Inaugural event draws more than 270 participants from around the world

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, which took place Tuesday, September 11 through Thursday, September 13 at Aquatherm’s world headquarters in Attendorn, Germany, 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.

A session designed especially for architects and planners featured three additional speakers. Eike Becker (Eike Becker – Architects, Berlin), Stefan Holst (Transsolar Energietechnik, Stuttgart) and Jan Musikowski (Richter Musikowski, Berlin) presented current aesthetically and technologically challenging design examples from their practices.

From sustainability to digitization

Keynote speaker Matthias Horx opened the first day of the BIGGEXCHANGE. The influential futurologist talked about “The Power of Megatrends — How Digitalization, Urbanization and NEO-ecology are Changing Our World for the Better.” He explained various megatrends as well as their corresponding countertrends. In addition, he introduced the “Future Evolution House,” which is not a smart home in the sense of full automation of functions, but rather a home that is based on human relationships.

Dr. Alexander Rieck, who conducts research at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organization in Stuttgart and is a partner and director of the international architecture firm Lava, spoke about “Future Construction Digital — How Building Will Change in the Digital Age.”

“We have a construction industry that has not been productive in the last 20 years,” Dr. Rieck said. “Instead of investing in new planning methods it has been invested in cheap labor. We need to change that.” He added this could be accomplished with “non-linear” planning.

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.

Focus on BIM

One major focus of the event was an in-depth examination of building information modeling (BIM). Professor David Chua from the National University of Singapore reported 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.

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 suggested where the commercial MEP industry might be headed in the near future.

Dr. Nicolai Ritter, solicitor at the Berlin office of the international law company CMS, talked about BIM and law.

“This method for optimizing the planning, building, and administrating of real estate by means of digital models is legally not problematic nor does it raise new legal risks,” Ritter said. “However, it is necessary to correctly understand the legally applicable rules and to accurately represent BIM.” In his presentation he gave tips on contracting, fees, and liability issues.

Communication expert Peter Heinrich discussed the importance of voluntary corporate social responsibility (CSR). Heinrich, the managing partner of Heinrich GmbH — Agency for Communication in Ingolstadt, explained to the participants of the BIGGEXCHANGE which points are essential for successful CSR communications.

Management Consultant Robert Egger explained how the latest findings from neurophysics can help boost worker efficiency. Egger, who is also an ambassador of the Shaolin temple, finished the first conference day by introducing the attendees to some practical exercises to that end.

Second conference day focused on sustainability and technology

The second conference day started with another keynote speaker: 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.

Following Hoballah, Julia Goerke from Thinkstep AG pointed out how important sustainable building is.

“The construction sector plays a key role in international and national climate policy because it causes one-third of global CO2emissions from construction site through use to demolition,” Goerke said. “For this reason, measures have been taken for years to reduce environmental pollution from the construction sector.” She introduced the BIGGEXCHANGE participants to a number of certification systems for sustainable buildings and spoke about the requirements in the field of building services.

Information about the interaction between building construction and building fire protection was provided by Manfred Lippe, one of the leading experts in building fire protection in Germany. He discussed various bulkheading options for walls or ceilings and provided examples of how to prevent the transmission of fire and smoke during a building fire.

How ice energy storage and power-generating roofs can contribute to the energy transition was explained by Heiko Lüdemann. Based on concrete examples, the managing director of Viessmann Eis-Energiespeicher GmbH showed the participants tools through which they can best meet the heating and cooling requirements in new and existing buildings while making them nearly carbon dioxide-free.

Using natural forces

The focus of the BIGGEXCHANGE was not only on urbanization and digitization, but also on climate change and sustainability.

Bernd Schwarzfeld, the founder of the Ökoplan engineering office and an expert on building technical plants, illustrated why climate change is the result of planned actions.

The attendees learned from Martin Palsa, managing director of Grundfos GmbH, how digitization will change the role of pumps. Palsa presented the concept “iSolutions,” in which pumps are integrated into complex systems. Monitoring, operation, and analysis of pumps by cloud-based applications are all elements in this new concept.

Professor Brian Cody, head of the faculty for building and energy of the Graz Technical University, talked about the maximization of building energy performance by using natural forces.

“In the design of buildings, we have to work with the existing natural forces,” he said, providing numerous examples of how this can succeed.

The second conference day ended with a presentation by Jürgen Hahnrath, head of industry solution sales at Cisco Systems Deutschland. Hahnrath’s lecture dealt with the Internet of Things (IoT) and showed how the vast amounts of data acquired from machines, buildings, and vehicles can be used for planning and controlling purposes. As an example, he mentioned the optimization of lighting in a city, which can be adapted based on weather and traffic data.

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, along with his brothers Maik and Christof, of Aquatherm. To that end, the attendees were provided with numerous opportunities to network, at two evening events as well as the breaks between lectures.

Ich gratuliere Ihnen herzlich zu dieser großartigen, gut besuchten und sehr erfolgreichen ersten BIGGEXCHANGE. Danke, dass Sie mich eingeladen haben, Teil dieses Abenteuers und der interessanten Reise zu sein.

Vielen Dank für die Einladung, es war eine großartige Konferenz. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu einem solchen Erfolg, das ist eine großartige Initiative.

Glückwunsch zu der gelungen Veranstaltung. Das war echt klasse und hat richtig Spaß gemacht.

Mein Kompliment für eine sehr gelungene Veranstaltung! Es für mich ein toller Event, dem ich jederzeit auch zugetraut hätte, bereits zum x-ten Mal stattzufinden und voll etabliert zu sein.

 Nochmals vielen Dankfür die inspirierende und schöne Veranstaltung!

Die aktuellsten Themen, die Symposium Organisation, die eingeladenen Referenten und Gäste, der Gastgeber und das Design vom Ganzen – einfach alles war auf dem höchsten Niveau durchgedacht und durchgeführt.

Noch einmal vielen Dank für die tolle Organisation der BIGGEXCHANGE. Die Veranstaltung war wirklich gelungen und hat uns viele interessante Impulse und spannende Kontakte gebracht.

Diese Veranstaltung ist sicher in dieser Form einzigartig und hat neben den hochinteressanten Fachvorträgen eine Vielzahl von neuen Kontakten gebracht. Der fachliche Austausch gab eine Reihe von neuen Impulsen.

Ich möchte mich nochmal bei Euch für die Organisation und Betreuung während der letzten zwei Tage bedanken. Noch immer bin ich völlig überwältigt von den kreativen Impulsen, die die Redner bei mir ausgelöst haben.

Hochinteressante Vorträge, hochkarätige Teilnehmer und nicht zuletzt eine perfekte Organisation führten dieses Event zu einem vollen Erfolg.

Hohe Qualität ist ein Markenzeichen Eurer Produkte – hohe Qualität hatte auch dieses Event: Organisation, Catering und Redner – alles absolut TOP!

Haben Sie vielen Dank für die gelungene Veranstaltung BIGGEXCHANGE. Für uns waren die Tage intensiv, hilfreich und horizonterweiternd. Dafür herzlichen Dank ebenso wie für Ihre tolle Gastfreundschaft.

Es war eine tolle Gelegenheit aus der Engstirnigkeit unseres Alltagsgeschäftes auszubrechen. Meine und unsere gemeinsame Aufgabe besteht jetzt darin, die vielen Impulse in konkretes Handeln zu übertragen. Neben den vielen interessanten Kontakten waren die beiden Come Together Veranstaltungen rundum gelungen. Ihr Service, die Qualität des Essens und der Shuttleservice haben keine Wünsche offen gelassen. Besonders die Wahl der Location fand ich sehr gelungen.

Einfach hervorragend. Die Veranstaltung war perfekt organisiert und ich war beeindruckt von der Liebe zum Detail, die von den Sprechern bis hin zu den Logo gravierten Äpfeln reichte. Ich habe meine Notizen bereits mehrmals durchgeschaut. Es gibt viel zum Nachdenken.