Tiles and bricks executives from across Europe met in Leuven, Belgium on 1 and 2 June for the 2015 TBE Congress. The Congress was hosted and organised by the Royal Dutch Association for Building Ceramics (KNB) and the Belgian Brick Association (BBF).
The Congress started on Monday 1 June with the Roofing Tiles Product Group followed by the Masonry Product Group. Members attended the TBE Joint Environmental and Technical Working Group in the afternoon to gain a comprehensive overview of the activities undertaken during the last year. That evening members enjoyed a cocktail and gala dinner in the stunning 13th century Infirmary of the UNESCO World Heritage Begijnhof. The morning of Tuesday 2 June was dedicated to the TBE Executive Committee, BBF Board, KNB General Assembly and TBE General Assembly.
The TBE General Assembly presented a good occasion to review the previous year’s actions and anticipate upcoming activities. Thanks to TBE Working Groups, electronic brochures on the advantages of pitched roofs and clay masonry products were prepared for TBE members to distribute at national level and use in meetings with builders and architects. Important developments related to EU climate and energy policy were discussed as was the implementation of Product Category Rules. Additionally, TBE is creating a solid external network that promotes the visibility of the industry by participating in the World Sustainable Buildings Conference and the European Masonry Alliance.
TBE members discussed upcoming activities such as the revision of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Directive and the study on re-carbonation. Also in the pipeline are the European Commission initiative on additional indicators for the assessment of buildings and the study on the leaching behaviour of clay aggregates.
Internal structural changes were approved by TBE members at the General Assembly. Mirosław Jaroszewicz from the Polish Employers Union of Building Ceramics became TBE’s new Vice-President, replacing Heimo Scheuch, CEO of Wienerberger AG, who held the title of President for six years and Vice-President for one. Pierre Jonnard was nominated the next TBE Internal Auditor (replacing Hervé Gastinel). The following representatives were nominated new members of the Executive Committee: Roland Besnard, Christof Domenig, John Mercer and Wayne Sheppard. TBE also welcomed Magdalena Vallebona, its new Secretary General, who will be taking over the responsibilities of Adolfo Aiello after heading the TBE Secretariat for three years.
A debate on construction took place in the afternoon with a focus on sustainability, a topic that is central to the European tiles and bricks industry. Six panellists representing key stakeholder groups – architects, academia, demolition and social housing – covered all three pillars of sustainability from environmental to economic and social. The industry believes that the scope of a proper sustainability assessment needs to focus on the entire building because construction materials are always used as building elements. Moreover, to gain a comprehensive assessment it is essential to consider the whole life cycle of the building and its elements, up to the recycling and re-use phase.
Following successful meetings, the TBE Secretariat looks forward to welcoming its members to Switzerland for the 2016 Congress on 23-24 June.