10. Innovation and Product Management

The company discloses how innovations in products and services are enhanced through suitable processes which improve sustainability with respect to the company’s utilisation of resources and with regard to users. Likewise, a further statement is made with regard to if and how the current and future impact of the key products and services in the value chain and in the product life cycle are assessed.

Innovative strength as added value

Innovation for project success Innovation is a key factor of competitiveness. Alternative proposals that are custom-developed for construction projects account for a substantial proportion of HOCHTIEF’s project success. That is because they enhance quality, efficiency, and sustainability in our projects. Our outstanding position in this arena is due to our innovative workforce as well as our Group-wide research and development activities. Innovation is one of our guiding principles: We continuously grow our technical expertise and are constantly seeking new ways to optimize. 

The strategic goals of the work HOCHTIEF puts into innovation are to improve operational efficiency and safety as well as to ensure all our operating companies’ competitiveness and the marketability of our services on a long-term basis. At HOCHTIEF, innovation is embedded in project activities. We aim to inspire our employees to adapt improved technologies and processes as well as to generate innovations themselves, thereby contributing to progress. That calls for a flexible organization that can learn, and the tools to support that. It also means maintaining a comprehensive view of the big picture and assessing trends that can impact the construction industry long-term. Chief among today’s trends are new technologies that optimize construction methods, which offer significant opportunities to leverage potential.

Detailed information on HOCHTIEF's innovation organization can be found in the Group Report starting on page 91

New focus for innovation management

HOCHTIEF is currently concentrating on harnessing opportunities presented by digitalization, where fields such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, machine learning, the Internet of Things, and Industry 4.0 are opening up new opportunities and perspectives. Innovation management, which forms part of the Risk Management, Organization and Innovation corporate department, will further accelerate innovation activities. Our goal is to drive digital processes forward effectively and ensure that all team members are optimally connected. With this in mind, HOCHTIEF established a new organization in 2018: Nexplore.

Innovation focus Building Information Modeling (BIM)

We remain focused on growing expert BIM skills throughout the Group. We want to make the use BIM our standard for all projects in the long term. BIM relies on actively networking all those involved with the help of a 3D computer model, which can incorporate additional information such as schedules and budgets. All parties work in one model so that they can quickly respond to changes in planning—which helps make risk management more effective, especially with complex projects. Thanks to coordinated communications and organization, project operations can be adapted to suit current circumstances while downtime and collisions are avoided. Furthermore, BIM helps in the designing of optimally integrated logistic concepts, ensuring that unnecessary transportation and the greenhouse gases this produces are eliminated. Based on the model, project participants can also calculate the carbon footprint as well as possible savings.

Examples of our innovative projects can be found from page 94 in the Group Report.

CO2 reductions from sustainable construction

Green buildings make a substantial contribution when it comes to cutting carbon emissions. Certified
buildings are made to be resource-efficient, using sustainably produced or recycled materials, contracting out works regionally, and favoring short transportation distances. Social and environmental criteria are included in subcontractor selection. Green buildings deliver considerable benefits during their subsequent operation. According to the World Green Building Council, their carbon emissions are nearly a third lower. In a U.S. study, certified buildings showed an average energy saving of 36% relative to conventional buildings.

Instead of new builds, many HOCHTIEF projects involve converting, modernizing, revitalizing, or refurbishing existing structures. This prevents additional ground surface sealing, preserves the urban skyline, and ensures that materials are reused. Environmental benefits include less transportation, smaller waste volumes, and reduced resource use, while more energy-efficient design significantly improves energy performance. An example is the Werk 4 project in Munich, Germany, where
HOCHTIEF is converting and adding to what was formerly a potato silo. Pulling down the silo would have resulted in a negative energy footprint.

HOCHTIEF handled projects totaling some EUR 8.2 billion in the green building and green infrastructure
segments in 2018 (2017: EUR 7.6 billion).