IPHA Annual Conference 2022 – Leuven, Belgium
IPHA Annual Conference 2022
The 2022 Annual Conference of IPHA took place in Leuven, Belgium from May 19 to 22.
IPHA is an association dedicated to the special field of precast prestressed floors and walls.
Its history goes back more than 50 years and brings together a wealth of experience in the design, development, production and marketing of hollowcore constructions. It justifiably deserves its reputation as a centre of excellence for anyone involved in the industry and designers of all disciplines. Membership of IPHA is open to manufacturers of hollowcore and also suppliers of equipment, principal material suppliers, specialised software designers and other relevant service providers. The current membership comprises 82 companies from 33 different countries across the globe.
The annual conference provides the perfect opportunity for members to get together in a friendly and informal environment where serious matters are discussed in a convivial atmosphere. Members have many opportunities to meet and discuss experiences, and perhaps get a different perspective from another part of the world.
The programme is designed to provide a theme relevant to the economic, commercial and technical conditions of the time. Keynote speakers with experience of the particular theme are invited to speak.
The conference in Leuven was the 26th annual conference in the history of the current formation of IPHA, although its origins go back further.
The host company was Echo Precast Engineering, an associate member of IPHA.
The theme of the conference was:
Based on the booklet of the late Arnold Van Acker, we discussed the advantages of hollowcore and how to make hollowcore evolve and succeed.
56 delegates and 18 partners arrived at the Begijnhof Hotel, Leuven on Thursday, May 19 and met in the nearby Faculty Club for a welcome dinner in readiness for the start of the proceedings on the following day. The delegates represented 33 member companies. They came from 18 different countries and provided a truly international flavour to the event.
The Friday session saw the formal opening of the conference with welcoming addresses given by Seamus McKeague, the IPHA President and Sabine Erspamer, Managing Director of Echo Precast Engineering, the host company.
Firstly Stef Maas, Managing Director of FEBE, the Belgian Precast Concrete Association, gave a very interesting and thought-provoking presentation titled ‘Hollowcore floors – the floor of the future?’.
He was followed by Richard Hellrigl, the Managing Director of Progress Software Development – PSD, who informed about how PSD works on developing dedicated software for the Progress Group. His presentation was titled ‘Behind the screen in Industry 4.0’.
The third speaker of the morning was Peter Hinssen, the world-renowned thought leader on radical innovation, leadership and the impact of all things digital on society and business. The title of his presentation was ‘How to become a Phoenix; how corporates can reinvent themselves for the Never Normal world.
The morning then finished with company presentations from the two sponsors Sika Services and i-Theses.
After lunch, the delegates were divided into eight groups. Under the leadership of facilitators Wilfred Heupl and Nicole Lehrer each group was given the task to study and discuss 4-5 advantages of hollowcore, such as stated in the ‘Why Hollowcore’ booklet, and to propose modern, marketing oriented and technical correct titles on each advantage and to define subtitles describing the advantages.
The first day’s sessions were completed with a relaxed event called Beer&Chokolate Tasting, at which the delegates were introduced to the best quality of the famous Belgian beer and chocolate.
On Friday evening, the host company Echo Precast Engineering invited all delegates and their partners to an excellent host dinner in the beautiful restaurant Salons Van Dijck in Mechelen. Speeches were made by Sabine Erspamer, the Managing Director of Echo Precast Engineering and by Seamus McKeague, The President of IPHA.
On Saturday morning the delegates went for a site visit to the huge ZIN-WTC construction site, where the IPHA member Ergon has built numerous high rises, and presently are constructing another high rise, naturally using hollowcore as floor slabs.
Back at the conference centre the eight groups, formed for the ‘Why Hollowcore’ workshop on the previous day, presented their conclusion on the advantages of hollowcore. The facilitators completed the workshop with their summary and conclusion.
After lunch, the new IPHA members: Max-truder, Germany and Solga Diamant, Spain gave short presentations about their companies.
Hereafter followed the presentations from the three companies that applied for the Terry Treanor Award. The companies were Ergon – Belgium, Sika Service – Switzerland and Peikko – Consolis jointly, Finland.
The last point of the conference was the General Assembly 2022, at which the President of IPHA Seamus McKeague presented the report from the Board and Carsten Friberg, Executive Director of IPHA, presented the financial results for 2021 and the budget for 2023.
Wim Jansze, the President of IPHA’s Technical Committee and Pieter van der Zee, member of the Technical Committee, informed about the successful Production Seminar held in San Salvo, Italy. They further informed of IPHA’s studies on (1) the environmental impact of hollowcore in a school building, (2) load distribution in hollowcore decks and (3) seismic design of hollowcore slabs. Finally, they informed everyone of upcoming EC2 changes relevant to the hollowcore industry and of new fib recommendations.
Jordi Pujol, the President of IPHA’s Marketing Committee, presented the programme for the forthcoming Sales and Marketing Seminar in Barcelona in October 2022 and Carsten Friberg informed of the IPHA webinars held in 2021 and ongoing this spring
In the evening IPHA invited all delegates and partners for a dinner in Restaurant Van der Valk in Mechelen. During the dinner, it was disclosed that this year’s Terry Treanor Award went to Ergon – Belgium.
Finally, Seamus McKeague, President of IPHA, thanked all delegates for their presence during the conference and Carsten Friberg thanked Echo Precast Engineering for their support and involvement during the preparation and implementation of the conference.