Power supply rates

Ok, but how do I calculate the rush I need?

To calculate the electrical power needed in your stand you have to take into account the following:

  • Power consumption of stand lights
  • Electrical consumption of the exposed machinery, if applicable.
  • Electrical consumption of the different devices that will be at the stand (refrigerators, TV, etc.).

To give you an idea, I will leave you with an example that I think will clarify the situation for you.stand

In this example of an exhibition stand, the 3 classes of electrical energy mentioned above are given. I will explain each of them below.

exhibition stand
Exhibition booth example of 42m2

According to the following table, two electrical panels (1 and 2) have been defined in this cabin to receive power from the following devices:

lighting devicewatts/unitunitswatts/full
led projectors150w162,400w
track spotlights50w6300w
LED strips20w/m8160w
Microwave1500w11500w
fryer3,000w13,000w
food warmer1500w11500w
Fridge150w1150w
nespresso1,300w11,300w

The total of accessories and lights is: 10,310 KW. Normally you have to leave at least 3kw of power just in case, for a total of 13kw. The closest power offered by the fair is 19kw, so this is the box that has been contracted; on the other hand, there is the power for the client's product. We are talking about 5 coffee machines of 1800 watts each, which requires a box of at least 11kw. Therefore, in this stand there will be two electrical panels, one of 19kw and another of 11kw. When we contract the electrical panel on the online platform of the fair, they ask us to indicate the location where the electrical energy has to arrive. We do this by sending a plan like the one we attach, here we also take the opportunity to indicate the location of compressed air, water, or any other service that requires placement at the stand.

services plan view trade show

It must be taken into account that the power of the electrical panel, since there is a refrigerator and products that have to be kept cold until the end of the fair, must be 24 hours (otherwise it is not necessary to request overnight stay and it would also be cheaper). .The dotted lines on the plan correspond to the service ducts. The pavilion's electricity, water and air conduits pass through here. Upon arrival at the stand, the service pipe or cable must be removed from the corresponding conduit, if it has not been left out. This is a water and electricity connection: 

electric cables going out from services duct at a trade show
Electrical wiring that comes out of the service conduits of the fairgrounds

Suspended structures can be supplied with electricity from the roof of the pavilion. Although it is possible to run a cable from the stand's warehouse (and this is what is done in most cases), some companies prefer to pay extra for a cleaner installation without dangling cables.

rubber cable ramp

Water supply

drops of water

The water connection includes drainage and is installed from the service pipes indicated for it. Not all service pipes usually have water pipes, so it is important to ask which one carries them. When contracting the water it is also important to contract the connection. This is done by the fair and is usually done when the sink or appliance that requires water is already installed in the booth.

It is important to check the type of connection offered by the fair in order to adapt our devices in case of using a different connection. Normally the 1/2 inch connection is used for the water supply and 2”/40mm for the discharge. (please always check it)

Normally, the fair installs a hose from the connection in the service box to the place that the client has designated for the connection to the installation of his booth. A stopcock is always installed at the end of the hose;

The customer is responsible for the water supply network from the point of connection to the permanent installation of the fairgrounds. Unless the Organizer has ordered its own water supply for the stand. If a potable water or sewerage supply is required in a place where said supply is not available, you must consult with the Technical Service through the person in charge of the event to temporarily install potable water in that place at that time. 

The water and drainage pipes of the exhibition hall must be connected with 1/2 inch tubes for the first and 40 mm for the second.

The fastest routes must be used to pass the water and drainage pipes from the side or rear walls of the stands through the floors of the exhibition halls.

In outdoor exhibition areas, underground/underground tours may be offered. Inside the stands, the lines will run along the walls of the stand and above the ground.

service duct venue trade show
1/2" and 2" pipes for fairground water supply and drainage

How much does it cost?

The rates vary according to each fair, but here are some prices to give you an idea of the cost.

water connection pipes
water connection rates

Compressed air

air compressed installation
Source: Ingersoll Rand

In the same way as the water installation, the compressed air goes through the service pipes (it is important to ask which pipes have compressed air because not all of them do) the maximum pressure is usually around 8 bars (if you want less pressure there is to use a pressure reducer). Regarding the connections, it is usually used: ½” for flow rates up to 1500L/minute. For higher flows, ¾” is used (it is important to indicate the flow when contracting the connection).

How much does it cost?

The rates vary according to each fair, but here are some prices to give you an idea of the cost.

air compressed rates

Cleaning

hand cleaning with gloves

The cleanliness of the stands is important for the image of your company. Normally the fair offers a cleaning service that can include several categories. You have to carefully select the type of cleaning you hire to avoid surprises.

A few things to keep in mind:

Preliminary cleaning:

  • Preliminary cleaning is carried out once the cabin is finished and during the assembly period. In this phase, the protective plastic is usually removed from the flooring or carpets and a thorough cleaning of all surfaces is carried out. This cleaning can be carried out by the fair or by an external provider;
  • It is necessary to notify when the stand is completely finished, since only a movement of stairs in the stand makes it dirty again, since the corridors of the fair are very dirty.
  • Even if you have hired daily cleaning on the first day of the fair, it is not usually cleaned, so it is important that you make sure through photos or in person that the stand is perfectly clean once the assembly period is over.
  • Dirt around your stand can get back into it, so I advise you to clean the perimeter of as much dust as possible before cleaning it.
  • Do not forget to indicate if there are windows or surfaces in your stand that require more intensive cleaning, since if you have contracted basic cleaning, this is usually not included.
 

Daily cleaning:

  • Normally more than one daily cleaning is carried out, the first being before the start of the fair (usually done at dawn) and another for maintenance during the fair (usually done between 12 noon and 6 p.m.).
people cleaning a modular exhibition booth

How much does it cost?

Depending on your booth, different types of cleaning services are offered at different rates. These prices are approximate and based on a single fair. Although prices are usually similar between fairs, there may also be large variations in specific cases. Therefore, I recommend that you check with the fair before doing numbers.  

cleaning rates 2023-seafood
Prices offered by Fira Barcelona in 2023

Waste

waste disposal containers at a trade fair

For years, it is not allowed to leave waste at fairs. Anything not used at the booth must be loaded back onto the truck for removal from the fairgrounds. This includes pallets, cardboard boxes or any type of waste. In case you choose to hire a waste collection service, here are some Fira Barcelona prices for 2023

Waste disposal rates 2023 Fira Barcelona
Waste disposal rates 2023 Fira Barcelona

Rigging

truss structure suspended by rigging in trade show

Rigging is a critical point in the assembly of a stand. Normally construction companies do not include the cost of rigging in their budget, but their management does. This is fundamental since it implies many technical aspects that are articulated with the assembly. For this reason, make sure that your provider will help you through the recruitment process.

A few things to keep in mind:

Rigging is probably one of the most complex services at the fair in terms of planning, contracting and execution. It requires following a strict schedule, since it involves many other points in the assembly. In many cases, it requires the intervention of the fair's engineers to carry out static calculations and technical verifications in situ.

It is very important to bear in mind that the rigging project carried out by your builder will influence the final cost, depending on factors such as:

  • Number of anchor points required
  • Location of these points with respect to the structural beams of the fairgrounds
  • Weight of the structure to support (materials with which it is made)
  • Type of pulleys needed to raise the structure (manual or motorized).
 

Typically, the show asks you to provide the day and time the rigging points should be in place and the time the chains should be removed for manual hoists or the final lift for powered hoists.

Motorized anchor points and control unit

How are the required anchor points calculated?

The anchorage points are calculated based on fair regulations and the weight of your structure. The fair regulations indicate the permitted loads and this has a great influence on the design of your stand. Depending on the pavilion or the fair regulations, there is or is not the possibility of supporting heavy structures with a logical number of points. This value ranges from the impossibility of hanging anything in some areas (such as fair halls in many cases) to hanging structures with a restriction of 50kg at 300k per point.

Example project

To illustrate how the rig is calculated I leave you a very useful manual Made by Fira Barcelona. This does not include the regulations of the fair, nor the specific situation according to the pavilion or location of the stand in it. For this reason, it is necessary to think that according to each fair the regulations vary, this is only for illustrative purposes.

rigging example
rigging plan example
rigging example

How much does the rigging of a stand cost?

The cost, as I have said, varies a lot depending on the fair and the country. Many fairgrounds have global suppliers that have similar prices in all the fairgrounds where they provide the service, such as Fairnet or Neumann & Müller among others. The cost of rigging a stand not only includes the cost of the anchor points but also the cost of the installation and uninstallation service. It varies a lot if the rigs are manual or motorized. It is important that you take into account the regulations of each fair because your structure may not meet the requirements to install manual pulleys and this causes the price of each one to be multiplied by 2. I leave you a rigging budget made for a stand in Leipzig (2022). In this case the truss is included in the rigging but you can also ask your supplier to install it for you, the prices are usually very similar.

exhibition stand with overhead sign
Exhibition stand with canvas suspended by manual hoists
rigging plan
Rigging plan from Messe Lepzig
AmountDescriptionNoteOnly priceTotal price
2steel cable v1, 8mm, customer height, verticaltop edge truss: 6.0m174,00 €348,00 €
20.25t manuell chain hoist / fair period rental2x manual chain hoist84 €168 €
1work platform SGT15, part-timechain hoists safety service119 €119 €
4manpower /h2h rigger, 2h grounder57 €228 €
1work platform SGT15, part-timedisassembly service119 €119 €
3manpower /h1h rigger, 2h grounder57 €171 €
64 chord/m mounting bracket (Prolyte H30V)6m truss18 €108 €
2rigging equipment (rental) 1.2t spanset slinge2x steelflex 1m, 2t15 €30 €
2rigging material(rental) shackle, o-ring, 8mm steel cable2x shake 2t9,00 €18 €

Total: €1,309.00

Typically, complex structures are classified as follows:

  • Constructions over 5 meters high. They must have a minimum of three support planes perpendicular to each other throughout their height. Complex structures are those in which H>5m occur.
  • Constructions over 4 meters high. Totem-type structures, isolated party walls, 3D signs and any other structure without at least three perpendicular support planes along its entire height are considered individual.

Complex structures also include mezzanines (always) and complex suspended volumes.

If your stand has a complex construction, you must submit the project and a static calculation certified by a registered engineer for approval. Keep in mind that the static calculation may have to be done in the official language, depending on where the fair is held and the rules that apply there (German, for example, in Munich).

Normally they are necessary:

  • An explanation and justification of conformance to current requirements..
  • Structural analysis of stability and resistance that takes into account:

– Use category C for overload according to table 3.1 CTE DB SE.

– Up to a height of 4 meters, internal winds of 0.125 kN/m2 will be taken into account.

4m high, with a wind speed of 0.063 

  • An explanation of the loads that are transmitted to the pavement below each support.
  • Drawings with elevation and plan dimensions, as well as information on railings and stairs, too.
  • Fire evacuation and detection plan for buildings of more than 100 m2.
  • Risk assessment and preventive measures must be taken into account during assembly and disassembly.

 

Since the fair sends the calculation to another engineer who must authorize it in the professional association of his region, it is crucial to deliver it months in advance.

In the end, if everything is satisfactory, they send you the permit. But keep in mind that the entire procedure has a hefty fee, which is often calculated based on the number of hours the engineer has spent on your project. In addition, a fee must be paid for the on-site inspection. The price of a mezzanine in Germany is as follows:

sprinklers

sprinkler

The sprinklers are the fire fighting system that sprays water over the fairgrounds in an emergency. The ceilings of the stands in the pavilions equipped with sprinklers must be normally open by n percentage so that the protection of the sprinklers is not compromised. In most fairs, when less than 50% of the covered area per square meter is covered, the roofs must be considered open. Sprinkler compatible ceilings must have a mesh size of at least 2 x 4 mm or 3 x 3 mm (without vent). Banners should only be hung in a single layer and horizontally. It is not acceptable for banners to sag. A space contiguous to the roof of up to 30 m2 may be covered for a stand without the need for additional measures, as long as it does not exceed 50% of the size of the stand. 

For closed roofs of more than 30 m2, a permit is necessary (this depends on the fair)

In most cases, the plans must be submitted to the Trade Fair Projects Technical Department for approval at least six weeks before the start of assembly.

The companies authorized by the organizers must build the necessary compensatory facilities (wall fire hydrant, fire alarm system, visual/acoustic alert, automated smoke extraction system, sprinkler system), and this service has an associated cost.

complex structures

Typically, complex structures are classified as follows:

  • Constructions over 5 meters high. They must have a minimum of three support planes perpendicular to each other throughout their height. Complex structures are those in which H>5m occur.
  • Constructions over 4 meters high. Totem-shaped structures, isolated party walls, corporeal structures and any other structure without at least three perpendicular planes of support along its entire height are considered individual.

Complex structures can also include mezzanines (always) and complex suspended volumes.

If your stand has a complex construction, you must present the project and a static calculation certified by a registered engineer for approval. Keep in mind that the static calculation may have to be done in the official language, depending on where the fair is held and the rules that apply there (German, for example, in Munich).

Normally they are necessary:

  • An explanation and justification of conformance to current requirements..
  • Structural analysis of stability and resistance that takes into account:

– Use category C for overload according to table 3.1 CTE DB SE.

– Up to a height of 4 meters, interior winds of 0.125 kN/m2 are usually taken into account.

4m high, with a wind speed of 0.063 

  • An explanation of the loads that are transmitted to the pavement below each support.
  • Drawings with elevation and plan dimensions, as well as information on railings and stairs as well.
  • Fire evacuation and detection plan for buildings of more than 100 m2.
  • Risk assessment and preventive measures must be taken into account during assembly and disassembly.

 

Since the fair sends the calculation to another engineer who must authorize it in the professional association of his region, it is crucial to deliver it months in advance.

In the end, if everything is satisfactory, they send you the permit. But keep in mind that the entire procedure has a hefty fee, which is often calculated based on the number of hours the engineer has spent on your project. In addition, there is a fee to pay for the on-site inspection;

How much does the inspection of complex structures cost?

Here you can see some of the Messe Frankfurt rates in 2022 for the inspection of complex structures.

complex structures inspection prices

Logistics

forklift at a trade show

From the unloading of the truck that transports the stand material to the delivery of your product at the fair: logistics services are a fundamental service for your participation in the fair.

A few things to keep in mind:

Generally, this service is provided by global providers who usually have a uniform rate throughout Europe, although do not trust it, there are fairs that charge abusive rates for loading and unloading (you have to look carefully at this cost if your provider has not included it in a way clear in the budget of your contract).

Forklift and unloading crane service:

This service must be reserved in advance, indicating the time and time required. You have to specify the type of Forklift you need (tonnes of cargo, height of the pallets, etc.) You also have to specify if you want it with or without a driver. It must be taken into account that in the case of requesting it without a driver, then the person who takes it must have the corresponding license;

forklift rental rates
Messe Munchen (Db Schenker) hourly prices (March 2023)

Work platforms:

Some jobs inside the stand require the use of cranes or Gennie-type platforms. Normally no license or certificate is required to use them without a driver, although in some cases it will be necessary. Check with the supplier.

working platforms
Messe München (Db Schenker) max. 12 hours (March 2023 prices)

storage at fair

Box storage is often necessary so that your products can be repackaged when the show is over. There is usually a minimum value of cubic meters (usually 2cbm) this service can be requested before or during assembly. The price is usually per cubic meter for the entire duration of the fair.

Empty and full load storage
Messe Munchen (Db Schenker) (March 2023)

I have mentioned the most important and fundamental services for your participation in the fair. There are other optional services of the fair that are not detailed in this post and that I will add in the future. Among them I can mention the following:

  • Hostesses (event staff)
  • Air-conditioning
  • floral services
  • Catering
  • Internet
  • Security
  • led recovery
 

If you think that I have left something important and that can add quality to this post, do not hesitate to leave it in the comments.

Don't miss the next chapter of this exciting adventure!

I hope you have found this post about trade show booth services useful.

I recommend that you read the following article: the knowledge it contains can save you a lot of trouble at a trade show.
I will talk to you about: How to avoid the worst case  

Looking for something else?

This is a series of articles that aim to give a complete vision of the assembly of trade fair stands. Here you can see the links to the topics that I touch on, I assure you that you will not regret taking a look: 

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Consult the content of our Survival Manual for fair stands

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