Review: Berlin Builders Day 2023

Venue Berlin Builders Day 2023At the end of November, CRB took part in the 2nd Builders Day in the old Hubertusbad in Berlin-Lichtenberg. The central topics of the event were the current challenges facing the construction industry in terms of the circular economy and the ecological construction and heating revolution.

What do laboratory employees do for builders at a conference?

The usual audience at Berlin Builders Day is builders, architects, engineers, and students as well as representatives of the construction industry. Why were we there as an analysis service provider? Because when building existing buildings, old building sins keep falling on our feet and we encounter all the pollutants that have been introduced into the buildings over the years. We recently saw what dimensions this can take on in the Asbestos Forum. But while it is usually only the experts who meet there, we wanted to address those responsible at Builders Day this time to raise awareness of the lurking dangers here as well.

An overview of the most important topics of the 2nd Berlin Builders Day:

Refurbishment, dismantling, and recycling

Bernd Ahlsdorf from UCL Umwelt Control Labor GmbH began the series of lectures with the role of the building owner in renovation, dismantling, and recycling. The following topics were discussed, among others:

  • Separation of building materials as pure as possible during dismantling
  • Extraction of high-quality recycled products that are in no way inferior to new building materials
  • Preparation of a dismantling and disposal plan before construction begins, including documentation of the hazardous and non-hazardous waste generated
  • Pollutant register as a basis for occupational safety, recovery and disposal routes, and recyclability of waste
  • Separation and disposal of substances harmful to humans and the environment
  • Pollutant analysis before (sale) purchase of a property to better estimate the value of the property

What's new in building existing buildings?

Christoph Hohlweck from Kluge Sanierung GmbH presented the new regulations in waste law, occupational safety, and work contract law. Examples included building pollutants such as heavy metals, KMF, or wood preservatives — and in particular the classic asbestos. The vast majority of the building stock was built before the asbestos ban (1993) and is therefore still suspected of containing this pollutant.

Several new or updated regulations exist for this purpose, such as LAGA M 23 and the VOB/C: ATV DIN 1844 work on polluted structural and technical systems. In addition, the amended Hazardous Substances Ordinance is expected in the first quarter of 2024.

Berlin Builders Day 2023

Ecological construction and heating revolution

If our cities are to become climate-neutral in the foreseeable future, a construction and heating revolution is necessary. In this context, Berlin Senator for Mobility, Transport, Climate Protection and Environment, Manja Schreiner spoke about the need for a functioning circular economy for building materials. Angelika Hoffmann-Nickel from BIM Berliner Immobilienmanagement GmbH presented concrete strategies for reducing CO₂ emissions from Berlin's building stock by up to 95% by 2045 compared to 1990.

Bernd Hanke from Deutsche Bahn Station & Service AG also pursued similar goals. Because if rail mobility is to become more and more important in the future, railway stations must also be able to accommodate even larger flows of people.

CRB stand at the 2nd Berlin Builders DayConclusion on the 2nd Berlin Builders Day

There are already good approaches to making the construction sector greener — but there is still a lot to do. Pollutants such as asbestos, which have been recklessly used in recent decades, make upcoming energy-efficient renovations more difficult. Since too little attention has been paid to building pollutants in the past and in some cases, even knowledge has been lost, it remains important to talk about the topic again and again at events like this and to actively educate people.

For us, it was an exciting meeting with many interesting discussions. You can find even more detailed insights into the content of Berlin Builders Day 2023, including information on the TXL project and the BauWerke Excellence Prize 2023, in the detailed blog entry by our colleague Dr. Gunnar Ries.