The ICC Birmingham stands on the site originally occupied by Bingley Hall, Great Britain's first purpose built exhibition hall, built in 1850 but destroyed by a fire in 1983. Building work began in 1984 and took 4 years and 5 months to complete at a total cost of £200m, of which £49.7m was funded by the European Council.
Architects Percy Thomas Partnership and Renton Howard Wood Levin designed the building and acoustics were by Artec Consultants. The foundation stone was laid by Jacques Delors. During construction, 60,000 cubic metres of concrete were used and 1,500 workers employed on the site.
In April 1991, the ICC opened to its first conference, BSAVA congress, and the venue was officially opened by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II on 12 June 1991. H.M. The Queen then attended the International Olympic Committee 97th Session and the opening was further marked by a Royal Gala Performance within Symphony Hall.
During the next seven years, the ICC played host to many high profile events including The Council of Ministers of the Western European Union, Lions Club International and a European Championship Football draw.
In 1998, the ICC was chosen to host the G8 Summit and welcomed the presidents of the leading eight global nations including Tony Blair and Bill Clinton. In 2000, The Informal Meeting of NATO Defence Ministers was held and more recently the ICC has become the experienced home of the political conference. The ICC was chosen to hold the first meeting of the Cabinet outside London since 1921 in September 2008 and The Conservative Party held their annual conference at The ICC in 2008, 2010 and 2012, and will return again in 2014. The Liberal Democrats and Labour Party have also held conferences at the venue meaning that it is the only UK venue to have hosted events by all three main UK political parties in recent years.
As well as political conferences, the ICC is renowned for its ability to hold large national and international conferences. The BSAVA congress which was held first in 1991 returns annually and is the venue's largest conference utilising all of the ICC and overflowing into sister venue The NIA via a covered walkway. The venue also has a reputation for excellence when it comes to hosting scientific conferences and has hosted everything from Royal College of Ophthalmologists to the British Orthopaedic Association.
As a state of the art, iconic building, the ICC won several awards including the Institution of Civil Engineers Project Award in 1992, was highly commended by the British Construction Industry Awards in 1991 and was applauded for its support given to young engineers in 1994.