Innovation in the trade fair business: digitalBAU in Cologne has a “conference & networking“ event every 2 years in Munich

Scanner for the construction site from company <a href=""target="_blank">Clone IT</a>.Scanner for the construction site from company <a href=""target="_blank">NavVis</a>.

The trade fair company wants to accompany the comprehensive digital transformation in the construction industry with it

The construction and real estate industries are undergoing a profound transformation, encompassing all areas from the planning and construction of buildings to their operation, demolition, and recycling of materials. The BAU trade fair in Munich, the largest construction trade fair in the world every 2 years, had therefore its offshoot digitalBAU in February 2020. Both took place in the annual alternation, the BAU in Munich and the digitalBAU in Cologne.

Now the trade fair company has come up with another innovation: digitalBAU is to be held annually in the future to accompany “the digital transformation in the construction industry,“ as it says on the webpage.

For this it is to proceed alternating in 2 variants: on the one hand as usual as fair in Cologne, on the other hand as a congress with attached product show in Munich. “digitalBAU conference & networking“ is the title of the new event, which was first organized from July 04 to 06, 2023.

The background for the innovation is described in a press release: the upheaval in the construction industry is so comprehensive (keyword: Building Information Modeling, BIM) that the trade fair organizer also wants to accompany it with a communicative event where those involved can learn and exchange ideas.

Project manager Otto Nowack gives details of the program: “In addition to lectures and discussion rounds, we offer workshops, think tanks, master classes, and also a bar camp (open conference).“

Working in cyberspace.Working in cyberspace.

Press spokesperson Felix Kirschenbauer adds when asked: “Basically, after the pandemic, the need for personal exchange and on-site meetings has increased.“

One of the central topics in the conference program of the first digitalBAU conference & networking was BIM. With BIM, a virtual twin of the building is created whose possibilities go far beyond the classic construction plans: during the construction phase, the construction manager can react digitally to malfunctions and thus reduce costs; during the operational phase, all modifications to the building are documented in the virtual twin and can still be identified after several decades; during demolition, a database is available on the material stock present in the building so that materials can be separated and reused on site.

So much for the ideal case, where people on the construction site have to submit to the demands of digital planning in order to benefit from it.

Exhibitors at the new conference-within-fair in Munich were often companies that had been founded only a few years ago. Mostly young people stood at the booths with company names in freestyle like “Kaulquappe” (Tadpole). They showed innovative services, such as camera systems that record the interior of a building in every detail, following the example of Google Street View, concreting with the latest sensor technology, mobile time recording, software for capacity planning, or lean construction.

Overall, the trade fair landscape seems to be on the move: already in the case of the furniture and interior design fair Salone de Mobile 2023 in Milan, we had reported on an innovative innovation, where in 2 halls the traditional rectangular grid of the stands had been loosened in favor of a boulevard.

digitalBAU, Cologne, February 20 – 22, 2024

BAU, Munich, January 13 – 17, 2025 (shortened by one day)

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(30.08.2023, USA: 08.30.2023)