HVP gives a run down of the highlights at this year's PHEX Manchester, which took place at Old Trafford from 15 to 16 October

Only half an hour in and already the exhibition hall at PHEX Manchester was buzzing with visitors. As the coaches began to arrive, exhibitors made final adjustments to their stands and readied their scanners to make sure they captured any potential leads with ease. As the aisles filled, sales managers peeled off to the bar and tables to conduct meetings and catch up with clients, while those on the stands talked installers through their latest products. Those manufacturers who opted to give live demonstrations of their products proved very popular, interacting well with delegates and in some cases drawing quite a crowd.

Also grabbing the attention of the engineers in attendance were the Gas Safe Register seminars. Two on each day gave visitors the chance to catch up with the Register’s progress, while those with more in depth questions could visit the stand and speak with one of the technical officers.

Andy Banks, training support inspector and regional investigations officer, ran the seminars, giving installers an overview of the Register's services and efforts in investigating illegal work, as well as bringing to attention various technical bulletins, focusing on TB143 Combustion Analysis. Mr Banks pointed engineers to the website, where all the most up to date versions of these bulletins are available to view and download. "It's there for your protection," he said. He also went over the answers to some questions put to the technical services team online and on the phone over the last year, and emphasised the importance of reporting illegal work.

After the mad rush for lunch, which tends to give the exhibitors a chance to catch their breath, the show sprung back to life as installers attempted to make their way back to manufacturer’s they couldn't reach earlier in the day. Among the busier stands were relative newcomer, controls company Nest, and workwear specialist, ToughBuilt.

All in all, it was a very successful show, with delegates saying they appreciated the opportunity to get hands on with new products and talk with manufacturers, as a way of staying ahead of the competition.