Relevant recent public consultations
The European Commission has recently opened three relevant public consultations.
Public Consultation on Circular Economy –
BIBM submitted its answer to the public consultation on circular economy. The main points that BIBM made were the following:
- There is no one size fits for all solution : product and sector specific characteristics should be taken into account
- The proper level of assessment of environmental performance is at building or construction works level ( and not construction product level, which is an intermediate level)
- Need to have a system approach and not product approach
- Recycled content doesn’t mean necessary lower environmental impacts, moreover it often ends in transporting recycled material from long distances
- Support of whole life cycle analysis and holistic approach
- The use of recycled aggregates should go preferably into geo-technical works, rather than into concrete production
- There is a lack of critical raw materials, metals and plastics in Europe, while aggregates are abundantly available and doesn’t jeopardise the material independency of Europe
- Backfilling of recycled aggregates (geo-technical works) should be recognised to reduce the use of virgin materials and contribute to the resource efficiency of Europe
- Waste hierarchy principle should be respected (prevention is the first, while recycling is only the fourth)
BIBM answer to the public consultation on circular economy.
Public Consultation on the functioning of Waste Markets
This public consultation aims at identifying regulatory failures which may result from policy and legislative actions taken at EU, national, regional or local levels. The questionnaire also intends to deepen the understanding of national waste markets/ flows.
UEPG, the European Aggregates Association answered the questionnaire and underlined the lack of recognised European end-of-life criteria. Their answer also suggests that while national projects encourage the use of recycled aggregates, these should consider the economic viability and necessary physical infrastructure before imposing such requests.
Therefore, the promotion of the use of recycled aggregates should be done when it is economically, environmentally and technically feasible, respecting the given technical standards.
Public Consultation on the evaluation of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2010/31/EU)
This evaluation looks at the performance of the current Directive and will form the basis of a review and possible revision of the Directive in the future.
The European Concrete Platform is preparing the common answer of the concrete industry.
ZEBRA2020 project launched
ZEBRA 2020 project was launched in May 2015 and it aims to provide appropriate criteria for monitoring and measuring the market maturity towards nearly zero-energy buildings in the EU-Member States. The project will deliver reliable data on current market activities which will make it easy for policy-makers to evaluate the success of the EU policies and measures.
The European legislation (Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which is currently under revision) makes nearly zero energy buildings (nZEBs) a standard by 2021 for all new buildings.
The Concrete Initiative
On 30 June 2015, The Concrete Initiative organized a Thematic Lunch to discuss concrete’s contribution to Europe’s economy. It was the occasion for setting the basis for a study on the multiplier effects of a local value chain in construction. The results will be presented at a big event on 19 November in Brussels. SAVE THE DATE!
European Court of Auditors – Special Report: Is EU financial support adequately addressing the needs of micro-entrepreneurs?
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) prepared and recently published (July 2015) a special report with the title “Is EU financial support adequately addressing the needs of micro-entrepreneurs?”. In the report, the Court assessed whether the programming and design of the EU financial support was addressing the actual needs of micro-entrepreneurs and whether robust performance reporting systems were in place.
ECA Report (available in 23 languages)
Developing a Common EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol
DG GROW has launched a new project on ‘Developing a Common EU Construction & Demolition Waste Management Protocol’. The Protocol should develop a common set of technical, environmental and managerial principles, which are applicable in the entire EU and based on the highest common standards in each stage of the waste management chain that would be recognised in all Member States. The kick-off meeting was held at the end of June and the work is expected to be finished by summer 2016. A call for experts was also launched for different Task Forces. The European Concrete Platform is represented in the relevant Task Force and actively participates in the development of the protocol.
European Demolition Association – The management of the C&D Waste (European Concrete Industry’s position)
Live from the European Union
Resource Efficiency own-initiative report is adopted by the European Parliament
On 9 July 2015, the European Parliament adopted the Environmental Committee’s own initiative report titled Resource efficiency: moving towards a circular economy.
BIBM welcomed the support for a holistic approach and life cycle analysis when assessing the environmental performance of construction works.
However, concerning the resource efficiency indicators, BIBM called for the inclusion of scarcity as one of the main indicators. BIBM believes that abundantly available raw materials such as aggregates, doesn’t jeopardise the resource independence of Europe.
BIBM equally called for the acknowledgment of the so-called “open-loop recycling”, and believes that the sustainable use of recycled material other than the original application should be also recognised e.g. earth works.
As for the minimum recycled content, it is not always given that recycled material has the least environmental impact. Long transport distance between the source and construction site could result in high environmental impact. Additionally, the availability of the secondary raw material is variable. Therefore, a minimum recycled content requirement is counterproductive, especially in the case of locally available materials.
When it comes to the assessment of environmental performances of construction products, BIBM called the European Parliament and the European Commission for the complete and right implementation of the Construction Products Regulation and the use of already existing standards developed under the mandate of CEN TC 350.
BIBM also draw the attention to the principle, that due to the specific properties of construction products (intermediary products), assessments should be always carried out at building level.
Luxembourg takes over the rotating presidency of the EU
From 1 July onwards, Luxembourg will take up the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months.
As for its economic priorities, Luxembourg aims at reinforcing the European economy and tackle unemployment. On its agenda, the presidency is expected to complete the Investment Plan for Europe proposed by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, a plan that intends to unlock up to 315 billion euro in investment. Creating economic growth, increasing productivity, revitalising the single market and repairing competitiveness are all cited among the ambitious goals of the next six months.
Sustainability and the transition toward a circular economy are integrated part of the economic objectives, and they are seen as a way to exploit the potential of the European economy and a factor which will contribute to the economic growth.
For the whole programme of the Luxembourg presidency, please visit the following link.
practice in Health and Safety
British Precast Concrete Federation‘s pragmatic approach to fight against accidents in the precast concrete plants
In the member section of the BIBM Website (folder: Health and Safety), previous Safety briefings of the British Precast Concrete Federation have been uploaded. These briefings aim at preventing accidents by learning from previous mistakes.
News in brief
8 September 2015
BIBM Board meeting
10 September 2015
CEN/TC 229/WG 5 meeting
15 September 2015
BIBM Technical Commission
16 September 2015
JRC conference of resilient structures
2 October 2015
6 October 2015
ECP TF Sustainable Concrete
7 October 2015
14 October 2015
CPE TG CPR implementation
15 October 2015
COHERENO final conference
20 October 2015
28 October 2015
CEN/TC 229/WG 5 meeting (tbc)
10 November 2015
CEN/TC 229/WG 4 meeting
17 November 2015
BIBM General Assembly
19 November 2015 (upon invitations only)
The Concrete Initiative: Citizens at the heart of sustainably-built environment
19 November 2015
ECP TF Fire & Eurocodes
20 November 2015
23 November 2015
CPE CPR meeting
25 November 2015
BIBM Technical Commission (tbc)
26-27 November 2015
JRC SafeSust workshop
To the Newsletter of Construction Products Europe (former CEPMC), please follow this link.
To read the Quarterly Newsletter of The Concrete Initiative, please follow this link.
List of Acronyms
CPE – Construction Product Europe
CPR – Construction Products Regulation
C&D waste – construction and demolition waste
ECP – European Concrete Platform
EMA – European Masonry Alliance
JRC – Joint Research Centre of the European Commission
PCR – Product Category Rules
TF – Task Force
AhG – Ad-hoc Group