For the first time ever, 80,000 of the more than 250,000 visitors who attended BAU 2017 were from abroad. As a result, BAU, the World's Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems, managed once again to make significant gains at the international level (2015: 72,000 visitors). With more than 65,000 visitors from architecture and planning offices, BAU managed yet again to solidify its reputation as a trade fair for architects. With a total of 2,120 exhibitors from 45 countries, it also set a new record for the number of exhibitors.
Reinhard Pfeiffer, the Managing Director responsible for the fair, is pleased with the results: “Once again, BAU has set a number of new records. In doing so, it has done an impressive job of demonstrating its position as a driving force behind innovation and a source of momentum to the construction industry.” Dieter Schäfer, Chairman of the BAU Exhibitor Advisory Board, was also thrilled: “From the exhibitors' perspective, BAU was a complete success. It rightfully bears the title ‘World's Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems.’ For Martin J. Hörmann, Deputy Chairman of the BAU Exhibitor Advisory Board, BAU is "the industry highlight every two years.”
Once again, the Top 10 countries of visitor origin included three countries from outside the EU: Turkey (3,055 visitors/2015: 3,716), Russia (2,868/2015: 2,500) and China. The already large number of Chinese trade visitors increased once again (2,235 visitors/2015: 2,096), and China improved its ranking in the Top 10.
During BAU, Messe München announced that it has acquired a majority share of FENESTRATION CHINA, China's most important trade fair for windows, doors and facades. “As the future organizer of FENESTRATION BAU China, the fact that our key exhibitors have responded so positively to this news is extremely important,” explained Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer. According to Cathy Peng, founder of FENESTRATION CHINA and future co-owner of the new FENESTRATION BAU China, combining FENESTRATION CHINA with segments from BAU and BAU Congress China is clearly a ‘win-win situation.’ The new joint platform FENESTRATION BAU China will take place for the first time in Shanghai from November 7 to 10, 2017. The merger has also allowed BAU to strengthen its position in China, the most important construction market in the world.
Once again, neighboring countries Austria (11,520 visitors), Switzerland (5,243) and Italy (5,013) topped BAU's list of visitor countries. The list of countries with the largest increases in the number of visitors shows that awareness about BAU is growing, even outside Europe. They include South Korea (1,301 visitors/+42%), the USA (792 visitors/+40%) and India (803/+59%).
“BAU was founded in 1964, and in its more than 50 year history, it has developed into an internationally respected mega event. Everyone who made their way through the fair's 17 exhibition halls was left with that impression,” explained Mirko Arend, Exhibition Director of BAU. The halls and exhibition stands were full from day one. As always, the halls were characterized by elaborately designed stand presentations—many two-stories high. The visitors that could be seen and heard at the stands came from around the world. The 2,120 exhibitors from 45 countries were well prepared. Many of them brought specially trained employees to BAU to better serve all the international guests. But even though BAU 2017 demanded complete dedication from its exhibitors, given all the new contacts, high-quality visitors and positive economic outlook, the atmosphere at the exhibition stands was outstanding.
As in the past, exhibitors were pleased with the internationality, quality and diversity of the trade visitors. The clear tenor: BAU is in an exceptional position, and it is the industry's most important trade fair—both at home and abroad. “Once again BAU has put its special status as the industry's leading international trade fair to the test,” explained Bernard Gualdi, Director of Corporate Communications at Braas. “BAU has proved more than ever that it is the leading international exhibition,” underscored Thomas Lauritzen from Schüco. Ayten Yilmaz from WICONA kept his remarks brief: “BAU is sensational.” Marc Everling, Director Marketing Communication at Interpane, praised the diversity of BAU's visitors: “BAU gives us access to the entire range of target groups.” Werner Hansmann, CEO of Saint-Gobain Rigips, described his impression: “There was a noticeable increase in the number of international contacts this year.” Hannes Spiss was at BAU with the Chinese company Northglass for the first time, and the Vice President was “completely overwhelmed. For us, participating again in 2019 is an absolute must.” When asked about the next BAU in two years, nearly all exhibitors gave the same answer: We'll be back!
BAU's position as the absolute number one in the industry was also verified by a survey of exhibitors conducted by market research institute Gelszus, the results of which are almost impossible to improve upon. According to the survey, nearly all exhibitors (98 percent) gave BAU a rating of good to excellent. Its character as a leading exhibition was recognized on a broad front (95 percent). 95 percent of exhibitors gave it top marks for quality, 91 percent for the share of international visitors. Less surprising: This time exhibitors gave the current state of the economy better marks than in 2015. 91 percent—compared to 81 percent two years ago—gave it a rating of good to excellent. Exhibitors also confirmed that the willingness to make concrete business deals has improved compared to 2015. Almost all exhibitors (98 percent) plan to participate again in 2019.
The results of the visitor survey remained stable at the highest level. Further improvement is hardly possible in this case, as well. As in 2015, 98 percent of visitors who attended BAU gave it a rating of good to excellent, and 96 percent plan to attend again in two years. Visitors gave the fair top marks for the scope and completeness of its exhibits (98 percent good to excellent) and for the presence of market leaders (95 percent). Visitor satisfaction was between 90 and 100 percent in all categories, which is also normal for BAU. 95 percent of visitors reported reaching their most important goal, which was to gather information about new developments. That was slightly more than in 2015. Nearly all visitors, exactly 95 percent, were trade visitors, and 62 percent said that they held management positions.
Even though BAU's most convincing qualities are the diversity of its visitors and the diverse range of topics that it covers, this year's fair revolved around two themes. The exhibitors in the BAU IT sector in Hall C3 demonstrated how strongly digitalization is influencing the future of building. The topic of building information modeling (BIM) was omnipresent there. The other topic that dominated the exhibition halls: Smart building elements and systems that have specific properties and react to outside influences—from door handles with finger scanners to energy-generating facades and system solutions for completely connected smart homes.
While BAU is known for the quality of its exhibitors and their stand presentations, that applies all the more to its supporting program. As in the past, the three exhibition forums were popular attractions at this year's fair. They were located in the middle of the halls (C2, A4 and B0), so visitors could hear the industry's hot topics explained by independent experts from the architecture, research and industrial sectors as they walked by—and free of charge! Presentations revolved around the digitalization of planning and construction, modular serial construction and the topic of ‘smart’. The Forum in Hall B0 also had an additional focal point for practical solutions for restoring and modernizing buildings. Real Estate Industry Day and Universities Day were also held there.
The exhibitors' presentations were accompanied by special shows on the main themes of BAU 2017 (Intelligent Facades—Digital Planning, Building and Operation—Networked Buildings—Building and Living 2020), covering various aspects and points of view. BAU's partners include renowned companies and organizations such as Fraunhofer-Allianz Bau, the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council), ift Rosenheim and GGT Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gerontotechnik ®.
BAU 2017 was officially opened by Dr. Barbara Hendricks, Germany's Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). In her speech, she referred to the construction industry as a “essential industry” for key social functions. She said that we are on the right track with housing construction initiatives. “Germany's construction sites are humming. After years of stagnation, we have seen the trend turn around.” After a full tour of the exhibition, the Minister opened the BMUB Conference, the title of which was “Construction policy is necessary!”
Once again, the Long Night of Architecture was a highlight of BAU. On Friday evening, more than 35,000 visitors wanted to experience 70 of Munich's buildings and architectural highlights while lighted up at night (see also BAU PI No. 19).
The next BAU will feature two new halls when it takes place at the Messe München trade fair center from January 14 to 19, 2019. The trade-fair center will then have 200,000 square meters of exhibition space.