Having arrived back in the UK after the madness of preparation and delivery at Sibos 2013 in Dubai, all is strangely quiet here in London – but give it a few days and I'm sure things will change. Understanding what to expect and planning are even more critical for large scale projects away from the comfort of the UK and such details are critical for any large event, but even more so when you simply cannot 'pop back to the office'. For those that haven't worked in Dubai before, a few points to consider, apart from the challenge of 'Friday',

• Watch the materials that you use for the project. Materials that would work well in other climates simply won't manage the heat and we have already seen laminates 'popping' off stands. We saw many a furrowed brow with laminates not sticking properly • Be mindful of the local working customs/practices - things don't always happen at the speed you might be used to and there is certainly much more structure in terms of the jobs that everyone will do. A painter isn't a driver etc. • Language. Whilst very obvious, not something to be overlooked. Whilst English is spoken widely it isn't always spoken well by the people actually doing the build, so getting across what you want is sometimes a challenge. • Site services - always have a backup plan. The best laid plans seem to suffer when the pressure is on – be that a faulty coffee machine or wifi that struggles to cope.

Overall, Sibos seemed a great event, with a huge number of delegates drawn from around the globe – all there to do one thing, business!

Having mastered the challenge of Dubai, the planning now starts for Boston in 2014, which I'm sure will bring something new, particularly in the use of labour/contractors and the restrictions through the use of the Unions.