What to expect at BOMEX 2013 in Halifax

Jim CarrolJim Carroll has seen the future of retail – and it will be vastly different from today’s environment.

The Mississauga-based futurist has just returned from a trip to the United States, where he spends much of his time consulting with clients and on speaking engagements. While south of the border, Carroll said he found out that retail giant Amazon.com is in the midst of setting up infrastructure that will allow the company to provide same-day delivery to 50 per cent of the U.S. population.

Walmart, Google and, closer to home, Canada Post are planning to provide the same kind of service. “That has pretty big and profound implications on the retail space,” Carroll said in a phone interview.

It’s these types of insights that Carroll will share in Halifax as part of BOMEX 2013, the annual conference and trade show of the Building Owners & Managers Association. Some 300 delegates from across Canada are expected to attend the Oct 1-3 conference.

Carroll is one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. Business Week magazine cites him as a top source for creative insight, while Fortune frequently covers his observations.

The author, columnist and media commentator focuses on linking trends to innovation and creativity. He has a 20-year track record in providing direct, independence guidance to a diverse, global client base.

Keynote to cover retail and workplace trends

Carroll said he was recently with one client, a global retailer, who told him they believe fashion retail stores will evolve into showrooms where they don’t necessarily stock all the inventory. Instead, clothes will be ordered through sophisticated band-end logistics systems supporting their online shopping technology with consumers receiving same-day delivery.

“I’m going to get into stuff like that,” Carroll said of the upcoming conference, where  he will discuss where the workforce is headed and how it might contract and expand, what happens when intelligent technology comes to the building space and other trends on what it means to the building managers and owners of the future.

Beyond Carroll’s keynote, delegates will find plenty of workshops and sessions at the conference, the theme of which this year is Building Excellence. The roundtable this year will examine the highly successful BOMA BESt  environmental certification program.

Titled Improving Building Performance, the panel will provide an overview of the findings from the 2013 BOMA BESt Energy and Environment Report. They will also discuss case studies of buildings improved from the program, and will give delegates a look at the new healthcare module designed for medical offices, labs and other buildings in the healthcare sector.

Green buildings on the agenda

Not surprisingly, the challenges of greening buildings will be the focus at a number of the sessions. LEED-certified experts Sheila Brown of Stantec Consulting Ltd. and Nadine Gudz of Interface Inc. will discuss green procurement strategies for building owners and managers and determine what constitutes a green product.

Niklas Moeller of K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd. will lead a session on solving acoustical challenges in green buildings. Moeller says lack of attention to acoustics in sustainable spaces has been detrimental to those buildings. He will talk about effective acoustics in green design and present case studies and research.

Climate change and its impact on buildings, as evidenced most recently in Alberta’s devasting spring floods, comes into play in a session on building envelopes. BOMA Calgary notes with the northward movement of the tornado belt and the state of aging building stock, it’s important recommended practices in building envelope safety.

Other sessions include The Canadian Smart Buildings Market in 2013 and Beyond; Glass Use in Buildings; The Multi-Residential Housing Markets in Canada; and a Commercial Leasing Update.

Not all work at BOMEX

It’s not all work at the conference, of course. “I’ve been to a lot of BOMEXs myself and I know that everybody looks forward to the parties, the networking. I think that’s one of the biggest draws for a conference like this,” said Pat Galipeau, BOMEX 2013 chairman.

Some of the recreational opportunities include a golf tournament on the Glen Arbour Golf Course in Halifax, and a tour of Lunenburg, an UNESCO World Heritage Site on the South Shore, and of Peggy’s Cove.

Christine Corbin, executive director of BOMA Nova Scotia, said a kitchen party is scheduled at the Schooner Showroom at the Casino Nova Scotia. That event includes fiddling, highland dancing and more. “That will have traditional Maritime flair, as well as lobster,” Corbin said.

She also pointed out Halifax is an extremely walkable city, offering delegates such scenic and historic places as the waterfront and Citadel Hill.

The conference closes with the TOBY Awards, the national award for Building of the Year, as well as Earth Awards for sustainability and Pinnacle Awards, recognizing companies for service and innovation.


A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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A multiple award-winning reporter, writer and editor for more than 25 years, Charles Mandel most recently worked as the National Observer's climate change reporter. He is a former Atlantic correspondent…

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