“Shaping Places for People” is the heading under which the 61st edition of the BetonTage congress will be held in Neu-Ulm from 14 to 16 February 2017. At this annual continuing training forum of the precast industry, high-profile speakers will report on latest technical, legal and commercial developments. Product-specific panels conceived with the support of relevant industry associations will account for a major part of the program, of which this article presents a summary.
Two panels are dedicated to producers of structural precast elements. One of the key topics will deal with the use of precast elements in bridge construction. Many bridges no longer have the capacity to withstand the traffic loads of today, which is why they will soon have to be replaced. In this regard, precast construction can make a major contribution towards shortening construction times. International project examples will be presented to demonstrate that this construction method has proven its worth. Self-compacting concrete is also widely used in this field. Its application can increase the cost effectiveness of production processes, as one of the papers will demonstrate. Furthermore, a concept drafted by the precast industry associations on how to utilize structural precast components in Germany as a result of the ECJ judgement will be outlined.
From “ETA Factory”
to low-noise pavers
The second structural precast panel will focus on innovative technical solutions, including the research project on the so-called “ETA Factory” concept, which interlinks machinery, technical services and the building itself with the aim to use energy as efficiently as possible. This panel will also present a test-based engineering model to study the structural behavior of sandwich roofing elements comprising thin concrete shells and pin-shaped glass-fiber-reinforced plastic connectors, as well as a newly developed cage wall reinforcement system and a structural element that enables sufficient thermal decoupling of the reinforced-concrete column from the reinforced-concrete floor slab. Furthermore, this panel will include a report on the results of fatigue tests of precast floor slabs with lattice girders under cyclic load. The program of this panel will be rounded off by a presentation on the causes and possible solutions for hairline cracking and soiling of exposed concrete surfaces during storage.
Besides design aspects, environmental policy requirements are becoming increasingly important with respect to urban planning. Some of the key topics in this regard include noise mitigation, clean air, and managing heavy rainfall events. The opportunities that concrete block pavements can offer for a future-proof design of urban spaces will be highlighted in the panel on road construction, garden and landscape design. This panel will also include a report on the current status of the revision of the FGSV “ZTV Pflaster-StB” standards (Zusätzliche Technische Vertragsbedingungen zur Herstellung von Pflasterdecken im Straßenbau; Supplementary Technical Conditions of Contract for Installing Paving Blocks in Road Construction) and of the Code of Practice on low-noise paving methods. Another paper will refer to the various aspects of generally accepted engineering practices and make proposals on how to define their contents. This panel will also deal with legal topics, for instance regarding liability in the event of frost/deicing salt damage and most recent case law of the German Federal Court of Justice that pertains to imperfections to be tolerated and to warranted product characteristics.
From pipeline construction to lightweight concrete
Among other topics, the panel on pipeline construction and drainage systems will cover the issue of climate change and related challenges. It will investigate the causes of flash floods in urban areas and present examples of possible solutions, including the large-scale Simmering Reservoir project in Vienna and the Bonn-Mehlem storm relief sewer. This panel will also critically review the suitability of new materials for concrete pipes for industrial application that were developed as part of the WiTraBau research project. From a legal perspective, the duty to inspect and give notice of defects, as well as liability for defects under commercial law, in relation to pipe and manhole deliveries will be described. Furthermore, the “right” methods for the leak testing of pipes and manholes will be discussed. In addition, this panel will provide an update on standards and worksheets, including DIN EN 1610 and DWA-A 139 on the “Installation and Testing of Waste Pipes and Sewers”.
The panel on lightweight concrete will present the new guidance document on earthquakes that demonstrates the application of the various verification methods using realistic examples, as well as state-of-the-art software tools for designers to verify the thermal performance of buildings. Its agenda also includes presentations on a new type of lightweight concrete and mineral foam used as a filler. Furthermore, the significance of the ECJ judgement in case C-100/13 for fasteners in concrete and masonry will be discussed.
From cast stone to small wastewater treatment systems
The panels on cast stone and concrete in architecture will showcase completed projects both in Germany and on an international scale to impressively demonstrate the wide range of design options offered by concrete. Yet concrete technology aspects will also be in the focus, such as which factors to observe when selecting suitable aggregates or the question of which types of fastening systems for cast stone façade panels are available on the market.
The panel on small wastewater treatment systems is geared towards manufacturers, municipalities and water management experts. Among other topics, it will provide information on the implications of the ECJ judgement and the current status of the revised approval procedure for this product category. In addition, an automated monitoring system to check effluent quality will be presented, and the structural and use-related requirements for the durability of small wastewater treatment systems and their tank materials will be discussed.
Workshops specifically geared towards plant and production managers will be held simultaneously with the panels. On 15 February 2017, the workshop on cast stone, concrete pavers and slabs will deal with the construction of beddings and joints using various materials, the handling and installation of large-format slabs, the use of high-performance concretes, and infiltration-based drainage capacity measurement according to the FGSV Code of Practice.
On 16 February 2017, the workshop on concrete in building construction will outline measurement methods to determine moisture content, methods of building diagnostics, the application of water repellents, and options to influence concrete quality during construction in the winter season.
Innovations in concrete technology
One of the main aims of the BetonTage congress is to showcase the innovation potential of the industry. The panel entitled “From research to practice” will present the results of current projects, such as WiTraBau. Other presentations deal with possible applications of concrete with high flexural tensile strength, multifunctional precast elements made from carbon-reinforced concrete, new findings and forecast models for freeze-thaw damage, and superplasticizers for high-performance and ultra-high-performance concretes.
Another panel will investigate the potentials of structural precast elements of tomorrow. The wide range of future solutions includes thermal storage elements made from concrete, multifunctional façade panels and L‑shaped retaining elements made from UHPC, precast elements consisting of steel-fiber-reinforced ultra-high-performance concrete, and possible uses of textile-reinforced concrete. This panel will also include a report on a research project into the robotized additive manufacture of precast elements.
The congress will be complemented by an exhibition featuring 160 renowned companies from the supplier, engineering and software industries.
The complete congress program is available at www.betontage.de.