German Demolition Association hosts Europe’s largest demolition conference

Published 24/4, 2023 at 12:23

On 3 March, the Fachtagung Abbruch took place in Berlin. 117 exhibitors and over 1,200 participants attended this year. The event, organised by German Demolition Association (DA) is by far Europe's largest conference on demolition and dismantling techniques.

For two years, the Fachtagung Abbruch was cancelled due to Covid-19, but in early March 2023 more than 1,200 representatives of the demolition industry and industry related companies came together again in the event halls of Station Berlin. As a result, there were more visitors than ever before. The convention contained a lot of information about current developments, technological innovations and interesting projects and took the opportunity for intensive information exchange and networking.


Sustainability central topic at the conference

The topic of sustainability and building material recycling was of particular concern to the industry this year. DA managing director Andreas Pocha emphasised in his welcoming speech that the demolition industry has been working for environmental protection for a long time. In Germany over 90% of all mineral construction waste is already recycled, in the case of construction rubble it is 94%.The EU demands a recycling rate of just 70% for mineral construction waste. “Recyclers and demolition contractors are the real environmentalists,” says Pocha.


Using the great crises of our time as an opportunity for something new

This year's keynote speech was delivered by journalist and publicist Dr. Hajo Schumacher. The former Der Spiegel journalist drew a line from the dilapidated bridges in Germany to the current major crises, seeing German society at a crossroads at the time of the Ukraine war and climate crisis, asking for politicians to show more understanding. He added that politics is about the electorate, who at this time are weighted towards the elderly who do not necessarily want to solve urgent problems such as the climate crisis or digitisation. However, a crisis can provide possibilities, and Schumacher very much hoped that the current government would use the opportunities that arise from crises to lead Germany towards a better future. Finally, he asked that we take good care of our democracy, and do not lose sight of its advantages, as according to Schumacher: “Democracies can correct mistakes – dictatorships cannot.”


‘Ersatzbaustoffverordnung’ under criticism

Several lectures dealt with the challenge of the change towards more sustainability for the demolition industry. Sarah Sinnwell and Michael Wagner from BST Becker Sanierungstechnik GmbH in Bottrop described the complex path that must be taken if a building demolition is to be certified by the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB). The lawyer Dr. Peter Kersandt from the law firm AVR Berlin described the challenges facing the industry as a result of the Ersatzbaustoffverordnung, or the Substitute Building Materials Regulation, which comes into force on 1 August 2023. One of the problems is that there is still a lack of a legally secure regulation on the subject of waste end of substitute building materials.


Recycled building materials are good because they are tested

Thomas Fischer from Quba GmbH pointed out which paths must be taken for the certification of secondary building materials before they can be used in technical buildings or in construction products. The certification by Quba is currently the only one that is valid nationwide. Corinna Lee Schmitz and Gianna Kung from Bau- und Liegenschaftsbetrieb NRW showed how urgently these building materials are needed as the entire NRW state administration wants to be climate neutral as early as 2030. The construction sector is set to play its part through recycled building materials, the recycling of components and the use of recycled and environmentally friendly concrete.


The industry masters demanding large scale projects

The challenges that major projects entail were shown, among other things, by the lectures given by Robert Oettinger from Oettinger GmbH on the dismantling of the KSC stadium, which had to take place during ongoing match operations. Stefan Scholz and Kurt Bicker from Max Wild GmbH talked about the demolition of the Neckar viaduct near Heilbronn which only allowed shipping traffic to be stopped for just 48h. Finally, the members of the demolition committee of the DA demonstrated using the example of the ‘White Giant’ residential complex in Duisburg that blasting is also possible in close proximity to other houses and has a great time advantage over conventional demolition.


The opportunity for exchange

The participants also used the day from 8 a.m. until well after midnight for intensive information exchange and networking. In the evening, attendees also relaxed while eating and drinking together at the so called dialogue evening, which was accompanied musically by the Berlin DJ Twizzstar.


Dates set for 2024

Interested parties can already save the date for the Fachtagung Abbruch 2024, which will take place on 22 March 2024 again at Station Berlin. Information on the demolition conference is provided by the DA via the website. All other topics relating to the industry and the association can be found on

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