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Tackling the housing shortage with digital construction

Europe is facing a housing shortage. In Germany alone, there will be a shortfall of 700,000 homes by 2023. This is the biggest shortage in more than 20 years. A ray of hope: digital construction.

The reasons for the crisis vary from region to region: population growth, urbanisation, limited construction activity or legal and regulatory hurdles. According to a study by the Pestel Institute and ARGE Bauforschung, there will be a shortage of 700,000 homes in Germany alone by 2023. This is the largest shortage in more than 20 years. One of the main causes is the slowdown in new construction. According to calculations by the Euroconstruct research group, of which the Munich-based Ifo Institute is a member, residential construction in Germany is expected to fall by up to 32% between 2022 and 2025.

The German government's target is to build 400,000 homes a year. This target will already be missed in 2022. To counteract this, construction must be accelerated and existing housing renovated. This will require the use of modern technology and close cooperation between all stakeholders. As one of the world's market leaders in the plumbing industry, Viega has always been concerned with the challenges of the construction sector and sees digitalisation as a key technology.

Digital construction as a game changer?

The solution for more housing seems obvious: expand and renovate existing buildings and build new ones. But the challenges should not be underestimated: The construction industry faces rising costs and shortages of time, resources and skilled labour. This is where digital construction and the intelligent use of data come into play.

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a clear example of this: data is collected in a 3D computer model. This allows all the necessary information about the building to be constructed to be structured and the model to be made equally available to all stakeholders. Integral design creates the digital twin, the digital image of the future building. Thanks to the model, possible potentials are identified at an early stage, as well as inconsistencies and errors that can be avoided in the subsequent construction process, thus ensuring planning quality and reliability. The digital twin can also contribute to maintenance and operations. This saves resources, costs, time and energy.

Viega already plans and constructs buildings holistically, across all trades and integrally and is committed to ensuring that building with BIM becomes common practice throughout the industry. The Viega World in Attendorn in Germany and the Viega Seminar Centre at Attersee in Austria were built using this method. In Germany, Viega is particularly active as an enabler and process driver with its Viega Building Intelligence service offering, providing various services in the digital construction process. After all, digital construction must also be made possible during the implementation phase. This requires not only a regular exchange of knowledge, but also the empowerment of the entire industry.

Strengthening digitalisation in construction

The Euroconstruct research group predicts a 12 percent drop in new residential construction in Europe by 2025, which means a massive reduction in the amount of housing available in Europe. This is precisely where digital construction comes in - but only if all those involved work together and the processes and regulations are set up accordingly.

The "80 seconds - new building" network, of which Viega is one of the main sponsors, offers an important platform. It brings together decision-makers and innovators from politics, science, construction and the property industry to tackle the major challenge of the housing shortage. Because it's not just about data. It's also about creating solutions and networking. Only together can we make a difference.

Following a successful summit in May, Viega therefore sponsored a specialist forum on the subject of "Digitalisation/BIM" at Viega World. Here, the possible solutions discussed at the summit were worked on in order to drive forward the digitalisation of the construction industry - and thus continue to set the course for the new digital construction.