“Scotty, I need Power now!!”

“Scotty, I need Power now!!” – Electrical Services, utilities and your Exhibit

How many times have we heard Captain Kirk imploring Chief Engineer Scotty to give him power so the star-ship Enterprise can avoid disaster or fight the battle or jump to hyper space for another rescue?  Yet even the most veteran exhibitors often overlook one of the most critical items…ordering electrical and utility services in advance.

The number of times I have seen display installation go horribly over budget is staggering and most of the time the budget busting blowout starts with the same initial oversight.  If you do nothing else, make certain you have completed the electrical services order form AND diagram.  Your utility diagram is the foundation for building your display.  The electrical service provider must know where to locate your power drops and that’s what the diagram does.  It lets them know where you need power, what type of amps, volts and outlets you need and allows the electrical contractor to pre-install your power lines prior to exhibitor installation.

Without the power (and of course other utilities such as gas, water or compressed air), your padding and carpet cannot be installed.  Or, even worse, will be installed only to have an added labor charge when it must be removed for the electrical components to be placed and then reinstalled.  It is the rare benevolent General Service Contractor (GSC) that will do this gratis.  Show after show, despite the best efforts of a proactive exhibitor services team working closely with each exhibitor to plan for a smooth exhibit, the experience is way laid by not having the electrical preordered with proper diagram.  You don’t even need to do a perfect 3D CAD rendering, just simple marks on the layout response form with noted service type for each area will suffice.  This issue will wreak havoc on your scheduled installation timelines by starting you off already behind the 8 ball.  I wish I could say that by hiring a proven, qualified EAC (such as Las Vegas Expo’s I & D division and our exhibit managers), these problems will never occur.  However I have personally witnessed some massive booths (as well as smaller display footprints) being handled by some of the big names in the EAC (Exhibitor Appointed Contractor) field get off to a crawling start by not having the specific placement of utilities squared away in advance.  There is little more frustrating and wasteful of money, than having an I&D crew  (Installation & Dismantle ) standing around waiting to install the carpet as the electrical power requirements are figured out on show site.  The best way to avoid such nightmare scenarios is to complete the forms in a timely fashion and then go old school and pick up the phone to confirm that all of your emails and order forms have been received, read, and understood along with your payment.  Yes Virginia, although there is a Santa Claus, companies will still take your money in advance without having the diagram of utilities positioning.  And there you are, left to stew and slow burn as your installation starts off at a painfully slow snail’s pace.

Do you have any helpful tips or questions about power and utilities?  Send them along to Mitch Isaacs – Sales & Marketing Manager – mitch@lvexpo.com

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