Scandinavian construction projects in the billion-euro range drew a full house at sold out conference

With almost 150 participants from more than 15 countries, the 2nd Annual Building Network Construction Conference 2018 took place at the exclusive Copenhagen Marriott Hotel in the heart of Copenhagen on 15 November 2018. The conference, which focused on construction projects in the billion-euro range, was a huge success for the speakers, participants and organisers. 

Spirits were high among the Danish and international participants and speakers when Building Network, jointly with Copenhagen Capacity, held the Building Network Construction Conference for the second year in a row at the five-star Copenhagen Marriott Hotel, which has a direct view of the harbour and Kalvebod Brygge wharf. 

The sold out event took place in the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel’s magnificent conference hall, where a variety of Danish and international developers, advisors and contractors convened to present future building projects and construction plans for some of Scandinavia’s largest urban development, infrastructure, hospital and hotel projects. The presentations were given in English to attract an international audience.

The exclusive panel of 15 conference speakers included developers from Copenhagen Airport, Banedanmark, the Danish Road Directorate and the Stockholm Metro, as well as urban developers from Oslo, Stockholm, Gothenburg and the Swedish Transport Administration, all of whom brought with them an exciting portfolio of new construction projects in the billion-euro range. A representative from the City of Copenhagen was also on the panel and opened the talks with a presentation on the construction of Copenhagen’s new island, Lynetteholmen, and the multiple urban development projects taking place in the capital. 

Technical director Christian Poulsen discussed the expansion of Copenhagen Airport to double its current size. Photo: Building Network

The presentation by the technical director of Copenhagen Airport, Christian Poulsen, described the construction plans and vision for the historical expansion of the airport. In 2017 more than 29.2 m passengers passed through its gates. In the future the airport will be able to serve more than 40 million passengers a year. As a result, the airport will almost double in size in the coming years. And Cathrine Carøe from Banedanmark described specific upcoming projects amounting to over 13.4 m euro. 

Our Swedish neighbours talked about being in the midst of looking beyond their borders to find skilled collaborators and wealthy investors for the massive construction and expansion projects in urban development and infrastructure to take place in and around Sweden’s largest cities. For example, there will be many opportunities to bid on major, future urban development projects on the drawing board in Skåne and Gothenburg. The Swedish government is investing 62.25 billion euro in infrastructure over the next decade, including the construction of new metro lines, roads and rail lines.

Participants also heard about plans to transform Oslo into a green capital and the world’s greenest city. Developing rapidly, Oslo is expected to grow by up to 30 percent by 2030, which will require additional infrastructure and housing. Consequently, the city is looking for collaborators who can offer new, innovative solutions within sustainable, green urban development.

In Sweden, Väsby Entré, a vibrant new district and attractive station, is expected to improve public transport. Illustration: Zaha Hadid Architects

One of the world’s most sought-after, award-winning architectural firms, Zaha Hadid Architects, was also among the many speakers at the conference. Zaha Hadid Architects is currently designing a large project in the Swedish town of Väsby. Tobias Magnesjö took the podium to present two major hotel construction projects in Copenhagen for which they are the lead architects: a Comfort Hotel with 600 rooms, making it Denmark’s largest hotel, at Copenhagen Airport, and the reconstruction of Copenhagen’s old central post office on Tietgensgade into a luxury hotel with 390 rooms to be completed by 2020.  

Han Blom from BYLDIS, a Dutch company that manufactures high-quality prefabricated concrete products openly shared his experiences with becoming established as an international company in Denmark. BYLDIS opened its first Scandinavian office in BLOXHUB in downtown Copenhagen about a year ago.

Decision-makers from some of Europe’s largest contractors were also at the conference, including the Belgian company BESIX, which is in the midst of building the bridge Fjordforbindelsen Frederikssund, the Spanish company Acciona, and the Italian consortium CMB/Itinera, which has been awarded various major contracts in Denmark on the new super hospital in Odense and Zealand University Hospital in Køge.

BESIX, one of Europe’s largest contractors, is in the midst of building the bridge Fjordforbindelsen Frederikssund and intends to bid on several building and construction projects in Scandinavia. Photo: Building Network

There was also space in the packed conference schedule for well-coordinated networking with time available to talk personally with speakers and other participants. Throughout the day, crowds of people visited the many exciting exhibition stands displaying the products, skills and services of various Danish and international businesses in the building and construction industry. COWI, the Danish Building and Property Agency, Stockholm Metro, BESIX, Aurora Construction Consultancy, BYLDIS, Infrakit Open Bim Cloud, Hovedstadens Rekrutteringsservice and Ready Bathroom were among the companies that had managed to obtain exhibition space. 

One of the exhibitors, Michael Madsen from DELUX DENMARK, which provides quality lighting for all types of buildings, was highly enthusiastic when we talked to him about the conference:

“It was the first time I’ve ever exhibited and there were loads of people who stopped to have a chat and hear more about our lighting. I’ve spoken with architects, engineers and landscape architects who I would never have met if I hadn’t been here today. I had invited one of my German lamp manufacturers and, like me, he was incredibly positive and satisfied with the conference and the underlying concept behind creating a forum where we can meet across the industry to network and exchange experiences and knowledge. My German supplier has already said that I should be register for next year’s conference.”   

Like the five colleagues that accompanied her on the journey across the Øresund Bridge to showcase the Swedish Transport Administration’s upcoming building and construction plans, Åsa Rosberg attended the conference with a strong desire to begin the search to find skilled suppliers:

“We have incredibly many projects in the pipeline in Sweden, which means we urgently need international suppliers and collaborators because we can’t do it on our own. That’s why it was an obvious choice for us to be here today to meet, greet, network with and better get to know potential new collaborators.”

Scores of people visited CMB/Itinera, a consortium that has been awarded 6 bn euro in hospital contracts. Photo: Building Network

Also among the conference participants was the consultancy Dansk Miljørådgivning (DMR), which was named a Gazelle Company in 2018, after four years of doing incredibly well, by the leading Danish business newspaper Børsen, which presents the award to the fastest growing companies in Denmark. One of DMR’s goals at the conference was to find future collaborators for some of its specific job areas, including geotechnics, soil and ground water.
“Without events like this, we don’t really have access to foreign contacts. If there had only been presentations and no opportunities to talk personally with the speakers and other participants, then we probably wouldn’t have come today. Our experience shows that it is much easier to establish a future working relationship with others if you’ve had face-to-face contact like we’ve had today, where I’ve exchanged business cards with everyone I spoke to,” explains Mette Damgaard from DMR.

Han Blom from BYLDIS, a Dutch company that manufactures high-quality prefabricated concrete, expects to sign their first contract in either Denmark or Sweden before the end of the year. Throughout the day, Blom was busy networking and talking with interested participants at their exhibition stand.
“It’s been incredibly interesting and rewarding to participate today. The surroundings were perfect, there were numerous exciting companies and there was enough time between presentations to meet potential new clients and partners who were not just from Scandinavia but also the rest of Europe. I’ve also had interesting conversations with some of the other participants about combining our strengths and high standards to do joint projects. I’ve learn a great deal by being here today and gained access to new contacts, so it can’t get much better than that,” concludes Blom.

LOXAM, Europe’s largest equipment lessor for contractors and tradesman, was represented at the conference by Karina Hansen and Susanne Vemmelund, both of whom were very excited about attending the conference.

“It’s been an amazing day. We’ve received loads of information about specific cases and knowledge about new projects in the pipeline that we can bid on. We’ve also decided to exhibit next time because it’s a great way to present your business and acquire new contacts and jobs. We’ve exchanged business cards with other participants throughout the day and everything is very promising,” explains Vemmelund.  

One of the key people at the conference was the director of Building Network, Mickey Lund, who was thrilled with the positive, generous comments about the event that he received from both speakers and participants. Lund has great expectations about next year’s event:
“There’s been an overwhelming interest in making the journey to Copenhagen to hear about future Scandinavian building projects and to network with other European colleagues across the industry. A multitude of business cards and handshakes have been exchanged at the exhibition booths. The setting at the Copenhagen Marriott Hotel has been perfect, with a lively, energetic and extremely positive mood among participants and speakers. As an organiser, I’m nothing less than completely satisfied with the conference. Together with our team, Copenhagen Capacity, the many participating embassies and chambers of commerce, not to mention our two conference partners, BESIX and Aurora Construction Consultancy, I look forward to planning next year’s conference, which I expect to be even bigger.”

Ample time was set aside to talk personally with speakers and to network with the other participants. Photo: Building Network