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Press statement

Annual general assembly 2016 | "Construction products legislation? – The end remains open!”

With these words Michael Halstenberg (former ministerial-director in the ministry for building) summed up the current situation in the reform of the Musterbauordnung (MBO/model building regulation) and of lower ranking legal provisions in Germany. For some 120 delegates of Deutsche Bauchemie, this was the central topic at the association’s annual general assembly on 17 June 2016 in Bamberg.

Starting off the meeting, DBC chairman Johann J. Koester und director-general Norbert Schroeter welcomed six new member companies to Deutsche Bauchemie. They also presented the annual report 2016. With the much wider range of association activities, the latest annual report has a record number of pages (available in German language on the internet at www.deutsche-bauchemie.de).

In his keynote address, chairman Johann J. Koester referred to the large number of incoming refugees. Regarding the necessary construction of accommodation, he warned against wrong solutions in the form of cheap and fast-built houses on industrial estates on the outskirts of towns: "This strategy has no sustainable effects for tackling the housing problem, and it does not meet the needs of people, either." Concerning the discussion about the trade agreement TTIP, Koester emphasised the benefits for the own industry: "Particularly for our complex specialty products in construction chemistry like coatings or sealants, we need effective progress in the liberalization of trade with the USA – as an instrument for further opening up the markets stateside." Lower standards in environmental and health protection should be avoided, just like private arbitration courts for lawsuits brought on by large businesses. "This instance of jurisdiction needs to remain in the public sector domain," so Johann J. Koester.

The general assembly’s central topic was the amended Musterbauordnung with the new administrative provision on technical construction rules "Technische Bau-bestimmungen" (VV TB) and the planned abolition of the Bauregelliste (construction rules list) and of the conformity mark Ü-Zeichen. Johann J. Koester: "In the final analysis, the planner, the contractor and the user of construction products will be faced with the question of whether a construction product – e.g. bitumen thick coating or parking deck coating – is really suitable for a given building."

In this matter, Deutsche Bauchemie has elaborated a multi-page position paper with appraisals and recommendations for our member companies. This document broaches, inter alia, the following issues:

  • What can the planned voluntary evidence of conformity under private law – i.e. manufacturers’ declarations – look like
  • Do the VV TB rules have any reference to such voluntary evidence – e.g. also quality marks?
  • What interfaces should voluntary national manufacturers’ declarations have, do they reflect the European approach or will they once more bring trade barriers, so that they are not in line with the ECJ judgment?

In the lecture part of the general assembly, the complexity of the current situation was highlighted by Michael Halstenberg (law firm HFK Rechtsanwaelte, Duesseldorf; former ministerial-director in the ministry for building). When describing the draft for the new MBO, he pointed to various unclear aspects in the texts and definitions. Halstenberg, who is an experienced construction law expert, criticized the VV TB for the texts often simply rephrasing the Bauregellisten, for the orientation to products and not to works of construction, and for containing "hidden requirements" to harmo-nized construction products. According to Halstenberg, parts of the annexes to the VV TB stand in contradiction to the ECJ judgment. Consequently, they could be suspected of being unlawful, especially regarding the requirements to works of construction in terms of health protection (ABG) and concerning their impacts on soil and waters (ABuG). In these circumstances, it was a "total mystery" to Halstenberg how 16 October 2016 could be maintained for the launch of the new rules.

Next, Professor Dr Christoph Schmidt (president of the economic research institute RWI and chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts) presented an updated version of the spring report. The RWI raised the GDP growth forecast to 1.7%. Professor Schmidt: "The stable labour market with low unemployment is the key to success." His mid-term projection to 2020 includes growth between 1% and 1.5%. But the economist also identifies the criteria that should come with such growth: "The climate for entrepreneurial action has to improve in Germany. Further-more, Germany should become more attractive for investments."

In the final talk, Dr Johannes Gerster (CDU, former MP) looked into the German asylum policy. He called for a sound immigration concept and for more funds to manage to refugee crisis, e.g. from the Solidaritaetszuschlag (solidarity surcharge). He closed his speech by concluding that "We need integration – not separation." The next AGM of Deutsche Bauchemie will take place on 22/23 June 2017 in Lueneburg.

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Caption:

Management of Deutsche Bauchemie and speakers at the AGM 2016 in Bamberg (from left to right): Norbert Schroeter, Michael Halstenberg, Professor Dr Christoph Schmidt, Dr Johannes Gerster and Johann J. Koester
[Photo: Deutsche Bauchemie]

Your reference person


Dipl.-Ing. Norbert Schroeter
General Manager

Phone: +49 69 / 25 56 - 1390
eMail: norbert.schroeter@vci.de