The world has not come to an end. Contrary to all speculations, we are kicking off the new year 2013. Economic crises, financial crises, and euro crises continue. The majority of EU citizens came to accept all of this long ago – except for the people in Greece, Spain, and Portugal, who are suffering the most.
The organizers of the 57th BetonTage, which will take place in early February in Ulm, Germany, were obviously very conscious of the present situation when they chose their motto “Creating value.” Because these crises have certainly also affected the construction industry. On the one hand, as a strongly impacted sector, the turnovers in most EU countries have seriously declined. On the other, it appears that the construction business was a contributor to this situation – it was speculation with property and new construction in the USA and Spain that initiated the crises.
The motto “Creating value” is open to several interpretations. It can mean that in future greater stock will again be placed on construction of buildings of greater quality. Manufacturers – in many EU countries driven to the brink of ruin by trends to ever cheaper construction and to lower quality – would then be able to again obtain a fair price. The advantages for buyers of real estate are also obvious: buildings of greater quality have longer service lives and suffer less loss in value.
But the motto has most of all an ethical dimension. It means that buildings must be constructed so as to be sustainable and environmentally compatible. Improvement in the life-cycle assessment belongs in this context, as does building removal as well as separation and reuse of materials. The program of the 57th BetonTage reveals a comprehensive overview of the efforts of the precast industry to develop high-quality, sustainable, and environmentally compatible construction materials and applications.