2023 EOTA Stakeholder Forum
On 14 November 2023, EOTA hosted its Stakeholder Forum 'Innovative Construction Products: Global Markets and Sustainability'. Policy-makers, representatives from the European associations, construction industry professionals and technical experts spearheaded the discussions.
The audience – over 300 stakeholders – followed the Forum online and had the opportunity to interact via the chat.
The keynotes and panel discussions revolved around two key topics: sustainability and global markets.
EOTA’s President, Sebastian Wall, set the tone for the day with a warm welcome. He provided an overview of EOTA's core achievements in 2023, first and foremost the review of 124 European Assessment Documents (EADs) within the framework of the joint EAD Action Plan agreed between the European Commission and EOTA. "A substantial number of EADs have already been cited and more are greenlighted for citation," he said in summarising the current state of play. With a look to the future, he named the seamless phasing-in of the revised Construction Product Regulation (CPR) as a key challenge and emphasised: "Our aspiration is to offer an even more comprehensive service to the construction industry. EOTA is also ready to take on new tasks regarding Life Cycle Assessment in EADs and ETAs."
Jorge Jimeno, from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism, conveyed the greetings of the Spanish Council Presidency. In his opening address, he emphasised the ambition of the CPR trilogue parties to have the revised Regulation text ready by the end of the year. Referring to the central topic of the forum, he said, "The Member States, including Spain, are fully aware of the Green Deal goals and therefore the proposal of the new CPR will contain provisions for the sustainability of construction products."
After the introductory speeches, Dieter De Lathauwer, Chair of CEN/TC 350, delivered a compelling keynote, sharing pathways towards a more sustainable construction sector.
André Gloßmann (DIBt, Germany) gave an outlook on the possibilities and opportunities of integrating sustainability assessment in ETAs and EADs and the corresponding CE marking. Both presentations are available at the bottom of this webpage.
The heart of the forum was the dynamic panel discussions, featuring prominent figures from the construction industry and the European Institutions.
In the first panel, Director Gwenole Cozigou, from the European Commission, Christophe Sykes, Director General of Construction Products Europe (CPE), Hugo Avalos, Head of Standardisation in the Global R&D Department at Knauf Group, Friderik Knez, Convenor of EOTA's Sustainability Project Team (ZAG, Slovenia), and Dieter De Lathauwer discussed with host Thomas Bruun (ETA-Danmark) how EADs and ETAs can be used to drive sustainability in the construction industry.
Key aspects mentioned in this regard were the focus of the ETA route on innovative construction products; the responsiveness of the procedure to the needs of professionals and authorities; the role of EOTA as a service provider supporting the industry in delivering on sustainability; and the comprehensiveness of the ETA framework, which enables the assessment of a wide array of characteristics, including but by far not limited to sustainability.
The well-versed panellists also wove in numerous references to the wider context of the construction eco-system ensuring a well-rounded discussion. The overall tenor of the panel can be summarised by the words of Director Cozigou, who made it clear that sustainability is a shared objective and common ambition of all CPR stakeholders.
The second session, focussing on ETAs in Global Markets, was opened by Alessandra Caputo, Senior Researcher at the Centre of Industrial Studies CSIL in Milan. She presented a sneak peek at the study ETAs in Global Markets: a Data-Based Analysis, offering insight into the dynamics and trends surrounding ETAs on the global stage.
In the second panel discussion, Ulrich Bourgund, Chairman of Construction Fixings Europe, Kees Both, Technical Officer representing the European Association for Passive Fire Protection, and Hugo Avalos, Knauf Group, expanded on the statistical analysis from the study with experiences and viewpoints from their product areas. Prof. Gad, Dean of the School of Engineering at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, joined the discussion as a remote panellist and reported on the use of ETAs as a best practice in Australia. Karsten Kathage (DIBt, Germany) moderated the discussion.
The panellists emphasized the added value that the detailed and reliable technical content of the ETA offers a "data-hungry" sector. The high standard of quality offered by ETAs and EADs and the independent assessment by a qualified Technical Assessment Body were cited as further strengths. "The ETA gives us an advantage," emphasized Hugo Avalos, while Ulrich Bourgund pointed out the opportunity to set (international) standards with the ETA.