ITGA NRW Industry Day
About Prefabrication, containers and the resource “human”
ITGA NRW Industry Day at aquatherm – Around 50 participants in lively exchange
Industrial prefabrication, taking into account the scarce “human resource”, and decentralised energy supply – these were the topics of the ITGA NRW Industry Day 2022. After the 2021 event was held digitally, around 50 representatives of member companies of the North Rhine-Westphalia Technical Building Equipment Industry Association (ITGA NRW) met at aquatherm in Attendorn (Germany) from 17 to 18 October 2022 to gain valuable impetus.
To kick off the event, Stefan Klahn, deputy operations manager of the southern dam operation at the Ruhrverband, provided information on the challenges of water management – and not just in theory, but on site at an illustrative example: the nearby Biggesee. During a tour of the Biggedamm with its spillway, he reported on the main tasks of the dam – to store or release water as needed to ensure a steady flow of water in the Ruhr, as well as flood protection. The generation of electricity by the connected hydroelectric power plant is a positive side effect, Klahn said. The topic was met with great interest among the guests due to the current high energy costs and led to lively discussions, during which a possible pumped storage plant at Lake Bigge was also mentioned.
Factory tour and expert presentations
The second day of the event started with a company tour at aquatherm, which focused on the prefabrication of the manufacturer of piping systems made of the plastic polypropylene. Here, manifolds, piping systems and special components are manufactured and assembled on a production area of 1,650 square metres. The participants learned that prefabricated elements can save a lot of money due to shorter assembly times and more planning reliability on the construction site.
Afterwards, four expert presentations provided the basis for a lively exchange. They took place in the new aquatherm Campus, a modern meeting place, which is now available for external visitors of the pipe manufacturer as well as internal training courses. Patrick Arnold, Head of Building Automation at Goldbeck, explained that systematised construction is a catalyst for sustainable planning, execution, and operation of buildings. Germany’s largest family-owned construction company plans buildings from a construction kit full of flexibly usable system elements, for example exterior wall elements, trusses, or precast concrete elements. They are prefabricated on an industrial scale in Goldbeck’s own factory facilities. In combination with prefabricated bathrooms, complete energy centres or system shafts as well as prior planning in 3D, sources of error on the construction site would be significantly minimised. “Serial construction enables a high degree of standardisation,” says Patrick Arnold. “It enables us to strategically develop our products in a targeted manner and forms the basis for seamless property operation.”
Creating living space with sea freight containers
The presentation by Ivan Mallinowski was also exciting: The founder of the company Containerwerk showed how sustainable room modules are created from used sea freight containers. The modules, which have high-performance insulation made of polyurethane foam without thermal bridges, are manufactured in serial production on the 40,000 square metre Containerwerk factory premises. “The high degree of prefabrication means we have very short construction times,” Mallinowski explained. Time is also saved on interior fittings through standardisation and the use of pre-planned assemblies. In addition, Containerwerk focuses strongly on sustainability: four tonnes of steel are saved from scrapping per container. In addition, the insulation material is based on biomass.
Christian Tuschen, Managing Director of PreFab TGA GmbH, also picked up on the advantages of prefabrication in his presentation. He explained how Berns Gebäudetechnik GmbH & Co. KG changed from a classic SHK company to a specialist in TGA system construction with its own prefabrication. “With building electrics and sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology, two trades in the construction industry are among the top ten professions with acute staff shortages,” Tuschen explained one reason for setting up PreFab prefabrication. In addition, production on the building site involves quality risks and planning reliability is often not given. Tuschen: “We thought about our own positioning and rethought processes.” This led to the founding of an independent limited company in October 2021 for the prefabrication of products in sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology as well as all kinds of industrial installation activities – PreFab TGA GmbH. In the company’s factory hall, prefabricated manholes and ducts, pumping stations or pre-wall systems, among other things, are now manufactured on around 1000 square metres.
“Using the best possible people to produce the best possible building”
Finally, aquatherm Managing Director Dirk Rosenberg focused on the “human resource” in his presentation. With the best possible use of people, it must be possible to produce the best possible building throughout its entire life cycle, explained Rosenberg. He pointed out that since the Corona pandemic there has been a development that people can no longer or no longer want to work in their original professions, for example in the catering industry or in small businesses in the food trade. On the other hand, there is a lack of skilled workers in the building trade. “Assuming individual further training, it is certainly possible to integrate people with the appropriate basic skills into certain production processes, including prefabrication. Skilled workers who have previously carried out these activities can thus be deployed in more demanding processes,” he explained. Dirk Rosenberg: “We are all part of the solution. How we act in the coming years will leave its mark on the next generation and possibly the next century.”
“Always important impulses”
The organisers and hosts of the Industry Day drew a positive balance at the end of the event: “The special togetherness is what makes ITGA NRW special,” said Jan Opländer, Chairman of the Association. “The personal interaction between the members is outstanding, plus the professional added value. High-quality events and meetings like the Industry Day always give our members important impulses.” Tobias Dittmar, ITGA-NRW managing director, made it clear that the association was open to new members. “We want to further expand our strong network. All companies based in NRW that independently plan and execute building services installations can become members, and we accept manufacturing companies as supporting members.” The special interests of manufacturers are represented in a separate industry committee. Its chairman Frank Hühren, Managing Director of Priva Building Intelligence GmbH, explained: “The industry committee, which does not exist a second time at state and national level, underlines the esteem in which the supporting members of ITGA NRW are held.” Christof Schmidt, Sales Manager DACH at aquatherm, concluded: “We value our association membership very highly and were incredibly pleased to host the ITGA NRW Industry Day 2022. On the occasion of the event, we were able to welcome many decision-makers to Attendorn and were delighted to have the opportunity to present our company locally.”
About ITGA NRW:
Leading building services engineering companies from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) have joined forces in the NRW Technical Building Services Engineering Industry Association (ITGA NRW) to actively represent the interests of the building services engineering sector to the outside world and to shape the future together. The member companies of the ITGA develop, plan, and construct building services installations of all sizes. Especially from the point of view of energy-saving measures, the companies in the technical building equipment sector demonstrate their special expertise in new construction, renovation, and maintenance.
Aquatherm is the world’s leading manufacturer of plastic piping systems made of polypropylene for plant construction and building services. Areas of application include drinking water applications, heating system construction, fire protection sprinkler systems, air conditioning and refrigeration technology as well as surface heating and cooling systems. Aquatherm products can be found in the most diverse types of buildings and ships worldwide. These include, for example, the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg, the crane houses in Cologne, various Olympic sites, numerous top hotels and resorts as well as AIDA club ships. The company employs around 600 people in Germany, Italy, England, the USA, and Canada. Production takes place exclusively at the German locations in Attendorn (headquarters), Radeberg and Ennest. Today, the family-owned company is run by the second generation of the Rosenberg family: brothers Christof, Dirk and Maik.
The topic of prefabrication was the focus of the ITGA NRW Industry Day. The host was aquatherm, a manufacturer of polypropylene piping systems. Foto: aquatherm
During the company tour at aquatherm, the participants learned that prefabricated elements can save time and money. Foto: aquatherm