Est. 1995, Oaks Exhibitions is the go-to for bespoke and modular exhibition stand design & build

Should I Build My Own Exhibition Stand?

It is easy to assume that setting up an exhibition is as simple as turning up on the day and putting the stand-up ready to go. This may be the case for some venues, but you will find that at many larger events, far more planning is required.

When taking on the responsibility of building a self-build stand, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your attendees and your staff. This means making sure that you have taken steps to prevent harm and to reduce any risk of injury during setup, breakdown and during the show itself.

Exhibition space comes in all shapes and sizes, it is easy to assume that if you have booked a 5m x 3m space that it will be easy to fill… A few pop up banners maybe? Large scale printed graphics possibly?

For you to get the most return on your investment (average exhibition space cost in the UK is £300-£350 per square metre) then you need to make sure what you plan to go in that space is going to help you do that.

Fancy yourself as a designer?

If you are planning a substantial stand, then the devil is in the details. Professional stand builders don’t just build the stands, they also design them from scratch. An initial meeting to cover the objectives should take place, at this meeting you will lay out your requirements. What you want on the stand, how you want the space to flow. Are you launching a new product? Then we need to make sure that is the star of the show. If you want to attract a crowd, then why not consider some type of refreshments area? 

The design of any stand is key, most exhibition companies will now produce a 3D rendering of the concept and full working technical drawings before manufacture (if required), so you know exactly what you are getting. If the budget is tight, then using a professional build team will really help, they often have modular systems they can loan and furniture / tvs at a fraction of the cost compared to hiring directly from the organisers. If budget is no object, then happy days! The sky’s the limit (quite literally) we have built quite a few double height exhibition stands!

(Show some 3d visuals here)

Project Management… AKA Spinning plates!

If you are planning a DIY Build then be prepared… There is a lot of admin to complete in the run up to the exhibition. The organisers will issue a handbook with relevant forms to complete, so be prepared to carry out a risk assessment! Risk assessments are documents that detail you have identified and analysed risks associated with your exhibition stand. You must assess all aspects of your event, from identifying health and safety hazards right through to fire risks and detail these in the form. Exhibition organisers do not like surprises and are pretty ridgid with rules. If you haven’t pre arranged for the ceiling banner to be erected and looked at the risks associated with that, then I am afraid you will not be able to have one.

There are several deadlines you need to meet, to ensure your show runs smoothly, the organisers have a lot to do so chasing you for forms is really not on their agenda. If you are planning on building your own stand then you really need to keep an eye on these deadlines. If the organisers do not receive the forms, then you will most likely be refused entry on the day.

DIY or not to DIY..

If you are planning a self build then you need to be prepared. Anyone that has spent time at an exhibition hall in the run up to the event knows it is (for want of a better word) chaos. If it is a large scale show, then you will have up to 500+ companies competing to get their stands complete before show day. Many organisers will not allow you to build the stand on the opening day, so you will need to make sure of the access dates to allow the stand to be constructed before the event begins.

Unless you are a qualified team of joiners, then the actual build of a stand is pretty complex, not to mention costly. Professional stand builders do this day in and day out, they have all of the tools and kit required to construct the stands in a safe and timely manner. Not to mention the relevant insurances and risk assessments in place.

Make sure you are fully aware of what you need to make that stand sing, project management skills are a key requirement when planning your own event. You will have a lot to manage in the run up to the big day.

Let’s talk logistics!

One of the main reasons that clients choose to work with an exhibition design and build company is the logistics. Even if you go with simple shell scheme graphics, they are pretty big. Realistically they are not going to fit in your hatchback! Think about how you are going to get everything onto the stand, furniture, lighting, not to mention all of your company literature, promotional materials etc. If you are working on the stand whilst the show is running, then you need to arrive refreshed not frazzled!

The last day on an exhibition stand is always a tricky one…We know how long the days are (how late the nights are). When the clock strikes 5pm and the exhibition closes its doors, then if you are doing a DIY job then you need to get your stand down, and everything out pronto, The organisers might give you 3 days to build the stand but they will want you out of the doors by 9pm latest! If you are in a hot country, they also turn off the air condition… lots of fun when you are heaving boxes about! Alternatively, you leave and the stand builder arrives… you could be sipping a celebratory glass of champers by 6pm!

So in summary if you are doing a DIY exhibition stand, make sure you have your list up to date and that you have checked everything twice. Make sure your stand design is on point, the layout meets your objectives and it flows. Don’t forget the forms! They are key to actually being able to exhibit. If there are risks associated with the stand build then make sure you have assessed and understood how you will build safely. Finally, GOOD LUCK, you are going to need it!! At Oaks Exhibitions, we have over 20 years experience and expertise building exhibition stands. Whether you are wanting a bespoke build, modular or simple graphics for your shell scheme we can help. Our main objective at any exhibition is to make sure your business stands out. We create show stopping stands for all budgets. Interested? Contact us to start your big build today.

If you are planning an event this year maybe we could help? Contact the Oaks Exhibitions team on 01484 644 368 or email us on