BAU 2009 Attracts 211,000 Visitors

BAU 2009 attracted 211,000 visitors, which is yet another new record for the event and also a tremendous vote of confidence in the sector for the year of business to come. In the exhibition halls there was very little sign of the financial and economic crisis – this was the almost unanimous view of the exhibitors. "Nobody is complaining, instead they are all looking firmly towards the future." The visitors came from all over the world, 36,000 of them from 151 countries outside Germany.

On the fourth and fifth days of the fair in particular the halls were thronged with visitors, the stands were packed full and the corridors and gangways crowded. Many of the exhibitors reported a veritable rush of visitors to their stands: "We were virtually overrun with visitors." 2009 has turned out to be the best year ever in BAU´s over 40-year history.

1,924 exhibitors from 42 countries took part in this six-day event, which is Europe´s most important trade fair for architecture, materials and systems. Well ahead of the fair – one whole year before it started – the 180, 000 m2 of space earmarked for the event was virtually fully booked. Undeterred by the mood of crisis in other sectors, more and more visitors came along each day to the New Munich Trade Fair Centre to find out about the innovations and further developments in the building sector.

The visitors came from all areas of planning, design and construction – planners, architects and construction engineers were among them, as well as building entrepreneurs, building tradesmen and -women, building retailers and representatives of the housing industry. "We had a wide diversity of visitors coming along to our stand – from Bavarian joiners to Turkish construction engineers, " said Ludger Dederich, Head of Timber Construction Consultancy at the Holzabsatzfonds (German Timber Promotion Fund).

Most of the visitors came from Germany, followed by Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, Iran, France and Turkey. Attendance by visitors from outside Europe, from countries such as China and Japan, was also above-average – which is a clear indication of BAU´s elevated status even outside Europe. International participation was again high: over 36,000 visitors came from countries outside Germany. Commenting on this, Guido Wortmeier, authorised agent of Eduard Hueck GmbH, said: "Among the visitors that came to our stand was a high proportion of people from abroad, in particular we talked to lots of Russians." A similar comment came from Ivo Schintz, Managing Director of Tarkett: "We were able to welcome even more international guests than in 2007, in particular from Eastern Europe."

Full exhibition halls, a positive atmosphere, a mood of confidence and intensive business talks at the superbly designed stands – that was the picture throughout the exhibition centre. "BAU has shown that our sector is refusing to be discouraged by the economic crisis, " declared Dieter Schäfer, Chairman of the Advisory Board of BAU, speaking on behalf of many of his colleagues.

"The exhibiting companies are entering the new year with a great deal of optimism." With regard to the record results for this year´s fair, Dr Reinhard Pfeiffer, Managing Director of Messe München GmbH, also delivered a highly positive resumé of the event: "The trade fair surpassed even our high expectations. The tremendous effort which many of the exhibitors put into presenting their products at the fair shows very clearly that BAU is regarded as the absolute number one event in the sector, not only in Germany, but throughout Europe and beyond. In view of the gloomy economic forecasts, it was by no means certain that we would top the visitor record achieved in 2007. So, the result achieved this year is to be rated even more highly."

The positive statements by the exhibitors were also reflected in the results of a survey carried out by market researchers TNS Infratest. This showed that 89% of the exhibitors at the fair regarded BAU as the leading fair in the sector, with 94% giving it a rating of "excellent to good". Exhibitors also gave an even higher rating this year, as compared to 2007, to the quality of visitors at the event and the international spread reflected among them. For each of the factors of "paving the way for new business" and "laying the groundwork for follow-on orders", over 80% of the exhibitors said they had been successful. The logical consequence of this is that 96% of the exhibitors stated they would be taking part in BAU again in two years time.

The views expressed by the exhibitors were largely reflected in the results of a survey of visitors, also conducted by TNS Infratest. Almost all the visitors – or 96% – were trade visitors. 88% described themselves as "decision-makers", around 38,000 came from architectural practices, design and engineering offices. BAU´s reputation among the visitors has risen once again. Almost all the visitors – or precisely 96% – rated the fair as "excellent to good". They particularly liked the depth and breadth of the range on show, the presence of market leaders, the clear layout of the exhibition and the international spread among the exhibitors.

Alongside the tours of BAU 2009 arranged for architects, there were also tours specially for representatives of the housing industry and for building tradesmen and -women. Each tour lasted around two-and-a-half hours, which gave the participants plenty of time to find out about products related specifically to their interests.

BAU was officially opened, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, by Wolfgang Tiefensee, Germany´s Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, and Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission. The building industry, said Tiefensee, could play a strong part in counteracting the impending economic downturn. He also affirmed that the sector could rely on support from the government in the new package of economic measures.

The 'Future of Building' and 'MacroArchitecture' Forums proved to be real magnets for the visitors. In particular the 'Future of Building' Forum at times resembled an overfilled lecture hall at university, with the audience hanging on every word of the speaker. Leading international architects such as Volkwin Marg, Stefan Behnisch, Michael Zimmermann, Eckhard Gerber and Françoise Hélène Jourda gave lectures here on themes that included 'Mega cities, ' 'Energy and architecture, ' 'Living today and tomorrow'.

Outstanding themes at BAU were energy-efficient and sustainable building. A congress on these themes, entitled 'Sustainable and energy-efficient building for the future', organised by the German Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs (BMVBS), attracted 1, 200 participants. Corresponding certificates were awarded for the first time by the BMVBS and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen (DGNB – German Association for Sustainable Building).

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