IPHA Annual Conference 2023 – Vilnius, Lithuania

by | May 30, 2023 | Annual Conference, News | 0 comments

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IPHA Annual Conference 2023

The 2023 Annual Conference of IPHA took place in Vilnius, Lithuania from May 11 to 14.

IPHA, the International Prestressed Hollowcore Association, is dedicated to this specialist 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. It justifiably deserves its reputation as a center of excellence for anyone involved in the industry and designers of all disciplines. Membership of IPHA is open to manufacturers of hollowcore and suppliers of equipment, principal materials, specialized software, and other relevant service providers. The current membership comprises 82 companies from 33 different countries.

The annual conference provides the perfect opportunity for members to get together in an informal environment, where serious matters are discussed in a friendly atmosphere. Delegates have opportunities to meet, discuss their experiences and problems, and perhaps get a different perspective from another part of the world.

The conference program provides a theme relevant to the economic, commercial, and technical conditions of the time. Keynote speakers with experience in this theme are invited to speak.

The conference in Vilnius was the 27th annual conference in the current formation of IPHA, although its origins go back even further.

The host company this year was Betonika, part of the Consolis group, and a full member of IPHA.

The theme of the conference was:



why hollowcore, IPHA

For us there is no doubt that precast concrete is the building material of the future. It is versatile, robust and resilient, has long durability and high material efficiency, is affordable and locally available, with ample other benefits.

62 delegates and 20 partners arrived in the wonderful capital of Lithuania – Vilnius, in fantastic, sunny spring weather. The Conference took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The delegates represented 27 member companies from 17 different countries and provided a truly international flavour to the event.

The Conference opened with a welcome dinner on Thursday night in the Terrace Lounge at the Radisson Blu Hotel.

The Friday session saw the formal opening of the conference, with welcoming addresses given by Seamus McKeague, the CEO of Creagh Concrete Products Ltd, Northern Ireland and President of IPHA, and Karl Esa Matti Mäki, Managing Director of Consolis Baltic.

The remainder of the morning session included two presentations directly related to the theme of the conference. Firstly What matters in sustainability” – presented by Ismo Tiittanen, Strategy Director at NCC Building Finland, followed by “Sustainability challenges” by Tomas Plauška, Sustainability Manager at Consolis Group, and Gedrimas Abromavicius, Sales Director of Betonika.

After a coffee break, delegates visited the Betonika factory in Trakai, where they saw a very clean and efficient factory with a focus on 5S that was particularly impressive. The factory tour ended with an open air lunch in the nice weather.

On Friday evening, Betonika invited all delegates and their partners to an excellent host dinner in the elegant Arkangelo conference and art center in Vilnius. The center is established in the former Bernardine Convent of St.Michael the Archangel, in the very heart of Vilnius Old Town.

Saturday started with an excellent presentation Organization alignment during ESG Journey and importance of the Leadership behaviours & culture transformation” conducted by Aukse Žukauskiene, Partner at Ernst & Young Baltic. This was followed up by Alessio Rimoldi, Secretary General at BIBM, who presented; “Carbon accounting for building materials – An in-depth analysis of bio-based solutions”.

After a short break, Alexander Engström, Managing Director at TermoDeck, continued with his presentation “Proven practice how hollowcore can contribute in creating more value and benefit customer, end-user and the climate”.

As a new member of IPHA, Silvio Schade, Editor-in-Chief of BFT INTERNATIONAL, presented Bauverlag AG.

The afternoon session saw a presentation from one of this year’s sponsors to the Annual Conference, Combilift, given by Ulrick Staudal, Key Account Manager. The conference’s other sponsor, Elematic, had given their company presentation during the journey to the factory at Trakai.

Then, Seamus McKeague introduced IPHA’s new Executive Director, Kjell-Ole Gjestemoen, who will be succeeding Carsten Friberg after 10 years of service. Kjell-Ole briefly presented himself and some thoughts for the future of IPHA.

The next point on the agenda was the presentations of applicants for the Terry Treanor Award. This year, three applications were submitted: firstly, “IPHA brand/trade mark – Sustainable Slabs” from Managing Director Holger Karutz of ad-media GmbH. Applications two and three were from Phil Surridge, BGC Pty Ltd – Australia; “Debonding Prestress” and “Hollowcore Noisewalls”. The winner of the 2023 TT Award was “Hollowcore Noisewalls”.

Hereafter followed the General Assembly, at which Seamus McKeague made a report to the Board, and IPHA’s outgoing Executive Director, Carsten Friberg, presented the financial results for 2022 and the budget for 2023.

Dr. Wim Jansze, President of IPHA’s Technical Committee, then presented the program for the upcoming Technical Seminar, to be held in Amsterdam at the end of October 2023. The theme for the seminar will be “Re-Use of Hollowcore Slabs”. Wim also presented the status of the Holocolodis project, and Pieter van der Zee, member of the Technical Committee informed the Board on the status of EuroCode2.

Jordi Pujol, President of the Marketing Committee, then presented the Sales and Marketing seminar that took place in Barcelona October 2022. Jordi also presented a video that was made following the Barcelona seminar, and which is available on YouTube.

Seamus McKeague and Jordi Pujol both completed a three-year term as Board Members, with Seamus prepared to be reelected. The Board recommended that he be reelected for another three-year period. Jordi wished to step down as a Board Member, and it was recommended that Ian Treanor is elected in his place for a three-year period. Extraordinary Board Member Pieter van der Zee had also decided to step down, and it was recommended that Stefan van Buggenhout be elected in his place, also for a three-year period. The General Assembly unanimously approved these proposals from the Board of Directors.

Board Member Marco Pecetti presented the new structure of the Technical and Marketing Committees, with the intention to involve more voluntary members on both.

Kjell-Ole, the new Executive Director of IPHA, announced that the 2024 Annual Conference will be held in Ireland/Northern Ireland, with joint hosts, Creagh Concrete & Combilift.

On Saturday evening, the IPHA dinner was held in the beautiful Belmontas restaurant – Charles de Vim’s Hall. During the dinner, the Terry Treanor award was given to Phil Surridge from BGC.

IPHA’s President, Seamus McKeague, thanked all speakers, delegates and the Board of Directors for their participation in and contribution to a very successful Annual Conference. In addition, he had a special thanks to Jordi Pujol and Pieter van der Zee for their long and good service as board members over many years.

Finally, Seamus thanked Carsten Friberg for his 10 years of service as IPHA’s executive director, a job Carsten has done with great professionalism and reliability over all these years.

Annual Conference 2023, IPHA

IPHA’s outgoing Executive Director, Carsten Friberg, who retires after 10 years of service. Carsten has been made an Honorary Member of IPHA.

Annual Conference – Gallery

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