It is a great pleasure for the fib to participate in this very prestigious conference, the BetonTage 2019. The theme of the conference – Innovation in Concrete – is particularly important in these changing and challenging times.
We have designed and built concrete structures for several centuries. Do we need to know more? Do we need to innovate more? The answer is yes, not because we have not learned from our experience, but because the circumstances change and there is always room for improvement.
The fib is also concerned with innovation. In September this year, the fib will arrange a symposium on conceptual design in Madrid. Conceptual design is not exactly the same as innovation. But the success of a structure – both in its use and its construction – depends on adequate conceptual design.
Some people think you must be a born innovator or exceptionally smart and creative to perform conceptual design. This is not true; innovation can be learned. In this light, it is promising that so many bright people are gathered here these days.
In the fib, hundreds of people work voluntarily every year to improve the knowledge around concrete and concrete structures. They do a formidable job, making their skills and expertise available to the community of the fib, for the good of the fib and the concrete world in general. The PhD symposia organized by the fib every second year, initiated by Honorary President György Balázs some twenty years ago, are an excellent example of how the fib functions.
Fortunately, the young members of the fib see the benefit of actively organizing effective contributions. Young people think quickly and creatively. Without young enthusiasts, the fib would outlive its usefulness.
In a sense, much of the work of the fib – through work in commissions, task groups and working parties – is manifested in Model Codes. The MC2020 is now underway, including all types of structures, existing and new, all types of concretes, and all types of reinforcements. To master these challenging tasks, good and fruitful communication with the members of the fib, the National Member Groups and the individuals is essential. Germany and the BetonTage are an outstanding example of this.