Visitors from all over the world – architects, planners, construction engineers, building entrepreneurs, building tradesmen, retailers, wholesalers and others – made the journey to Munich, despite the severe storm raging over northern Europe on Thursday and Friday. For the first time in its over 40-year history BAU surpassed the 200,000 mark for visitor numbers.
Never before has the audience been so international in scope, a fact also noted by the exhibitors. Over 36,000 trade visitors – more than ever before – came from abroad. This represents a leap of 20% in the proportion of international visitors attending the fair. The number of countries of origin spanned by the visitors also set a new record, at 143. Particularly strong growth was seen in visitor numbers from eastern and southeastern Europe. From Slovenia (1738), Latvia (526) and the new EU member state Romania (611) around three times as many visitors were recorded as at BAU 2005. Twice as many visitors as last time came from Poland (702), Russia (1347), Turkey (1337), Greece (805) and the other new EU member state Bulgaria (415). Significant rises were also noted in visitor numbers from the Middle East and East Asia, in particular from Iran (894), Korea (661) and the United Arab Emirates (191). Other countries of origin where numbers were also noticeably up were Austria (6162), Switzerland (2122), Italy (2435), France (646) and the Netherlands (560).
The high number of visitor registrations was also reflected in the impressions gained by the exhibitors. Torsten Pyzalski, Head of Marketing Services at Dorma, explained: “We have been coming to BAU for many years, but there have never been so many international visitors as this time. We talked to people from a wide range of different countries.” Similar sentiments were expressed by Peter Maier, Director of Sales and Marketing at Erlus: “BAU is becoming more and more international. Our international business has been given a further boost by BAU.” More international visitors at their stands was also commented upon by companies like Glas Trösch, Interpane, Hörmann and Wicona.
Full halls, a great atmosphere among the exhibitors and visitors, and intensive talks at the stands – that was the dominant picture at the exhibition centre. Many exhibitors commented on the professional level of the talks they had with very well informed visitors, who were specifically looking for information. In some cases these talks resulted in sales being concluded at the fair, as reported by Dieter Schäfer, Chairman of Deutscher Steinzeug: “We didn’t just advise visitors but also concluded sales, or advance sales. The atmosphere impressively confirmed the positive early indicators of an upturn in the building industry. Right across the building trades, we heard reports of an optimistic mood.” In some cases, commented Roger Görg of ThyssenKrupp, “customers came along with plans for specific projects, which they then spread out on the table and discussed with our sales people.”
The visitor survey showed clearly that BAU 2007 reached even more architects, planners and construction engineers than before. The proportion of visitors falling into this category was 18% (2005: 15%), which corresponds to around 36,000 visitors. 88% (84%) of the visitors described themselves as ‘decision-makers’. The number of first-time visitors rose sharply (41% / 2005: 31%). So, too, did the number of repeat visitors (32% / 23%). The survey also revealed that more and more visitors – in 2007 almost one third – are spending several days at BAU.
In view of this positive feedback, the managing director of Messe München, Norbert Bargmann, also expressed great satisfaction: “More visitors, a greater international scope and therefore an extended reach – the results of this fair have exceeded our expectations. Around the world the trend is once again upwards in the construction industry. I am particularly pleased about the increased number of visitors from the Middle East and East Asia, in particular from Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Korea. BAU is now well on the way to becoming the world´s leading trade fair for the sector. It brings architects and planners from all over the world together with the building trade and building professionals, thus creating a unique platform for dialogue and exchange between all those involved in the building industry.”
The positive impressions gained by the exhibitors were also reflected in the survey of exhibitors conducted by opinion pollsters tns infratest. According to this survey BAU 2007 scored higher than BAU 2005 (which itself had achieved excellent ratings) in almost all categories. 93% (2005: 89%) of exhibitors and 92% (89%) of visitors rated BAU 2007 as ‘excellent to good’. 87% of exhibitors (84%) and 86% (82%) of visitors described the event as the leading trade fair in the sector. Almost all the exhibitors praised the quality and international spread of the visitors, while visitors mentioned in particular the completeness and breadth of the range, and the presence of market leaders. In the category of ‘goal achievement’ BAU 2007 also scored higher than at the last event two years ago. 92% (88%) of the exhibitors said they had been successful in their goal of consolidating existing business relations, 85% (77%) said they had made new business contacts. On the visitor side, 86% (87%) gave a rating of ‘excellent to good’ to their achievement of the goal of general market orientation, with 81% (78%) giving the same rating to the goal of gathering information about new products. The importance of BAU as regards learning and exchanging experience was also expressly commented upon by the visitors. In the rating of the individual sections at the fair, almost all of them were described as ‘excellent to good’ by around 90% of the visitors.
Energy-efficient building and renovations and modernisation were the big themes at BAU 2007. At almost all stands products and technologies were presented which would help save energy or which were specially developed for R&M work. “The subjects of energy-saving and R&M really hit a nerve with the visitors,” commented Thomas Lauritzen from Schüco.
BAU 2007 was officially opened by Wolfgang Tiefensee, the German Minister for Transport, Construction and Urban Development. “We have passed through the bottom of the economic cycle, and can see light at the end of the tunnel,” declared the minister. His comments set the tone for the days that were to follow. Minister Tiefensee also opened a two-day congress on energy-efficient building, in the presence of the EU´s Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs. Around 500 participants took part in this event held in the International Congress Centre (ICM), discussing, debating and informing themselves about the regulatory aspects and government funding and support.
A real magnet for visitors to the fair were the forums ‘Clima Design meets Visions of Glass’ and ‘Macroarchitecture’. The lounges resembled crowded university lecture halls. Each day hundreds of people, among them many students, came to hear the lectures given here by world-renowned speakers from industry, research and development. Topics on the programme included sustainable building, transparent building skins, new materials and surfaces and the use of glass in construction. Leading representatives from industry and architecture used the forums to exchange knowledge and experience. Special forums were also set up on IT for construction, solar horizons and urban design, each with a daily lecture programme. “The wide-ranging programme with high-ranking speakers was exemplary,” said Manfred Ploke, Board Member of Interpane. In the survey, the accompanying programme to BAU 2007 was rated as ‘excellent to good’ by 90% (75%) of exhibitors and 82% (77%) of visitors. These results were even better than in 2005.
The special displays on lifts and escalators, solar horizons and urban design met with an excellent response. Albert Schenk, Head of Osma Lifts and Chairman of the VDMA trade association for manufacturers of lifts and escalators, said he was “surprised by the number of qualified contacts. We hadn´t expected it like this.” At the stand of SunTechnics in the ‘Solar Horizons’ display area, the visitors were particularly interested in complete, ready-made solar systems. “A noticeably large number of visitors from abroad, in particular from southern and eastern Europe, but also from Asia and the Middle East,” had found their way to the SunTechnics stand.