German Demolition Association holds 25th conference

Published 25/3 at 13:49

On 15 February, the German Demolition Association (GDA) held its 25th annual demolition conference with a truly celebratory occasion. This year’s event was held at the Station-Berlin, an old former mail railway station and now an industrial monument located in the heart of the city, making it the ideal location for a demolition industry event.

The GDA’S recent conference was by far the biggest demolition event in Europe this year. It involved over 1,000 participants, and 115 exhibitors comprising of German and international companies supplying products and services for the demolition industry. Demand for space saw the area put aside for exhibitors growing by 30%. “Over the 25 years we have had over 12,000 visitors, almost 500 presentations and 1,400 exhibitors at this conference,” said GDA managing director Andreas Pocha.

The conference involved 14 different lectures being given, with politician and former member of parliament, Wolfgang Bosbach, kicking off proceedings with the opening lecture, titled, ‘What matters now’.  During this, he highlighted the need for Germany to understand itself as a central country within Europe, and to act accordingly. This being especially relevant given Brexit, world-wide political unrest, and the increasing digitization in all sectors of German society. In addition, he also warned against pessimism and uncertainty, as years of stability of economic growth, as well as the peace enjoyed in Europe since 1945, should rather be a cause for joy and pride.

As always, there were a variety of subjects covered in the other lectures. These included such subjects as: ‘Processing and recycling of fine grained construction waste’; ‘Demolition work under ongoing train operations’; ‘Load safety for heavy machines’ and ‘Bottlenecks and new plans for disposal sites’. Of particular interest was Canadian speaker, Ryan Priestley from Priestly Demolition, Ontario, whose talk was titled, ‘The taking down of the Nipigon Bridge’, the only bridge connecting east and west Canada.

For the second time, the German demolition association awarded its innovation prize at the conference. The prize, endowed with €2,000, went to Mr. Niklas Bernhart for his master's thesis in civil engineering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. His subject was titled: ‘Experimental design, execution and evaluation for the removal of insulating materials by means of a cutting brush’.

Andreas Pocha also took the opportunity to honour the founder of the annual demolition conference, Dieter Korth, who organised the conference for its first 16 years. Andreas stated, “In the beginning, just after the reunion of former East and West Germany, this was an event to assist former East German contractors to integrate into the market economy. Today the German demolition industry is still very dynamic and optimistic about the business opportunities and growth in the near future.”

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