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© FH Aachen / Johannes Poth

Innovative building design

One year of Smart Building Engineering at the FH Aachen 

How does an intelligent building distinguish itself? Through good design, conception and construction? Through appealing architecture? Or by clever technical building equipment? The key to the "smart" building lies in the combination. The aim of the "Smart Building Engineering" FH degree programme, which was launched in the winter semester of 2018, is to build connected buildings with the best technical equipment. The study programme brings together topics from the three departments of architecture, civil engineering, electrical engineering and information technology. The course is supported by two endowed professorships from regional companies. All in all, the close integration of university and business is an interesting feature of the new degree programme, which makes it easier for students to establish contacts with companies in their future sectors during their studies.
"We have the problem that there is a high demand for specially trained engineers, but no corresponding offer at the universities," explains the rector of the FH Aachen, Prof. Dr. Marcus Baumann, the current challenge. All the more reason for him to be pleased that the study of "Smart Building Engineering" does exactly that justice. Whether design, support in the construction or optimization of buildings - all these could be future goals of the students, explained Prof. Dr. Bernd Döring of the Department of Civil Engineering. The fact that the students will be well prepared on their way into the construction industry is also shown by the fact that the latest planning tools such as Virtual Reality are taken into account in the course of studies.  

Review of the Opening Ceremony
In November 2018, FH Aachen and the donors celebrated the start of their studies together with the new students. With 49 registrations, it became clear that not only the construction industry is very interested in new "smart" engineers, but also young students are interested in the course. Their motives? The broad subject matter of the course and the simultaneous specification, the combination of different subject areas as well as the goal of innovative building planning - voices that were heard among the first prospective "Smart Building Engineers". 
This summer the students are in the middle of the examination phase of the second semester. Many of them see themselves as confirmed in their choice of subject. So did Markus Többen and Bastian Huber. After completing two vocational training courses, both decided to take up the new degree programme at FH Aachen. "For me, it was primarily the diversity of the course that was decisive", Markus Többen explains his reasons for wanting to become a Smart Building Engineer. In fact, the course combines various interdisciplinary subjects such as thermodynamics and electrical engineering or even architectural history in order to prepare future graduates ideally for the demands of the constantly changing professional world. "Especially in the field of building design, we are facing major changes, such as Building Information Modeling," says Prof. Döring. In the "BIM" procedure, all the designing processes of the parties involved in the construction process are brought together in a single programme. "The whole thing is desired by the state and will prevail in the coming years," Prof. Döring continues. It is very important to prepare the experts of the future for exactly these changes now and to train them appropriately. 
It was this prospect that inspired Bastian Huber to study: "I've been working on construction sites for quite a while now and have repeatedly experienced the designing difficulties that the current processes can entail," he recalls. Motivated to improve this in the future, he decided to study at FH Aachen. "In addition, we benefit enormously here from the proximity to the companies," explains Huber, explaining another advantage of the new course. "In the first semester, for example, there are weekly expert lectures by construction companies from the region. You can make good contacts early."

Support from the Economy
In August 2016, the AACHEN BUILDING EXPERTS e. V. (ABE) association was founded. It is an association of leading companies in the construction industry, the two Aachen Universities FH and RWTH as well as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Chamber of Crafts Aachen. The ABE offers a forum for interdisciplinary exchange and networks to promote innovations in the construction sector and supports the establishment of long-term research cooperations. Günther Carpus, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Carpus+Partner AG, is a key initiator and current Chairman. The main activities of the association are the technical building equipment, the BIM, as well as innovative materials and processes. Together with its partners and members, the ABE strives to equip the construction industry for the digital future and to promote innovative construction. To this end, the association systematically brings together companies with scientists and students. The association currently has over 80 members, including Carpus+Partner, formitas, Drees & Sommer, Goldbeck, kadawittfeldarchitektur, Nesseler Grünzig and Siemens. liNear joined the association at the end of 2017. The suggestion for the new study course goes back to the former president of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Aachen Bert Wirtz. And it was met with great interest not only at the FH Aachen, but also at some regional companies. The engineering office BFT Cognos GmbH, the construction company Hans Lamers GmbH & Co. KG, the design and consulting company Carpus+Partner AG, the construction company Derichs u Konertz GmbH & Co. KG, the construction company Florack Bauunternehmung GmbH, the engineering office Kempen Krause Ingenieure GmbH, the construction company Lambert Schlun GmbH & Co. KG and the construction company nesseler bau gmbh formed the Smart Building Foundation.

Julia Bäumler and Johannes Poth | Team Pressestelle FH Aachen