Dipl.-Ing. Anett Fischer

TBE General Assembly in Gdansk – new products and old brick buildings

This year’s TBE Congress, which was held from 21 to 22 June in Gdansk, Poland, was jointly organized by the Employers Association of Building Ceramics (ZPCB) and the TBE. The very successful annual meeting was attended by around 60 representatives of the European clay roofing tile and masonry brick industry as well as the national brick and tile associations. In addition to covering current issues in the industry, the programme included the discussion of forward-looking ideas about new products and a tour of a centuries-old brick build, Malbork Castle, on 23 June.

Product Groups informed about key topics

As already in past years, the members of the individual product groups met on the eve of the TBE Congress to discuss the latest activities and forthcoming challenges.

This condensed meetings offer a good opportunity for members of one product group to attend the meetings of the other groups in order to obtain comprehensive information and keep themselves up to date. The meeting of the Masonry Brick product group was followed by the meetings of the Environment and Technical Working Group and the Roof Tile Product Group.

At the Masonry Brick meeting, the agenda included the “daily business” of European standardization, like CEN/TC 125 Masonry, CEN/TC 250 and CEN/TC 126. Information was presented on, for instance, topics like fire and sound protection as well as earthquake safety. There was agreement on the fact that construction costs should not be allowed to increase further and, for example, earthquake-safe construction must remain affordable. Besides standardization work, the future of masonry was a focus. In a guest paper by Alexander Lehmden, Wienerberger AG, brick prefabrication, as well as digitalization in the construction industry were discussed. The goals are to improve the building quality while speeding up construction times.

The members of the Environment and Technical Working Group were given an update on European climate and energy policy. A review on the Carbon Leakage List should be completed in 2018. Other topics were the revision of the EPBD (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive), the future of the CPR (Construction Products Regulation), the revision of the “Waste Framework Directive” and information on smart CE marking. Information was also presented on the recarbonation project. Study findings have shown that up to 1/5 of the process emissions from clay blocks later recarbonate. The industry should find out more about this positive finding. Discussed were also the latest activities in standardization, like CEN/TC 350 WG 1 and WG 3, CEN TC 442 and CEN TC 351.

The last meeting of the day was held by the Roof Tiles Product Group. Here, too, besides CE marking and the recycling of brick material, one topic was the current standardization. An update was given on CEN/TC 128 and TC 128/SC 3. Energy-efficient building refurbishment can offer a big opportunity for clay roofing tiles. Here it is important to remove any barriers to roof refurbishment for existing buildings. Mario Cunial, Andil, presented the latest results of the HeroTile project and the draft concept for a follow-on project HeroTile2. Result of the project is a rear-ventilated roofing tile with which cooling energy can be saved and the CO2 emissions therefore reduced.

In the evening, the TBE members met for a cocktail reception and a gala dinner in the centre of Gdansk. The serving TBE President Miroslaw Jaroszewicz welcomed the attendees warmly to this city with its long history. Later in the evening, attendees were able to enjoy views of the famous old town from the roof of the restaurant.

TBE General Assembly

On Friday morning, 22 June, was the meeting of the Executive Committee and the General Assembly of the TBE. In his welcome address, Miroslaw Jaroszewicz thanked the sponsor Smac for its support.

During the assembly, the topics in the industry were concisely summarized as these had been discussed extensively the day before. TBE General Secretary Magdalena Vallebona informed attendees about completed, current and future TBE activities, like the revision of the EU directive on the Emission Trading System (ETS) and the study commissioned by the European Commission on cumulative cost assessment (CCA).

Renaud Batier, Director General at Cerame Unie, reported on the successful Ceramic Days 2017 and invited everyone to the 2018 event, which will take place from 4 to 5 December.
Cerame Unie is also stepping up its activities on social media and already has 1 300 followers on Twitter.

Gdansk and the Malbork Castle – flagships for clay bricks

In a perfectly organized excursion programme, the attendees were given the opportunity to view the port of Gdansk as well as Malbork Castle.

Gdansk with its over 1000-year-old heritage has a long and significant history. In a tour of the city, everyone found out a lot of interesting details and marvelled at the rich brick architecture. A highlight was the visit to Malbork Castle, a UNESCO world heritage site, with its turbulent past. The castle, half of which was destroyed in 1945, has been rebuilt and restored. The size of the castle and the numerous brick buildings with the wide-ranging formats, from bricks to roofing tiles, impressed the attendees.

The industry meeting in Denmark in 2019

“Thanks to the cooperation between the TBE members and the Polish Employers Association of Building Ceramics (ZPCB), the TBE Congress 2018 has been a complete success”, said Vice-President Ioannis Maliouris, who sincerely thanked the organizers. Great praise was also given for the perfectly organized and very interesting excursion programme.

In future too, the topics of climate and energy, sustainability and environment protection will occupy the industry. The TBE Congress offers a very good opportunity to find out first-hand about pressing issues in the industry. As an organization representing the European clay masonry brick and roofing tile industry, the TBE does excellent work. It would, however, be desirable if more practitioners in the industry would meet at the General Assembly, to secure the future of clay bricks and roofing tiles together with the representatives of the different associations. The next opportunity for this is in 2019 when the industry is meeting in Denmark.

Tiles & Bricks Europe – TBE aisbl

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