Final Report: Record BAU: Over 250,000 visitors!

  • Huge international interest: 72,000 visitors from abroad
  • Exhibitors delighted with the international spectrum among the visitors
  • 65,000 visitors from architectural and planning offices
  • Enthusiastic exhibitors: “Overwhelming response”

BAU, the World´s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials and Systems, has broken through the 250,000-visitor barrier for the first time in its 50-year history. The six days of this fair—in which all the exhibition space has long been fully booked—attracted 251,200 visitors: that´s over 16,000 more than in 2013. The number of visitors from Germany rose of course, but most of the increase in overall numbers is due to visitors from outside Germany. Around 72,000 people came from abroad—that´s 20 percent more than last time. In its role as an “architects´ trade event”, BAU once again consolidated its reputation. Around 65,000 of the total number of visitors were from architectural and planning offices, which is another increase on the figures for 2013.
Photo: © Messe München GmbH – BAU 2015.
For Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy CEO of Messe München International, BAU has considerably exceeded the expectations of exhibitors and visitors: “With these new record figures, BAU has now also clearly proven itself to be the leading trade fair even beyond the EU. That is shown in the strong increase in visitor numbers from countries such as Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia.” Dieter Schäfer, Chairman of the Advisory Board of BAU and Chairman of the Board of Management of Deutsche Steinzeug Cremer & Breuer AG, also thinks that BAU “has put in an impressive demonstration of why it bears the title, World´s Leading Trade Fair. The quality and international spectrum among the visitors have once again increased.”
China (2,083 visitors / 2013: 1,091 visitors) and South Korea (912 / 2013: 525) were among the countries with the biggest leap in numbers. China, like Russia (2,474 / 2013: 2,920), is now firmly among the top ten countries of origin (excl. Germany) among BAU visitors. From the Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia (477 / 2013: 280) and the United Arab Emirates (423 / 2013: 200), considerably more visitors came than in 2013. Not forgetting Turkey: With 3,694 visitors (2013: 2,402), Turkey now ranks fourth in this list of top ten countries of origin for visitors, behind Italy.
Visitor numbers also rose again markedly from traditionally strong participant countries in the EU, such as Austria (11,923), Belgium (1,330), the Netherlands (1,450), Slovenia (2,362), Poland (2,578), the Czech Republic (2,381) and the UK (1,536).
BAU is an event nobody wants to miss. Everyone is keen to come to BAU. That was the unmistakable impression gained by all who made their way through the 17 exhibition halls at the show. The exhibitors were delighted: right from day one, the halls were all full. BAU gave a powerful demonstration of what it is well known for and of why it has earned its reputation: packed halls, spectacular booth designs, professional talks at the exhibitors´ booths and above all—trade visitors from all over the world. It was quite a challenge for the 2015 exhibitors from 42 countries. They were well prepared and again spared no effort in showcasing their products and services to the trade audience on all six days of the fair. All around the halls, the stand personnel were being briefed early in the mornings, ready to face the expected flood of customers. BAU 2015 was certainly an all-out effort for the exhibitors, but with another record-breaking numbers of leads, the mood at the exhibitors´ booths was very buoyant.
The exhibitors, although familiar with good figures from past events, were impressed by the ongoing streams of visitors attending this time. Many reported double-digit percentage rises in the number of leads they had. “Each day was a record-breaker—better than at any of the other events so far,” declared Martin Möllmann, Director at Dyckerhoff. A similar sentiment was expressed by Michael Wiessner, Director in charge of Sales and Marketing at Saint-Gobain Isover: “From day one we were positively surprised by the high number of visitors. We hope that as much as possible of the euphoria that we have felt at this year´s BAU will then be reflected in our day-to-day business.” Bernard Gualdi, Head of Corporate Communication at Braas, reported on a “huge surge of visitors, right from the first day.”
The further rise in the international spectrum at BAU is reflected not only in the figures but also in the feedback from many exhibitors: The CEO of Dorma, Thomas Wagner, reported: “The response was in every way overwhelming. Almost 50 percent of the visitors to our stand came from abroad. Already by the end of day four, we had gathered just on ten percent more leads than we had during the event in 2013. For us BAU was an out and out success.” For Thomas Lauritzen of Schüco, BAU “is to the building sector what the International Motor Show (IAA) is to the automotive industry. The international coverage at BAU is unique.” Many international exhibitors, in particular the companies from China, were also noticeably impressed. For example, Scott Lee, Marketing Director at Guangdong Fenglu Aluminium, reported: “We were positively surprised by the quality of the talks we had and by the fact that these led direct to business deals. We will definitely be back in 2017 and we will be spreading the word about BAU in China.”
The survey of exhibitors, conducted by opinion pollsters TNS Infratest, also attested to the further increase in the international scope of BAU. 90 percent of the exhibitors—seven percent more than two years ago— rated the international spectrum among the visitors as “excellent to good”. Another point about which the exhibitors showed even more satisfaction than in 2013 was footfall at the stands. In terms of the overall assessment of BAU, there is little scope left for it to go higher. By almost all the exhibitors (97 percent), the show was rated as “excellent to good”. Also of note is the fact that the new opening times were widely welcomed. 85 percent are happy with the changes. Two years ago, when BAU closed half an hour later, at 18:30, only 52 percent were happy. There was no change, however, in the exhibitors´ views on the current economic situation: 81 percent of them—precisely the same proportion as two years ago— see the situation is positive.
The survey of visitors revealed much the same very high level of satisfaction as last time. Here, too, it is difficult to see how a further increase can be achieved. 98 percent of the visitors rated BAU as “excellent to good”, 97 percent said they would like to come back again in two years time. The visitors also gave top marks in particular to the breadth and depth of the ranges on show, and the presence of market leaders. Here, as in almost all the categories, satisfaction is at almost 100 percent. The most important goal, of finding out about new developments and innovations, was achieved by 93 percent of the visitors, and in the second-most important point–further education and expansion of trade knowledge–94 percent stated that they had been successful. Almost all the visitors–exactly 96 percent—were trade visitors. Almost two-thirds stated that they held managerial positions within their respective organizations and companies.
One of the big attractions at BAU, as in previous years, is the sheer number of star architects that take part. For example, on Wednesday in Forum C2: Giving talks there, one after the other, were Wolf D. Prix (COOP Himmelbau, Vienna), Kenneth A. Lewis (Skidmore, Owings and Merill LLP, New York) Christoph Ingenhoven (ingenhoven architects, Düsseldorf) and Alfredo Brillembourg (Urban-Think-Tank, Zürich). Top speakers, free, authentic and close-up, right in the middle of the fair—only BAU delivers that. Even for the true greats in architecture BAU, the “architects´ fair”, is an unmissable event. Another indication of how important BAU is to architects and engineers is the Day of Engineering which for the first time surpassed 1,000 registrations. Heinrich Schroeter, President of the Bavarian Chamber of Civil Engineers: “BAU might traditionally have its eyes more on the architects, but there are many civil engineers here too.”
If BAU can be said to have excelled itself in terms of its big-name exhibitors and stand presentations, then it can quite rightly claim the same for the supporting program to the fair. The three forums at the show were again an absolute hit with the trade audience. Located in the middle of the halls (C2, C4 and B0), visitors could quickly and easily “drop in”, and catch up–free of charge–on key themes in the sector, explained by independent experts from architecture, industry and research. “Urban Life 2030”, “Building Information Modeling” (BIM) and “High-rises” were some of the special features in Forum C2. The spectrum of subjects in Forum A4 was wide and diverse, ranging from timber construction and flexible materials to the future in R&M and strategies to cope with climate change. In Forum B0 the emphasis was on practical solutions for renovating and modernizing buildings, and this was also the location for the Property Industry Day and the Universities Day.
The key themes at BAU 2015 (Intelligent Urbanization – Energy- and Resource-efficiency – Buildings and Users) were not only reflected at the booths of the exhibitors, they were also explored and illustrated in a number of special shows—from a range of perspectives. In putting on this program, BAU worked with renowned partners: With the Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance, the German Sustainable Building Council, ift Rosenheim and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gerontotechnik ® (GGT).
There was no single major theme this time at BAU. The emphasis was on product and system solutions to increase energy- and resource-efficiency, materials and technologies that reduced the pressure on the environment and resources, and, in the area of IT, on the top theme of “Building Information Modeling” (BIM). Aside from the technical and functional themes, attention focused above all on how to design the cities of the future for living and working. Comfort in the home was also a theme.
BAU 2015 was officially opened by Dr. Barbara Hendricks, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. As Minister for the Environment and Building, she sees it as her responsibility “to ensure that housing costs remain affordable and at the same time to ensure that the required contribution towards climate protection is made.” The Minister spent a long time in the exhibition halls, and opened the conference on cost-conscious, sustainable building organized by her Ministry, entitled “Sparst Du noch oder baust Du schon?”. Never before have there been so many high-ranking politicians at BAU. Also attending, as well as the Minister for Building, were the following: Alexander Dobrindt, Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure; Helmut Brunner, Bavarian State Minister for Food, Agriculture and Forestry; Florian Pronold, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety; Uwe Beckmeyer, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy; Gunther Adler, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety; and Rainer Bomba, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure.
One highlight at BAU was once again the Long Night of Architecture. A good 30,000 people flocked on Friday evening to the 50 architectural highlights in Munich that were on the program; all were keen to experience these buildings in their night-time flair (see also BAU press release no. 23 here).
BAU was also again the platform for the presentation of many awards, among them the Bauwelt Award 1:1 First House, the WAN Product of the Year Award, the AIT Innovations Award, the BAKA Award for Product Innovations, the “Built on IT—Building jobs with a future” Award, the “Building Suppliers’ Oscars” and the “Bavarian Engineering Prize”. The highlight was certainly the announcement of the winners of the Archi-World Academy, a competition organized jointly by BAU and the architectural portal Archi-World. The twelve winners, who were selected from over 1,400 entrants from all over the world, can look forward to a six-month internship in the practice of a top international architect. Delighted with their prizes, the winners posed side by side with their future employers.
The next BAU takes place from January 16—21, 2017 at Messe München.
Information about BAU: