Four Trends from World’s Biggest Build Expo
It’s not easy staying on top of industry trends and new products, but 19 buildings filled with the industry’s brightest minds certainly makes it easier. The BAU trade show, held every two years in Munich, Germany, brings together every branch of the construction industry from across the world to exchange, share and build new ideas. It’s described as the world’s leading trade fair for architecture, materials, and systems. There is no shortage of innovation and interdisciplinary collaborations for commercial and residential construction and interior work.
This past January, BAU 2019 comprised 2,250 exhibitors from 45 countries showcasing their products and solutions across more than 2.1 million sq. ft. of exhibition space – it’s nearly impossible not to develop a fear of missing out. Visitor numbers reached 250,000, including 85,000 from over 150 countries – helping BAU prove itself as an efficient international platform for the construction industry.
Around every corner, I was impressed by progressive idea generating that saw no limits or barriers. It was a true showcase of planners, architects, tradespeople, and material retailers with a passion for questioning the status quo.
My take on BAU 2019:
It may come as no surprise that this item has made my list of stand-outs when it comes to industry trends. What impresses me are the rising digital solutions and tools available to help integrate industry collaboration into day-to-day practices, allowing skilled trades and architecture to work seamlessly alongside one another. There is an increasing importance of digitization in the construction sector. This year I’ve seen giant steps in digitization as it’s picking up pace around the world, and fundamentally changing the way we plan, manufacture, and build. From reducing error rates to enhancing quality and improving transparency, digital-based methods are opening new and exciting possibilities. More than four exhibition spaces at BAU focused on this theme.
As North American consumers strive to become more sustainable and energy efficient, the building sector does, too. In doing so, we often evaluate long-set trends in Europe as a guiding path forward. They have been mindful of smart building, including sustainability and energy efficiency, for many years and it’s visible in every aspect of material innovation, design considerations, and building techniques. An example of this is the transformation of everyday windows, which have become more energy efficient with the use of noble gases between glass panes to reduce heat transfer via convection, the use of reflective coatings to reduce heat transfer via radiation, and incorporating three glass panes into the window design instead of two. BAU 2019 was a great discovery trip to see firsthand what new trends we can expect to see infiltrate our industries over the next few years.
Showcasing leaps we’ve recently made, BAU is where Dörken featured a new material production process that is an efficient management of resources and energy savings. With a new high-tech production factory in Germany equipped for the future, the introduction of BiCo technology has allowed us to combine different materials into high-quality bi-component fibers – giving the fiber a broader range of properties such as improved UV resistance and increased long-term durability. With the BiCo process, the following elements make the difference:
- A special extrusion process reduces the impact of moisture on the raw material within the production. Removing this drying process reduces the energy required by 40%
- The machine can process PET ‘flakes’ instead of the classic ‘granules.’ This makes it easier to use recycled raw materials and 5% less energy is used during the processing itself compared to granules
- A new technical process makes it easier to melt polymers (fibers) to create the final film. Because of these lower temperatures, 10% of energy can be recovered
Around the world, limited living spaces and rising costs of construction are changing residential design and construction. Everyone is trying to further development in a smart and conservative manner that connects living and working, public areas, and open spaces to ensure a quality urban living environment in higher-density regions. To do this, planners are using new living models that uncover underutilized data, resources, energy, and software, allowing them to respond and build smarter and more efficiently. Smart technology and module-based construction are the driving force in response to rapid population growth, mobility, and social changes, in addition to increasing pressures of time and costs for planners and builders. A clear idea at BAU: Architects and home buyers do not want to compromise design and individuality with the return of prefabrication or mass production. With innovative material supplies, intelligent light, and smart buildings, modern building will combine aesthetics and efficiency.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
This year, BAU introduced a new digital service that allowed exhibitors to immerse attendees in unique product experiences—providing a one-of-a-kind emotional and memorable experience. With the idea that traditional booth space is limited, and digital space is unlimited, BAU VIRTUAL extended presentation options to a new platform. VR and AR are game changers for construction.
Are you wondering what augmented reality is? It’s the incorporation of a computer-generated image on a person’s view of the real world. It provides a view of both what the world and work actually look like and what it could look like. There is current software featuring 3D modeling, but virtual reality turns these 3D models into something you can work in, interacting with the design to make changes in real time. Imagine accelerating the construction process and having the opportunity to navigate each phase of production, viewing challenges stages ahead, and identifying product selection and installation technique improvements. It will also take professional training to a new level, changing the way we learn and practice techniques and installations hands on. This offers inexpensive training and provides experts with experience doing dangerous jobs they wouldn’t normally be able to access.
Expect to see what we learned at BAU 2019 in these areas to be ingrained in our CEU courses and professional events, and further brought to life as we continue our progressive product research and development. Together, we can be a force driving sustainability and efficiency in every stage of building and construction.
For a deeper look into product trends witnessed at BAU 2019, Matt Risinger and Jordan Smith break down what they’d like to see utilized and sold across the pond in North America. Watch here.