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Global Exhibition Day Summary

Global Exhibition Day Summary

120 people attended the first ever Global Exhibitions Day event held at Johannesburg Expo Centre on 8 June 2016.

Facilitated by Yvonne Johnson, Marketer at Large – the morning kicked off with a networking breakfast and then specialist speakers on a variety of subjects took to the podium to celebrate exhibitions and all they mean to the South African economy.

As the South African industry aligned with exhibition companies around the world, the audience became very aware of the vital role South Africa plays in this global industry. This is an industry driven by innovation, connection to key players and customers and contributes significantly to both tourism revenue and the nation’s GDP.

We were introduced to the new GM for EXSA, an impressive, youthful looking Phumulani Hlatswayo who will lead EXSA into the future. He was at pains to tell us that he had twenty years of business experience under his belt.

Sue Gannon and Joy Donovan announced details of the newly formed EXSA Academy which will play a vital role in accrediting and up-skilling the industry. This is a very welcome initiative that will create opportunities within the sector.

Craig Newman, CEO of Expo Centre and who sits on the UFI Board, told the audience that a major coup has been achieved with the UFI world conference taking place in Cape Town next year which will bring all of the important players in this sector to SA. Craig shared global stats on exhibitions.

Nonnie Kubeka, Gauteng Convention Bureau, said that the exhibition industry was setting trends and were knowledge makers. The industry needs to celebrate its impact of their contribution to Business Tourism and the MICE sector. Turn the key of success and make sure exhibitions are recognized for their worth and their growth.

Gift Luthuli, an Event Risk and Compliance specialist reminded us all in the most charming way that all success starts with the correct contract in place. When things go wrong, and sometimes they do, the contract is what will protect the various parties. It is vital to elevate the understanding of the risks and necessary compliance within the industry.

Dave Nemeth, trend specialist identified 6 key trends to inform the innovation within the industry:

  • Take inspiration from the past – create products that people can recognize – which are close to their hearts. Consumers are buying into this.
  • Be relevant
  • Be authentic – tell stories – why are we doing this?
  • Experiences outweigh things – experiences connect people
  • Use new technology – VR and AR – virtual reality and augmented reality are here
  • Disruptive interpretation – break the rules and trends

“If you are trying to achieve Best practice, you are a follower”


The industry is strong, but needs to stand together to create an awareness of its impact and significance. It is in the hands of seasoned professionals who are welcoming the new young energetic voices.


‘A hard act to follow’ said Helen Brewer

What a great breakfast morning it proved to be. The 8th June is THE global exhibition day and EXSA celebrated in style at Joburg Expo Centre.
The manner in which the programme had been planned by former GM Sue Gannon left no one in doubt as to the value of exhibitions and the way the continued growth was indeed justified going forward.
Punctuality was the order of the programme ably facilitated by Yvonne Johnston, a well-known presenter in her own right and Business Consciousness Coach, Creative Thinker & Strategist.
After a hearty breakfast and welcome by Exsa Chairman Neil Nagooroo – the new Exsa GM Phumulani Hlathwayo – cutting a dashing figure – set the scene for the highlights to come.
The EXSA Academy’s plans were revealed by Sue Gannon and Joy Donovan – exhibition stalwarts with extensive industry knowledge. Their work is cut out over the next six months to provide the exhibition industry with a strong foundation to confidently support the various endeavours put forward.
Craig Newman – Vice Chair of the Middle East Africa Chapter of UFI – shared startling figures of the actual size of the global exhibition industry. For example did you know that each year around 260 million visitors attended exhibitions, 31000 exhibitions took place and 4,4 million companies exhibited at these exhibitions?
Gauteng Tourism’s Head of Convention & Events Bureau Nonnie Kobeko spoke passionately of the exhibition impact on business tourism while Director Gift Luthuli of Gintan Luthuli Associates revealed the risks and limitations of liability within the events space.
Trend Forward’s Dave Nemeth ended the presentations with six points on how to design differently.
With about 10 minutes per presentation coupled with excellent catering and food display design – the MICE industry are well-advised to take another look at the Expo Centre as a most suitable venue which has all the bells & whistles required for a successful event – irrespective of capacity or type.
Sponsors Scan Display, Compex, Larouxnelle, Main Event Catering and Expo Centre made it all possible. Well done indeed!

flame retardant requirements as per SANS10366

flame retardant requirements as per SANS10366

SANS 10366-1
Health and safety at events — Requirements
Page 44

9.16 Fire retardancy of curtains, drapes and other decorative elements
NOTE See SANS 1423 (all parts).

9.16.1. Fabric structures, drapes, linings, upholstery, table-cloths and other
decorative elements; shall either be inherently non-flammable or flame retarded to comply with SANS 1423 and shall form part of the fire risk assessment.

  • Inherently flame retarded fabric, local or imported, shall be accompanied by a certificate of performance from an accredited international test laboratory certifying than it performs to SANS 1423 or the international equivalent.
  • Inherently flame retarded fabric not clearly identifiable as the fabric referred to in the test report or if there is a question as to the flame retardant performance, the organizer shall have the fabric tested by Fabric and Fibre Protection Association of South Africa (FFPASA) or SANS
  • Fabric not flame retarded that is to be treated with an approved flame retardant. The application shall be carried out by FFPASA (Fabric and Fibre Protection Association of South Africa) trained & certified applicators.

9.16.2. Certification.

All exhibitor’s décor elements shall be treated with a flame retardant, tested and certified to comply with SANS 1423 by FFPASA (Fabric and Fibre Protection Association of South Africa) or SANS.

  • Flame retardant certification shall be the performance of the applied flame retardant application on a specific fabric for an event.

The certificate shall state:

  • The standard against which the fabric is tested e.g. SANS 1423 Part 2 Draping
  • The test method used to test the fabric sample e.g. NFPA 705
  • Venue info:
  • Name
  • Hall / Stand no.
  • Full street address
  • Event Name
  • Client (Display builder)
  • Validity Period
  • Company
  • Contact
  • Email
  • Cell No.
  • On-site Contact/cel no.

9.16.4. Certification Validity 

The limited resistance of flame retardant treatments to a water clean combined with the effect of air-conditioning and atmospheric & other pollutants, which deposit dust and soils on the fabric, abrasion due to constant handling and adverse storage conditions all compromise the efficacy and erode the level of the flame retardant application. All these factors mandate that flame retardant certification:

  • Shall be valid for the specific event only!
  • Shall be re-tested and re-certified for each subsequent event!
  • Should it fail the re-certification test, the fabric shall be cleaned and/or a re-application of the flame retardant shall be carried out to comply with SANS 1423.

9.16.5. Product Safety & Environmental Considerations

In line with relevant national legislation requirements in conjunction with environmental considerations with respect to persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic chemicals; Brominated/halogenated or Antimony based flame retardants and their components shall not be used at events. All Flame Retardant Products to be used at events to be entered in a register to be held by Fabric and Fibre Protection Association of South Africa (FFPASA) Required; 500ml sample for testing, Product Technical Data Sheet & Material Safety Data Sheet.

16.6. Exits
The use of curtains, drapes and temporary decorations can affect the safe use of
the emergency exits. The local authority shall be notified in writing of any proposal to use combustible decorative materials. This notification shall be accompanied by full details and shall include samples of the proposed material.
Curtains across exit doors present an additional problem and shall be arranged so as not to trail on the floor. They shall open from the centre and shall only be permitted where stewards are present nearby to open curtains in the event of an emergency.

16.7. Artificial and dried foliage
All artificial flowers, hay-bales and dried foliage shall be treated with flame retardant.
N.B! All artificial and dried foliage used for decorative purposes in public areas shall be flame retardant and shall form part of the fire risk
As it is difficult to totally inhibit the production of flaming molten droplets or debris from the solid plastic parts of artificial foliage such as branches and stems, the local authority might limit the amount of material used and prohibit use in some locations.

Dried flowers and grasses shall not be sprayed with hair lacquer or similar substances, as such treatment will make them ignite easily and burn more quickly.

9.16.8. Built wooden structures
Built wooden structures, constructed from lumber, plywood, OSB, (oriented strand board), MDF (medium density fibre board), particle board, drywall, I-Joist, metal framing studs and similar materials shall be treated with a flame retardant shall comply with SANS 10177 8 / 10

9.16.9. Thatched structures
All thatched structures shall be constructed in accordance with the CSIR’s guide to ‘Good Thatching Practice.’ And shall be treated with an approved flame retardant product as has been tested to meet:

  • DIN 4102, Part 7 (Germany) Small-scale evaluation (fire only)
  • ASTM E108 (USA) Large-scale evaluation (fire only).




Beware of companies making false claims and misrepresentation of the SABS brand, mark or test reports

There are no flame retardant products that carry the SABS mark!

The performance of a FR product is variable due to the different requirements according to the fibre type or weave of the fabric as well as the variability of the application

This is why the certification programme as per the Fabric & Fibre protection Association of SA has been established in accordance with SANS 10366!
Part of our function is to just advise on what the updated SABS requirements for certification.
Also what “certification / documentation” is not acceptable and creating a national standard certification and testing standard.


Of concern with regard to flame retarding of draping at events is still the certification.
I have been in contact with SABS’s legal counsel for clarification on the use of the SABS mark.
Please find below the relevant extract as it applies to certification at events

Invalid Eventing Flame Retardant Certificates

Please watch out for references on certificates claiming SABS approval and the following notes are extracted from letter from legal counsel at SABS and

  • The SABS provides testing facilities which allow for a client to have a sample of their product tested, to ascertain whether or not that sample complies with the required standard. –
  • The test report only refers to the sample of the batch that was tested, not any other fabrics and fabric types or even the same fabric produced at a later date
  • Also the result is valid for 12 months only, beware of references to older test reports. They are also invalid.
  • The test report which is issued in this regard relates solely to the sample submitted and cannot be used as “proof” / inference of compliance with a South African National Standard, for products which do not fall within the sample tested. This inference is unauthorized.
  • Obtaining positive results on a test also does not mean that the sample is certified or that the SABS certification mark / any inference of compliance may be used in connection with the product. Such use is unauthorised.
  • A SABS test report does not mean that a manufacturer may claim that their product is SABS approved; has the SABS stamp of approval or bears the SABS mark.
  • The SABS marks are exclusively associated with the SABS and its function.
  • Any representation that goods or services are certified by the SABS / comply with relevant SANS / tested by the SABS, is likely to mislead members of the public.
  • In addition to the intellectual property rights in the SABS marks:
  • The Standards Act prohibits any claim, declaration or conduct under a name or in a manner which is likely to create the impression that any commodity, product or service complies with a SANS, any publication of the SABS, or has been approved/certified by the SABS when that is not the case.
  • Any person who does this is guilty of an offence and the SABS is entitled to lay a criminal charge against such person.
  • The SABS does not authorize the reference to “SABS Tested” on a company’s marketing material or advertising material, the publication of test reports and the like.

Other examples of Unacceptable Certification, as they do not measure the performance of an application to a standard as required by SANS 10366, are

  • letters or copies of invoices that state that state that a flame retardant product has been purchased and applied.
  • A copy of a product data or material safety data sheet

If the draping is draped over a pole, rope, panel or any other device; both sides must be treated with the full meterage reflected on the certificate.
If any excess draping is ‘piled’ on the floor, there should be no excess fabric on the floor (I will check the standard SABS 10366) It too must be treated and accounted for in the certificate