Added value for member companies

In November 2015, the membership meeting of Betonverband Straße, Landschaft, Garten (SLG – German Concrete Association Road, Landscape, Garden) elected a new executive board. Florian Klostermann, Managing Director at Heinrich Klostermann GmbH based in Coesfeld, succeeds Martin Kronimus as chairman of the board. The BFT editor talked with Klostermann about his objectives, about proposed amendments regarding the liability for defects, about further training, and about the parallels between an association chairman and a soccer coach.

BFT International: First of all, we cordially congratulate you on the chairmanship of the board of the Concrete Association Road, Landscape, Garden (SLG). For those readers who do not know the association. What are the association’s functions?

Florian Klostermann: As an autonomous and independent industrial representation of the manufacturers of concrete products for road, landscape and garden construction the SLG Concrete Association is the central point of contact for all methods of construction in the field of concrete block paving. We are involved in numerous organizations, engaged in creating technical rules and standards for the block pavement construction method, but also in research; thus, on the one hand, we take part in the development and, on the other hand, we enjoy a substantial lead in knowledge for the benefit of our members. This proximity to the organizations and working bodies, which we have obtained due to almost 20 years of active participation, clearly leads to advantages for planners, contracting companies and clients, too; and we gladly provide support and advice on technical issues to them. Our core objective is and will always remain the promotion of construction with concrete paving blocks, and therefore we certainly pay close attention to construction in a technically correct manner and in accor-dance with rules and standards.

BFT International: What are the key aspects of the association activity?

Florian Klostermann: Apart from the above mentioned participation in creating technical rules and standards and in research, our activities focus on an external communication and on further education and training as well as an internal and external knowledge transfer. Nothing is more obvious and more comprehensible than to make our target groups aware of the advantages of good products – and we do have good products. In this regard, we concentrate on the technical discussion in accor-dance with our mission, however, topics like efficiency and sustainability are also considered here. Further education and training becomes an ever more important task of our association. Beside the merely technical and professional subjects, legal aspects gain in importance too. If we take the proposed amendments to the construction contract law and the amendment concerning the liability for defects under sale of goods law as examples, then it becomes clear that we have to respond by strongly pointing out the buyer’s obligation to examine and give notice of defects pursuant to the German Commercial Code (HGB). According to latest investigations, provided by our umbrella organization, Bundesverband Baustoffe Steine und Erden (German Building Materials Association), it was again possible to prove that only 6 % of construction liability losses are due to material deficiencies, whereas 21 % are due to design deficiencies, 25 % to errors of the site management and 45 % to poor quality workmanship. I think that these figures quite obviously indicate the direction for the work of our trade association.

BFT International: What are you going to change in the association?

Florian Klostermann: During his nine-year term of office, my predecessor, Martin Kronimus, had been working with great passion and exemplary commitment for the interests and issues of our sector and he has excellently represented our association in public. In keeping with the motto “concrete blocks – natural, but even better” I intend to continue the successful work of my predecessor to the best of my ability. In the beginning, I felt like Thomas Tuchel who succeeded the extraordinary successful Jürgen Klopp as coach of the soccer team Borussia Dortmund last year. But with our executive board and our management we have a great team that is actively supporting me. In the future, we will even more concentrate on the subject of further education and training – both within and outside the association. Our first SLG conference on concrete block pavement construction methods, for example, which we held at the end of November last year, showed the high level of interest in technical further training relating to the application of our products. The number of participants at the plant manager conference, that has just been held, also reveals the great acceptance of our services in the field of production engineering. With about 100 people we have reached a record number of participants for the third consecutive time at this SLG internal conference that has been established since 2002. Externally we continue to communicate the advantages of our products and construction methods in the context of sustainability and environmentally friendly construction. I am particularly glad about the fact that we are the first sector in the field of suppliers of open area pavement products with an association EPD for concrete paving blocks. As you can see, I am not primarily aiming at changes, but rather at focusing on the successful fields of activity and intensifying them even more.

BFT International: Why the involvement in an association? The function as a managing director at one’s own company is already requiring a great deal of work, isn’t it?

Florian Klostermann: My father has always convinced me of the necessity of successful association work.

As supplier sector to the construction industry, we are faced with numerous, always new questions, which we have to deal with. In this regard, an individual undertaking could generally achieve nothing in the sense of an industrial representation. For this purpose, we have the associations, which we badly need for representing our interests and objectives.

BFT International: What are your wishes for the SLG’s future?

Florian Klostermann: Certainly, I wish a membership of all manufacturers of concrete paving blocks in the association – this is utopian, I know. But I also know that we provide significant added value for the member companies by our offer of information and our high level of acknowledged professional expertise – I regularly get corresponding feedback; and as company manager and representative of a SLG member right from the start  – I am in the best position to assess the benefit of the association.


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