CONSTRUCTION CONGRESS 2016 – Construction sector entering the binary era


For two days, the CONSTRUCTION CONGRESS brought together about 2,000 decision-makers from public-sector bodies and private developers, engineering offices, building contractors and suppliers of building materials at the Vienna International Center to discuss state-of-the-art developments in building construction and civil engineering, illustrated by examples of impressive projects executed by means of the most advanced technologies. This year, a revolutionary digital technology with the potential to profoundly transform the industry was at the focus of attention.

For all those who take an interest in the construction industry and its many-faceted aspects, the Construction Congress, organized by the Austrian Society for Construction Technology (öbv) in Vienna, is a regular event not to be missed. This year again, an audience of 2,000 participants from ten countries gathered at the Vienna International Center to listen to over 50 presentations, to network with colleagues and to learn about product innovations presented at more than 100 stands of the exhibition.

“It is great to see that the Construction Congress, which looks back on a history of almost 70 years, has developed into one of the most important events of the construction industry in the German-speaking region, providing an absolutely neutral platform for all industry stakeholders”, said Michael Pauser, Managing Director of öbv, in his opening statement. The attendance figures prove him right: While other major events are focused on a single target group, the Construction Congress attracts principals (23%) and contractors (30%), as well as representatives of engineering offices (18%), sub-contractors (15%) and universities and other institutions of higher education (14%).

“I think the attractiveness of the event is due to the fact that the Austrian Society for Construction Technology is dedicated exclusively to the presentation and dissemination of the most recent developments in construction technology. Our members as well as the participants of the Construction Congress greatly appreciate our focus on substantive issues”, underlined Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer, Chairman of the Board of öbv.

Digitization has arrived at the construction site

This point made by Michael Pauser was illustrated by several presentations on Building Information Modelling (BIM) at this year’s Congress. BIM stands for the virtual and integrated planning of buildings by means of an IT tool. The new technology has the potential to revolutionize the construction sector, as did the introduction of CAD some time ago. Therefore, construction industry stakeholders all over the world want to have a say in the definition of standards..

Within the framework of a working group set up by öbv last autumn, representatives of the Austrian construction sector, all of them experts in building construction and civil engineering, are cooperating to coordinate and advance BIM-specific knowledge and promote its implementation by construction companies. “As we wish to contribute our know-how to discussions at EU level, we asked Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner to nominate öbv as the official representative of the Austrian position in international organisations, an issue to be discussed at an expert meeting on this topic on 9 May”, said öbv Chairman of the Board Sebl-Litzlbauer in his introductory address, underlining the importance of BIM.

The new headquarters of ÖAMTC, the Austrian Automobile, Motorcycle and Touring Club, in the third district of Vienna is an example of BIM implemented in practice. From the conception phase to the detailed design, the building with its five seemingly weightless concrete fingers was planned on the basis of a three-dimensional BIM model. Without BIM, this highly complex project could not have been executed according to its tight time schedule.

KOOPAWARD: Cooperation instead of confrontation

Another central topic provided the theme for this year’s Congress: “Cooperation instead of Confrontation”. With its initiative for “cooperative project execution”, öbv intends to contribute towards avoiding legal disputes in large-scale construction projects and hopes to foster a cooperative approach. Last May already, an öbv working group produced a leaflet summarizing its recommendations. At the Congress, Katarina Norén, Director of Procurement and Logistics of the Swedish Infrastructure Authority, confirmed this significant international trend.

To promote this trend in Austria, öbv used the opportunity of the Construction Congress to present the first KOOP AWARDS for best project execution in Austria in the “Infrastructure” and “Building Construction” categories. Managing Director Michael Pauser handed over the trophy, designed especially for the award ceremony, to the project teams of “Das Hamerling” (building construction) and the “Vienna Central Station” (infrastructure). In both projects, the jury was particularly impressed by the fact that teams comprising representatives of clients, contractors, designers and local authorities succeeded in solving problems through personal discussions at so-called partnership sessions.

Award of the Austrian Construction Technology Prize

The Congress also provided an occasion to honour the youngest generation of construction engineers for their work. Peter Krammer, Deputy Chairman of the Board of öbv, handed over the 2016 Austrian Construction Technology Prize carrying a purse of € 4,500 to Alexander Dürager (first prize) from the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences for his diploma paper on “Dismantling and recyclability of ETICS”. In his citation, Peter Krammer underlined the value of new approaches in the recycling of external thermal insulation composite systems, as developed by the prize winner. The second and third prizes went to Manuel Gilhofer from the Institute of Structural Concrete at the Graz University of Technology and Mato Dominkovic for the Vienna University of Applied Sciences. Through the award of this prize, övb intends to support students who have contributed to the further development and application of concrete construction or proposed new construction methods in their diploma papers.

Impressive succession of expert presentations

After the opening ceremony, the most recent developments in construction technology were covered by numerous expert presentations. The topics presented included the large-scale urban development project of “Seestadt Aspern” in the north-east of Vienna, a preview of the new U5 underground line in Vienna, and projects of huge dimensions, such as the widening of the Panama Canal, where a useful life of one hundred years has to be guaranteed for all structures.

On the day before the Construction Congress, a technical excursion to the 240 hectare “Seestadt” allowed the participants an insight into this “living lab”, a place of continuous innovation and optimization. During a guided tour, representatives of Aspern Smart City Research (ASCR) introduced forward-looking systems of building automation and flexible energy use. Moreover, the structural design and the fire-protection system of “HoHo Wien” were presented. This 24-storey wooden high-rise building, based on a hybrid design, will be the future highlight of Seestadt.

A relaxing evening with MUSIC + ART

After the extremely dense programme of lectures, many participants enjoyed the MUSIC + ART evening event organised by öbv, which began with a Vivaldi concert at St. Charles Church, continued with a visit to an exhibition featuring paintings from Klimt to Picasso at the Lower Belvedere, and ended with a reception in the Marble Hall of Belvedere Palace.

The organiser

The Austrian Society for Construction Technology (öbv) counts major developers, representatives of the entire construction industry, engineering offices, universities and colleges as well as renowned building material manufacturers among its 200 members. Its primary objective is for representatives of member companies and institutions to jointly develop the state of the art in concrete and construction technology. To this end, technical working groups are set up to draft the öbv guidelines. To disseminate the body of knowledge generated, öbv organises training events, seminars and congresses for its members companies and their staff. The Austrian Society for Construction Technology supports all efforts aimed at advancing concrete construction and technology in the areas of science, technology and the economy.

Bilder

Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer bei der Eröffnungsrede

1. Chairman of the Board of öbv Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer delivering his opening address
In his opening address, Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer, Chairman of the Board of öbv, underlined that experts greatly appreciate the guidelines, seminars and research work of the Austrian Society for Construction Technology.

Michael Pauser bei der Eröffnung

2. Michael Pauser, Managing Director of öbv, during his opening statement
Managing Director Michael Pauser underlined the function of the Construction Congress as a neutral knowledge platform for developers, contractors, designers, sub-contractors and academic institutions.

KOOPAward Hochbau

3. Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer, Peter Krammer and Michael Pauser handing over the KOOP AWARD in the Building Construction category
Chairman of the Board Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer, Deputy Chairman Peter Krammer and MD Michael Pauser handed over the first KOOP AWARD in the Building Construction category to the Hamerling Team for best project execution in Austria.

KOOPAward Infrastruktur

4. Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer, Peter Krammer and Michael Pauser handing over the KOOP AWARD in the Infrastructure category
Chairman of the Board Alfred Sebl-Litzlbauer, Deputy Chairman Peter Krammer and MD Michael Pauser handed over the first KOOP AWARD in the Infrastructure category to the Central Station Team for best project execution in Austria.

Bautechnikpreis 2016

5. Peter Krammer handing over the 2016 Construction Technology Prize
Deputy Chairman Peter Krammer handed over the Construction Technology Prize, carrying a purse of EUR 4,500, to the authors of practice-related diploma papers from the Carinthia University of Applied Sciences, the Graz University of Technology and the Vienna University of Applied Sciences.

Teilnehmerüberblick

6. Participants at the opening session
About 2,000 participants attended the second Construction Congress held at the Vienna International Center.

Ausstellung

7. View of the exhibition area
The exhibition area, accommodating the stands of about 100 exhibitors, provided ample opportunities for participants to meet and network between sessions.

Ausstellung

8. View of the exhibition area
The exhibition provided an ideal platform for conversations between clients, such as ASFINAG, and contractors.

Ausstellung

9. View of the exhibition area
Contractors, such as PORR, enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at the 2016 Construction Congress

Ausstellung

10. View of the exhibition area
Designs offices, such as PCD, used the exhibition to present their services.

Ausstellung

11. View of the exhibition area
The building materials industry was well represented at the exhibition.

ÖAMTC-Zentrale

12. The new ÖAMTC headquarters / BIM
Building Information Modeling (BIM), a topic for the future discussed at the Construction Congress. This new digital tool was used for the first time in the design and construction of the ÖAMTC headquarters.

Exkursion Living Lab Aspern

13. Excursion to the Living Lab at Aspern
A living lab: This year’s technical excursion took the participants to “Seestadt Aspern”, where representatives of Aspern Smart City Research (ASCR) introduced forward-looking systems of building automation and flexible energy use.

Konzert in der Karlskirche

14. Concert at St. Charles Church
After a day of technological highlights, the MUSIC + ART evening programme appealed to all senses, starting with a concert performance of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” at St. Charles Church.

Gemäldeausstellung im Unteren Belvedere

15. Visit to an exhibition at the Lower Belvedere
The evening continued with a guided tour of an exhibition featuring paintings from Klimt to Picasso