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More than 270 architects, planners, engineers, contractors, wholesalers and suppliers from around the world accepted Aquatherm GmbH’s invitation to gain insights into the latest trends in the commercial and industrial construction industries at the inaugural BIGGEXCHANGE.
The event took place Sept. 11-13 at Aquatherm’s world headquarters in Attendorn, Germany, and drew attendees from across the globe, including Germany, the United States, South Korea, China, Finland, and New Zealand. They came to gain the perspectives of 16 world-class experts from architecture, industry, and science.
Presentations Tackle Today’s Topics
One focus of the event was an in-depth examination of building information modeling. Professor David Chua from the National University of Singapore spoke about BIM in the context of manufacturing and assembly-ready product design.
"The future of construction lies in the field of prefabrication and integrated BIM,” Chua said.
Dr. Ing. Matthias Jacob from Implenia Hochbau GmbH, demonstrated how innovative tools are changing the construction industry. His presentation included 3D-printed concrete houses, a digital wood construction process with the help of robots, and the collection of data by drones, which is becoming increasingly important in the construction industry.
Management Consultant Robert Egger explained how the latest findings from neurophysics can help boost worker efficiency.
Communication expert Peter Heinrich discussed the importance of voluntary corporate social responsibility. Heinrich, the managing partner of Heinrich GmbH - Agency for Communication in Ingolstadt, explained to the participants of the BIGGEXCHANGE which points are essential to successful CSR communication
Steve Butler, senior industry strategist for MEP at Autodesk, noted that low productivity and environmental concerns are forcing changes in how buildings are designed, constructed, and maintained, and discussed some of the emerging trends that are enabling those changes and suggest where the commercial MEP industry might be headed in the near future.
The speech of futurologist Matthias Horx was met with great interest as he explained various megatrends, countertrend trends, and the resulting syntheses between the two.
Eleven other experts gave the audience plenty of food for thought, including Arab Hoballah, who served for 25 years as an expert on urbanization and sustainability for the United Nations.
"We have the technology to do business sustainably, but we do not use it," Hoballah said, noting that he sees it as a responsibility of politicians to change this situation.
Networking, Exchanges of Expertise a Priority
The numerous lectures were an important part of the event, but of equal importance was the exchange of expertise.
"Intense communication between people means that today's visions can be put into reality tomorrow," explained Dirk Rosenberg, a managing director of Aquatherm, along with his brothers Malik and Christof. To that end, the attendees were provided with numerous opportunities to network, at two evening events as well as the breaks between lectures.
The idea of holding a symposium and networking event for the leaders of the construction industry was triggered by a study by McKinsey, an international business and strategy consultancy, titled "Reinventing Construction — A Route to Higher Productivity.”
"The result of the study was that the construction industry has the greatest potential for the future compared to other sectors of the economy," said Dirk. "Quite quickly, my brothers and I came to the realization that many valuable and leading minds are needed for a binding design and a compelling acceleration of the industry. This realization led us to the laying of the foundation stone of this first BIGGEXCHANGE.”
This vision was suggested to the guests by the name of the event. In BIGGEXCHANGE, the word "exchange" indicates networking and sharing ideas, while “big” has three meanings: large buildings, which are playing an increasingly important role in the world because of urbanization and sustainability; the presence of the leaders in the construction industry to whom the event was directed; and a local reference to the Bigge River that flows through the event grounds and is the namesake of nearby Biggesee Reservoir.
Maik Rosenberg said that with this inaugural BIGGEXCHANGE, “We have now put into practice our vision at the time of organizing a trend-setting international symposium and network event for the construction industry and plant engineering,” Maik said. “We must tackle things, and there were many people at the event who wanted exactly that. That's why we bring a lot of positive energy and look forward to the challenges the future holds."
Christof Rosenberg said the enthusiasm of the attendees has the company “intensively” considering a second BIGGEXCHANGE event, and North American Vice President of Marketing Barry Campbell said there is a “high likelihood of a similar event taking place on this continent in the future.”