Well over a thousand delegates from the private rental sector gathered in London’s ExCel on the 2nd of April to attend the Annual ARLA Propertymark Conference and exhibition. The event is the largest and most attended event in the lettings calendar and returned to London’s ExCeL in April this year and Protec European Events were trusted by their client Westrade Group Ltd to provide a full event technical service package.

Moderated by BBC News presenter Julian Worricker, the conference focussed on the importance of legislation, and how to keep abreast of industry issues. Topics high on the agenda this year included Property Standards, the Tenant Fees Act, along with exploring business models of the future, the types of agencies that are best placed to survive the rapidly changing landscape along with a panel debate in the morning on property standards and licensing. Speakers included Mrs Heather Wheeler MP –  Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Peter E. Savage – ARLA PropertymarkPresident, David Cox – ARLA PropertymarkChief Executive, Daniel Barea – Customer Insights Manager for Rightmove, Dr Julie Rugg from the University of York, Tim Harford OBE  – World-renowned behavioural economist, author, and a senior journalist at the Financial Times, Robert Bolwell and Gina Peters from Dutton Gregory Solicitors.

Protec were on hand to plan out every detail alongside their client using trusted brands and their highly skilled staff for complete reliability.

Project manager Fraser McCaig talked us through the specifics of how Protec delivered this successful event.


“Protec designed and built the 40m x 4.2m stage with six integrated 4m high x 1m wide LED video columns supported by OV40 truss 4m colums that we anchored to 100kg steel base plates with the set covered by seven colour Polycril wraps. We recessed the centre section of the set with laser line graphics for branding which was enhanced with DMX controlled LED strips on both sides and on top. The animated graphics designed by our design team for the LED video columns broke up the set really well and we also used these video columns to announce speakers. In addition to the stage and set, James Bramwell who runs the scenic and set department, needed to design and build six identical lecterns that he finished with Perspex insert panels to cover the various discussions and presentations throughout the day. We also handled the full graphic design of all the stage and branding elements for the client.”

Head of the video department– Sean Godefroy opted for Christie 14k projectors for the two screens, Analog Way PLS 350G switchers controlled by an Orchestra desk. Alongside that, he used Master Cue so the client felt they were in control of their presentations. He used two JVC HM 890 fibre studio cameras that fed the live feed to the two 5.4m screens.

Ben Waters, head of audio, talked us through the audio solutions.

“We chose to use the very compact Nexo M620 Line array, with four hangs on the truss, plus two wider fills as well as centralised subs for even coverage. The room was extremely wide, with a fairly short depth and most important not a lot of height. To combat this we used multiple smaller hangs of M620 which was key to keep the sound uniform and clear. We processed everything through a Yamaha QL5 which is great for speed of workflow as well as getting a lot for its size. The microphones were all Sennheiser Ew500 series, with flesh headsets for the key speakers and Audio-technica lectern mics on the podiums as a back-up.”

“This is the fifth year that we have worked with Westrade and ARLA Propertymark and each year our challenge has been improving the set & stage design to keep pace with the year on year increase in delegate numbers.  We were really pleased with the look of this year’s design and the six integrated video LED columns added an extra dimension to the set. Because the set was so wide and rigging points plentiful in the Platinum Suites, Pete Sarson, our lighting designer for the show was able to make good use of the Clay Paky K10 moving lights, generic lamps, Thomas Pixel Line LED battens and DMX LED ribbon strips built into the centre section recessed canopy” adds Mr. McCaig.

With 1100 delegates Protec had to keep the projection screens as large as possible using Christie Roadster HD14K projectors, ideal with their quiet running and compact size. The Nexo M6 line array audio system gave perfect coverage across the room.  Two JVC HM890 fibre studio cameras were used throughout the day and one was fitted with a Fujinon HA42x long zoom lens for close up lectern shots.

 “It was quite a smooth and well planned event and with a committed team all working together and the benefit of providing the full package ourselves – not waiting on other suppliers, we were able to ensure everything was ready on time for rehearsal and every element was perfect. We’d like to thank our clients for putting their faith in Protec once again, we look forward to growing this relationship even more. The 2020 conference will be the 25th anniversary year for ARLA Propertymark so I’ve already started working on improvements to the set & stage design and the seating capacity,” summed up Mr. McCaig.

The feedback from the clients mirrored Mr. McCaig’s views with Protec being commended:

“It is always a pleasure working with Protec and Fraser in particular. Working on an event the size of ARLA Propertymark takes months of careful planning and intricate details and I felt hugely supported by Fraser and his team. They are always just on the end of the phone. The whole team really bring the stage set to life each year and I always look forward to working with them.” Chantel Avis, Event Manager, Westrade Group Ltd. 

Paul Allott is a director and co-founder of Event Industry News, Event Tech Live and the Event Technology Awards.