Services by construction and civil engineers are incorporated in many structures – but they all too often go under in the light of what others contribute. This is in the process of change. An experienced expert construction consultant was increasingly disappointed by not finding in-depth information for construction and civil engineers at the major trade shows for the construction industry.Together with Messe Freiburg Company for Exhibitions, Fairs, and Congresses, the consultant Thomas Dieterle developed an entirely new type of event for professionals involved in construction and civil engineering works. The trade fair econstra in Freiburg will for the first time open its gates, from 25 to 27 October 2012. We talked with Thomas Dieterle about his plans and expectations.
In October, econstra will begin as the new platform for construction and civil engineering. Why does the con-struction industry need yet another trade event, and for whom is participation a must?
We understand works of construction and civil engineering as structures and construction methods involving steel, reinforced concrete, wood, natural stone, and high-quality composite construction materials. This applies both to new construction and the new growth market of building refurbishment. And, of course, the maintenance of structures. The removal as well as disposal of structures are other demanding construction engineering tasks. And for that reason, this segment of industry is represented at econstra. Construction trade shows in Europe until now have covered only building and underground construction in general. econstra responds to the wishes of the construction sector and construction engineers and creates a platform for this growth market. The individual specialized areas at econstra and the Congress of Construction and Civil Engineers are broken down as follows: Consulting, Renewable Energies, Plant Engineering, Construction Methods, and Infrastructure. Innovative companies and engineering consultancies from these areas will be represented as exhibitors. Planners, leading companies, as well as manufacturers of plant and equipment and, of course, the construction materials industry.
The activity profiles of companies active in the main construction industry are shifting. What changing requirements do you recognize with the future visitors to econstra?
There have been many innovations in recent years, in particular in the construction and civil engineering sectors. Interest in safety and sustainability has become much more significant. Politicians have finally come to understand the need for investment in the maintenance and preservation of structures and in infrastructure.
The inspection requirements for public buildings in terms of durability and fire protection are today surely taken more seriously than a few years ago.
The need for new buildings has been satisfied in many places, and construction in existing buildings is becoming more and more important. Not to forget the boom in the production of renewable energies, geothermic systems, wind and hydroelectric power plants, and energy-storage facilities – and the shutdown of old nuclear installations is now in the focus of interest. Consulting firms, architects and, of course, the entire construction trade, are adjusting to this billion-euro market. The visitors to econstra expect innovations from these areas and will be addressed in the program of lectures and educational courses at the Congress of Construction Engineers.
You have addressed many topics. What will be the highlights in October 2012 when econstra begins?
econstra is as multi-faceted as construction and civil engineering itself. One special topic will doubtlessly be the industry of the future: the refurbishment of structures and their maintenance with all its aspects. These are subdivided into the areas of infrastructure, plant engineering, construction methods, consulting, and renewable energies.
econstra comprises four sub-events: there is, first of all, the trade show and the program of lectures of the Congress of Construction and Civil Engineers. Then there is the presentation of the econStar award to honor an especially innovative achievement in construction and civil engineering.
We are especially proud of the ingFinder career forum staged on 600 m² in the central foyer of the new fair halls together with our partners from universities in Germany and Switzerland.
The fairs for the construction industry in Germany are fighting the declining number of trade visitors with various degrees of success. Where do you position yourself in this trade-fair landscape, and which frequencies do you aim for with econstra?
econstra, as the name implies, is a trade show for construction and civil engineering and the refurbishment of structures, with all relevant branches and sub-sectors It thus fills a gap in the German trade-fair landscape: there are trade fairs for the construction industry, but a trade fair specifically geared to construction and civil engineering cannot be found anywhere – until now. Manufacturers, consulting engineers, architects, and companies will find their clients at econstra, both public and private. econstra will be held every other year, always in years with the even numbers.
What partners are already on board, and what are the benefits to the exhibitors at econstra?
econstra and, most of all, the Congress of Construction Engineers have prestigious partners. The German Federal Association of Construction Engineers has patronage of the event. Other partners are the Associations of Construction Engineers of the German Federal States, the VBI, the Association of German Architects, and the most important trade associations. Prominent public institutions support the events: e.g., BAST (German Federal Institute for Road and Street Construction), BAW (German Federal Institute for Hydroconstruction), regional government offices and, of course, the city of Freiburg as supporter of Messe Freiburg.
Of outstanding importance is the high participation of universities from Germany and Switzerland. Together with these, the comprehensive career forum offers optimal access to students and graduates of universities. Students still at school or at the university, and junior professionals, can gain valuable information on this sector and the educational opportunities – and, of course, if they wish they have an excellent opportunity to also establish concrete contacts.