BAU 2021 is on track to offer the industry an attractive platform at the Munich Exhibition Center from January 11 to 16. This is the result of the latest meetings of the Advisory Board and Board of Trustees with representatives from leading exhibitors and trade associations. In view of the falling rates of infection and easing of travel restrictions throughout Europe, Messe München believes that the prospects are good for a successful BAU 2021. A 15 percent Corona bonus on the participation price should help the exhibitors with the acquisition of visitors.
Developments over the past few weeks and the positive feedback from the Advisory Board make Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Messe München, very confident: “As in the past, the bookings for BAU are excellent, demand is especially high from abroad. I am also certain that business activity will continue to gather pace over summer and fall. With the 15 percent bonus we want to give our exhibitors the opportunity to invest more in inviting their customers. Visitor numbers will likely be lower this time around. But with our combined efforts the quality and quantity of the visitors will once again be on a high level.”
Dieter Schäfer, CEO of Deutsche Steinzeug and chairman of the BAU exhibitor advisory board, stated the following on behalf of the exhibitors: “It’s about time that we met our customers personally again, both old and new. The brave ones have to fly the flag. No digital format can replace personal meetings. We need this so that we can jump-start our business. The economy always demands perspectives and a reliable exit scenario. This is what BAU offers us now. We just have to take the first step.”
Following the decision on May 27 that trade fairs can be held in Bavaria again, the Bavarian state government approved a corresponding protection and hygiene concept on June 23 as the basis for reestablishing trade fair activities. The cornerstones of the concept are: social distancing, hygiene, and traceability of all participants. The hygiene measures include increasing the frequency of cleaning activities and setting up disinfection stands. As regards a possible requirement to wear face masks, a review is scheduled for September before the fall trade fair season begins to determine whether this requirement is actually necessary. In any case, it is permissible to remove the mask during customer meetings that take place at tables—similar to the measure in place for hospitality businesses. “This is the current status,” stresses Reinhard Pfeiffer: “However, we hope that more restrictions will be loosened if the development of the pandemic is favorable.”
Meanwhile, the planning for BAU 2021 is running at full speed. While several well-known companies and brands have decided not to take part in BAU this time, there is still high demand for space, especially from abroad. Eighty percent of the available exhibition space, about 100,000 m² net, have already been allocated. This is the same level as two years ago. About a third of the exhibition space has been booked by international exhibitors. At present, demand is particularly high from Belgium and Poland, but also from countries such as Italy and Spain, which have been especially hard hit by the Corona virus. In view of this level of booking, management assumes that all 18 trade fair halls will be occupied.
BAU will also have a virtual presence, continue to develop its online offerings and introduce new ones, especially for all those people who are unable to come to Munich in person.
The forum program, based on the key themes “Digital Transformation”, “The Challenge of Climate Change”, “Resources & Recycling” and “The Future of Building”, will again bring together top speakers from the whole of Europe. In addition to the key themes, BAU will focus on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as a special topic. What does Corona mean for the construction industry at home and abroad? And what are the consequences for the industry of the digitization impetus triggered by the Corona virus? This and many other questions associated with the pandemic will be discussed and debated at BAU.
Exhibition Director Mirko Arend summarizes: “BAU has always shown that it can be relied upon especially under difficult conditions. For example, during the GFC in 2009, against all odds, it proved to be a constant. It will be the same again this time.”
Christine Degenhart, President of the Bavarian Chamber of Architects: “The Corona pandemic will also have an effect on our built environment, on how we live in buildings and in cities. BAU sets an important, positive example for the entire construction industry, as it stands for a new awakening and innovation. It provides an opportunity for discussion, not only for architects, but also for those involved in planning and construction—in personal encounters that cannot be created in the same way in virtual worlds.”
Professor Norbert Gebbeken: President of the Bavarian Chamber of Civil Engineers: “For many years, we have attended BAU with our Bavarian Engineers’ Day and look forward to this again in 2021. For us, this getting together is especially important this time, as COVID-19 is sure to change the way civil engineers work. Digital processes are also on the increase in our industry, new constructional requirements will also mean that we have to change our ways of thinking. We have to talk about this at BAU 2021.”
Felix Pakleppa, Chief Executive of the Central Association of the German Construction Industry: “Current developments with regard to incoming orders would suggest that SMEs in the German construction industry will still be feeling the effects of the Corona crisis in 2021. This is why it is so important to show that it’s time to get things up and running again. BAU provides a unique opportunity to spread confidence and enthusiasm in the industry. In other words, in this special situation it is more important than ever before. Even under difficult conditions, our members and we, as the industry association, will most definitely be attending BAU.”
Stefan Thurn, President of the Federal Association of German Building Materials Trade: "BAU is the most time-efficient communication platform for the building materials trade and its customers, tradesmen and building contractors, to find out about new products, systems and information from manufacturers. Communication needs faces, people, exchange, needs sociability. We don't have a glass ball, but we hope that by January the hygiene regulations and state requirements will be pragmatically relaxed to such an extent that, together with good concepts from the trade fair company, the framework conditions for a good exchange are in place. Then BAU can give the starting signal for good economic development.”