Summary Of the Opening Day 

What about the digitalization of the construction industry? This question was answered on the first day of the buildingSMART International Standards Summit by the speakers of four keynote speeches and the panels of two panel discussions.
Those who openly face digitalization in the construction industry need courage, enthusiasm and foresight. With these words, Ina Scharrenbach, Minister for Community, Local Government, Construction and Equal Opportunities, opened her speech at the Welcome Dinner of the buildingSMART International Standards Summit in Düsseldorf's Rheinterasse on Monday.More than 1000 participants from all over the world discuss in seven thematic "Rooms" and more than 60 working group meetings within the framework of the industry meeting until Thursday the challenges digitalization confronts architects, civil engineers and planners every day and the potential of digital planning and construction methods in the industry. On Friday, the event week will end with the User Day of buildingSMART Germany.

Recipe for success: Open exchange
On the first day of the Summit, four keynote speeches and two panel discussions focused on how the industry can increase its productivity through digitization and what framework conditions it needs to achieve this. "The productivity gap between the construction industry and other industries is dramatic," said Richard Petry, CEO of buildingSMART International, in his opening speech at the conference. How quickly the industry can catch up depends, he said, on how openly all those involved in construction, share their practical experience of digital building design and construction.In his response to Petry's speech, Professor Rasso Steinmann, CEO of buildingSMART Germany, emphasized how intensively the twelve regional and 24 working groups of the German buildingSMART-Chapter maintain this exchange.

Lack of qualified staff and public procurement law slow down digitization in the construction industry
In his keynote speech, Carsten Lotz, partner and expert for investments in new technologies at the consulting company McKinsey, showed why it is worthwhile for construction companies to digitize their workflows. "However," Lotz said, "the necessary investments in small and medium-sized businesses often fail because of a lack of financial resources to invest in technologies that take a long time to pay off in the early stages of projects".The subsequent, very dynamic debate also focused on the fact that investment is failing because of public procurement law in the EU and because firms lack the skills they need to drive digitization forward.

Architects, planners and civil engineers need a common language
In the first panel discussion of the day, Professor Christian Glock from the University of Kaiserslautern, Martin Müller, Vice President of the Federal Chamber of Architects (BAK) and René Hagemann-Miksits, Head of the Technology and Technology Policy Division at the Federation of German Construction Industries (Hauptverband der Deutschen Bauindustrie), moderated by Rasso Steinmann, dealt with the requirements that clients place on digital planning. After an active exchange, it was clear to the group that if they wanted to turn their customers' wishes into reality, architects, engineers and planners would have to communicate with each other openly and in a common language shared by all.

Digital twins deliver added value in all phases of the building life cycle
In the second and third keynote lectures, Peter Löffler, Vice President Innovation and Industry Affairs at Siemens Building Technologies, and Mark Enzer, Chief Technical Officer of Mott MacDonald, a consulting firm, worked out how the smart linking of information makes digital twins a planning, construction and management tool that offers real added value in all phases of a building's life cycle.Mark Enzer also presented the UK Department of Works' plan, launched in 2018, to map the UK's entire infrastructure into a National Digital Twin. "Our goal is an ecosystem of digital twins in which we can store information about our infrastructure in such a way that we can make better decisions to improve the economic and environmental performance of the buildings," said Enzer, explaining the British's ambitious plans.

Open standards from a software provider perspective
The second panel discussion of the day was also held under the heading of "openness". Uwe Wassermann, Director AEC, Business Development worldwide at Autodesk, Viktor Várkonyi, member of the board of the Nemetschek Group, and Richard Fletcher, Managing Director at Trimble answered the question of how BIM software providers see the need for open standards. A keynote lecture on the future of cloud computing by Andy Verone, Global Vice President Industry Strategy and Innovation at Oracle, as well as a lecture on the working methods of buildingSMART International by Richard Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of the international governing body, rounded off the plenary session. However, the highlight of the day was Minister Ina Scharrenbach's speech in the festive atmosphere of the "Rheinterrasse" and the presentation of the buildingSMART Fellow Awards following the dinner.

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