Until 2012, the construction industry in Turkey had been growing at a rapid rate. The local concrete and precast concrete industry as well as the international supply industry also could benefit from this boom. According to the Turkish precast concrete association, Türkiye Prefabrik Birligi, more than 93 million m³ of ready-mix concrete and 1.6 million m³ of precast concrete elements were manufactured in 2012. It is thus obvious that the European Federation for Precast Concrete (BIBM) had chosen, some years ago, Istanbul as the venue for the membership meeting of 2014 – at present, however, the Turkish construction sector shows a different situation.
The conference room was very well attended at the opening of the BIBM membership meeting on May 22. The greetings of the resigning BIBM President, Patrick Declerck, the President of the Turkish precast concrete association, Bugra Kucukkayalar, of Seamus McKeague of the International Prestressed Hollowcore Association (IPHA) and of the BIBM Secretary General, Alessio Rimoldi, were followed by lectures in three topic sections lasting until the afternoon. Martin Clarke, chairman of the BIBM Communication Commission, moderated the first section concerning leadership, financing, climate, raw materials and training. Ulrich Lotz, also a representative of the Communication Commission, moderated the subsequent section relating to clean cities, beautiful landscapes as well as innovation and outstanding projects. Carsten Friberg, professor of architecture, moderated section three concerning innovation and research in favor of the precast concrete industry.
New BIBM President
At the second day, the lecture sections were entitled „sustainability – a global approach“, moderated by Gernot Brandweiner, chairman of the Technical Commission of BIBM, „market development – promotion, financing and education“ moderated by the BIBM Secretary General, Rimoldi, and „precast solutions in seismic active areas“ moderated by the previous BIBM board member, Olli Korander.
The practical orientation of many lectures was encouraging to note as, for example, the lecture of Veronica Jensen on skate parks made of precast concrete elements, Martin Möllmann‘s lecture about promoting precast and cast stone products or the lecture of the Turkish association on worldwide stadium projects.
At the end of the second day and of the entire event, BIBM President Declerck introduced his newly elected successor, Jaime Delclaux from Spain (see page 10). The law graduate and previous Vice-President promised to further develop and strengthen the European federation for the benefit of its members.
Maintaining contacts between Europe and Asia
Some 67 companies and associations, including many international market leaders, had set up their booths in the adjacent room and in the entrance area. The feedback of the exhibitors was quite different. It was positively pointed out that more industry representatives came to Istanbul in comparison to the last BIBM congress held in Cannes.
The congress participants also had the opportunity to establish and maintain contacts during the supporting program, a boat trip on the Bosporus in the evening of the second conference day and a bus trip through Istanbul with stops at Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, among others, at the third and last day.