DNI BETONU 2004 – expectations fulfilled

‘DNI BETONU is one of the largest conferences of the construction industry in Poland. Our ambition is that they become a platform for information exchange,’ said Dr. Jan Deja, President of the Management Board of Polski Cementu Sp. z o.o., while opening the Third Conference DNI BETONU „Tradition and Modernity”. According to Prof. Lech Czarnecki, Dni Betonu have met the expectations of participants. ‘We have had great attendance at all sessions, a perfect atmosphere of exchange of ideas. Finally, we have come up with an answer to the question why concrete has the future,’ explained Prof. Czarnecki.

The DNI BETONU conference already has its history and considerable achievements. For the first time it took place in Krakow in 2000, the second time – in Szczyrk in 2002, and the third– on October 11-13 at the Gołębiewski Hotel in Wisła.
‘This time we gave a subtitle to the conference “Tradition and Modernity”. This way, we stress the history of concrete, dating back several thousand years, and on the other hand we show that concrete is developing. We have 418 persons at the attendance list. This is one of the largest such events in the construction industry in Poland. Our ambition is that DNI BETONU become a platform for information exchange. We want to bring together scientists and practitioners dealing with concrete, like designers, manufacturers, and suppliers of concrete. We want to have here people who supply materials for concrete production. We want to have architects,’ said Dr. Jan Deja, President of Polski Cement Sp. z o.o., the company which organized the conference together with the Polish Cement and Lime Association.
‘When looking at the list of participants, I may say that we have managed to balance the proportions well, that the conference was not dominated by its scientific character. There are also people here who expect practical information on concrete,’ added Dr. Jan Deja.
The DNI BETONU conference was organized under the patronage of the Minister of Infrastructure.
Its program was designed by the Programme Council supervised by Andrzej Tekiel, President of Polish Cement and Lime Association.
The Programme Council composed of several people started working on the programme of the Third DNI BETONU conference practically just after completing the second edition of the conference. It was composed of the following members: Prof. Marian Abramowicz, Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz, Prof. Lech Czarnecki, Prof. Kazimierz Flaga, President Wojciech Gątkiewicz, President Maciej Horacek, President Ryszard Jurkowski, Prof. Wiesław Kurdowski, Prof. Cezary Madryas, Prof. Jan Małolepszy, Prof. Wojciech Radomski, Prof. Leszek Rafalski, President Mieczysław Soboń, Prof. Janusz Szwabowski, Prof. Antoni Szydło, Prof. Jacek Śliwiński, President Andrzej Werkowski and President prezes Andrzej Wojtecki.
Owing to the involvement of the Programme Council, each DNI BETONU conference is participated not only by scientists from Polish technical universities, but also leading scientists from Europe and the rest of the world.

The first day of the DNI BETONU conference was filled with three session: the plenary session, “New generation concretes” and “Premixed ready concrete”.
The plenary session was opened by Prof. Joost Walraven from Delft University of Technology in Holland with a lecture entitled “Concrete with special properties: a new approach to the material designing process.”
Another presentation in the plenary session was delivered by Pierre Richelle from ERMCO from Brussels, who talked about “Considerations on concrete lifecycle”.
The third lecture was prepared by Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz from the Silesian Technical University and Prof. Ryszard Kowalczyk from Universidade da Beira Interior from Cocilha, Portugal. Their lecture was about “Application of high-performance concretes in tall buildings”.
Finally, the lecture closing the session, entitled “The phase composition of the cement slurry and properties of concrete” was prepared by Prof. Wiesław Kurdowski from the Mineral Building Materials Institute and engineer Barbara Trybalska, MA from the University of Science and Technology in Krakow.
The session “New Generation Concretes” was opened with the lecture “Optimization of HPC composition with consideration of lifespan and transport properties of chlorides” by Prof. Jan Olek from the USA.
Another lecture entitled “Scientific method of agreeing the composition of the concrete mixture” was presented by Prof. Francois de Larrard from Laboratoire Central des Ponts et Chaussees from Nantes, France.
Prof. Maria Kaszyńska talked about “Self-compacting concrete – technology developments and results of research”, and Jacques Lukasik, Paul Acker, Christian Vernet and Mouloud Behloul gave us more information on “Ductal: plastic concrete with the highest usage parameters”.
The session “Premixed Ready Concretes” was opened by the President of ERMCO, Didier Levy, who presented “The ways of solutions for concrete”.

‘The future of concrete is clear, despite competition on the part of steel, plastics, wood and natural stone. In some way, concrete has suffered in the general opinion that it is a boring material, unpleasant to the eye and trashy. Actually, it is a fascinating material, capable of creating infinitely varied forms,’ said Prof. Peter Hewlett from the UK.
On the second day, there were six conference sessions: “ Properties of concrete”, “Durability of concrete”, “ Concrete in utilities infrastructure”, “ Small concrete elements”, “Concrete in architecture” and “New technologies of performing concrete structures”.
During Session IV, Prof. Peter Hewlett from the UK presented his lecture on “The future of concrete – significant trends and changes”. In his opinion, concrete is so widely used as it is relatively cheap, easily available, and shows resistance to various factors, owing to which it will be in use in the predictable future.’
‘It must, however, meet the new challenges on the part of alternative materials and designing concepts, as well as requirements concerning aesthetics, durability and environment protection,’ explained Prof. Hewlett. ‘Efforts aimed at producing an efficient and effective concrete may not be successful due to wrong practices related to the imperfect nature of activities taken by unqualified contractors. Concrete casting is not a skill perceived in the same way as abilities of electricians, builders or plasterers. Perhaps we should consider a status of “concrete maker”?’ wondered Prof. Hewlett.
When concluding, he said that there is both a need and an opportunity for concrete development and use. ‘In this sense, this material should reveive support on the part of the construction industry and other sponsoring entities, such as governments and trade or industry associations.’ ‘Concrete does not benefit from the same reputation as other materials, although without it construction industry would be significantly limited, and the issue is quite serious, as in the UK, the construction industry constitutes 8% of the GDP,’ added Prof. Hewlett.

Three persons and three organizations were honored with the DNI BETONU Awards during a celebrated dinner that took place at the end of the second day of the conference.
‘I wish to thank mainly the participants to our conference. Owing to the passion of many of us, we manage to organize this conference,’ said Andrzej Tekiel, the President of the Polish Cement and Lime Association.
Jan Deja, President of Polski Cement, informed that the organizers decided to fund the DNI BETONU Award. „This is an award that would honour the people who mean a lot in this area. As organizers we have allowed ourselves to assess and award the persons who have been collaborating with us for years. We have decided that this year the DNI BETONU Award will be granted to three persons and three organizations with whom we have been cooperating closely for many years,’ said President Deja.
The persons receiving individual awards in the first edition of the DNI BETONU Award were: Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz from the Silesian Technical University, Prof. Lech Czarnecki from the Warsaw Technical University and Prof. Kazimierz Flaga from the Krakow Technical University.
The institutions receiving awards in the first edition of the DNI BETONU Award were: Polish Association Of Ready Mixed Concrete Producers (the award was received by President Andrzej Werkowski), Concrete Producers Association (the award was received by President Mieczysław Soboń) and Paving Materials Producers Association (the award was received by President Andrzej Wojtecki).
The award has the form of a sculpture made by Prof. Jerzy Nowakowski from the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts.
„I congratulate all the winners, yet the award is related to a certain responsibility. From now on the winners will form the Chapter of the DNI BETONU Award and they will chose the winners of the next DNI BETONU Awards. In this way we wish to award people with merit not only to science, but also to the practical development of concrete production in Poland,’ said President Andrzej Tekiel.

The last day of the conference was filled with three sessions. The first devoted to “ Transport-related construction industry” was dominated by two lectures: by Joanna Bajor and Marek Suchy “Reconstruction of the A4 motorway at the section from the Krzywa node to the Bielany Wrocławskie node – the largest realized project of motorway with concrete surface in Poland” and the other – by Omid Rajski, Wiesława Rowińska, Adam Wysokowski, Zbigniew Giergiczny and Witold Rudziński “Experiences with use of various cements on the construction of the Millennium Bridge in Wrocław”.
In the session “Concrete Prefabrication”, Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz discussed “Prefabricates with increased durability achieved by modification of the surface layer”. In turn, the session “Law and standardisation” was opened by the lecture by Janusz Opiłka “Polish standardisation system at the background of the system operating in the European Union”. The time after conclusion of the session belonged to Prof. Lech Czarnecki, who at the end of the conference concluded the discussion on why concrete has the future that was run for a year in the quarterly Budownictwo, Technologie, Architektura. ‘I would like to draw your attention to a certain boldness of this question. We do not ask “whether” but “why”. Unfortunately, only scientists are worried with the future of concrete, for the others it is obvious.’ started Prof. Czarnecki.
According to him we have always been building of concrete, there are even records from the period 500 years B.C. The base for concrete development, however, is the research, and it is the research that has been stimulating concrete development. According to Professor Czarnecki, the related world production potential amounts to: 1.7 billion tonnes of cement, which yields over 5 billion m3 of concrete a year. The barrier of civilization comfort worldwide is considered as cement consumption at the level of 500 kg annually per capita, while the lower limit totals 300 kg.
In Poland we are coming close to the lower limit – presently we have the consumption at the level of 290 kg per capita.
‘Finally, what guarantees the future is the great modification potential of concrete. At the curve of concrete development we see that until the mid 20th century durability remained at the level of several megapascals. Later, owing to scientific base and its development, we have been observing a sudden improvement in concrete quality. It is represented by increased compression strength. Also, the world concrete production corresponds to the same model,’ explained Prof. Czarnecki. ‘The mechanism driving this development is the population. Finally, dust emission in the cement industry, we see a drastic decrease in dust emission, pollution of the environment, lesser energy effort, and – what is important – concrete recycling. Recycling causes the breach of the last barrier in the competition between two rivals in structural materials: between steel and concrete. Owing to recycling the last unfavourable difference has been overcome. We face a universal curve of concrete development, from quality, through quantity, via quantity considering civilizational needs and reference to ecology, thus forming part of sustainable development.’
Then Prof. Czarnecki discussed particular opinions raised in the discussion: by Prof. Wojciech Radomski, Prof. Zbigniew Pawłowski, Prof. Andrzej Brandt, Prof. Zygmunt Jamroży and Prof. Andrzej Ajdukiewicz.
Conclusion. ‘Concrete has a future, yet its future also features conditions. Concrete should keep changing and modernizing, correspond to contemporary challenges. The progress in concrete technology should form part of sustainable development. Finally, I wish to refer to the lecture by Prof. Peter Hewlett. There is a certain mega trend – the technology of sustainable development of concrete seems to dominate,’ concluded Prof. Lech Czarnecki.
We hereby inform our Readers that the discussion on why concrete has the future has not been closed – it is continued.

The DNI BETONU conference has found its place
Andrzej Tekiel, President of Polish Cement and Lime Association: ‘The conference is significant, as it is growing very dynamically. First, each further edition is increasingly better, better organized, has more participants, and more interesting lectures. Second, I think that the conference has finally found its place. It took place in the Gołębiewski Hotel in Wisła, and other conferences will also be organized here. We do not want to grow more in the quantitative sense in the aspect of the number of lectures or in the number of participants, but we care to improve the quality so that everyone is satisfied.

Organizational and material success
Andrzej Werkowski, President of Polish Association Of Ready Mixed Concrete Producers in Poland: ‘In my opinion, the conference is a great organizational and material. On the contents side, the effort of the Programme Council and organizers has resulted in really varied and well prepared lectures, and great balancing of accents between scientific and practical issues. This in turn has brought another success of the organizers, that is drawing very good proportions of scientists and practitioners. These two worlds have literally and metaphorically cemented their collaboration, which has been stressed many times at breaks and in the conclusions of the sessions. We help organizing the conference as we can and we propagate information about it in our circles. I am glad that our systematic efforts have brought such great response. The entire world of the premixed concrete was here, represented by a very high level of management and technologists and other people who do this great work. Thanks to the organizers and congratulations to everyone present here, as it was worth it.

It is a great art
Prof. Artem Czkwianianc, Łódz Technical University: ‘My opinion on the conference can only be positive. To gather over 400 participants at a conference, and specialists on concrete, is a great art. These participants were not only on paper, but one could see them at the sessions. Conference materials have been prepared at hte highest level. In this respect it is a great success. I was present at conferences in Krakow, Szczyrk, I am now in Wisła. I see that the Dni Betonu conference is developing. One can see this in the interest on the part of industry and the world of science, and the designers. The themes of the sessions was quite varied but also rich. They were all at a high level. Because the topics differ, perhaps the conference should have paralell sessions. Sessions condicted in smaller rooms with a smaller number of participants give more time for discussion, and here the time for discussion was limited.

One can speak about concrete with a raised head
Mieczysław Soboń, President of Concrete Producers Association: ‘I have been to all DNI BETONU conferences. It seems to me that each of the conferences, despite the same name, is different, better. They are more perfect each time, and give us increasingly more arguments that cement and concrete have nothing to be ashamed of. We can talk about them with a raised head and without negative associations. Concrete is something we should not be ashamed of, we should talk about it loudly, as it is the future of Poland, and the future of people. Concrete is the most friendly material, coming from nature and given for the use of man.
Whether the balance between the world of science and the world of practice has been breached? I do not think so. As I see the number of participants growing, and the world of science is rather constant, I believe these relations will keep changing in the good way.

A modern, open conference
Prof. Józef Jasiczak, Poznań Technical University: ‘It has been my third time at the DNI BETONU conference and I must say it has been changing in a good way. The most important achievement of such a conference as DNI BETONU is joining the science with practice. There are conferences organized in a narrow group of people directly linked with science, and these are very necessary, but the social effect of such a conference is significantly smaller. Whole the concept of a common conference: for direct contractors, for manufacturers of building materials, supported with scientific background – it is an idea of a modern conference. In many countries such conferences are organized as common and only forms of such meetings. An open conference as DNI BETONU, shows scientific development on the one hand, and on the other has a strong application layer. I think that the application aspect is the most important. DNI BETONU is in this convention and guarantees some image of the development of the situation on the construction and material market, while leave the scientific achievements somewhere aside. This is what it should be like on an open conference.
DNI BETONU has been searching for its place and its convention. The place is now well selected. The Gołębiewski in Wisła is a large hotel with a rich base and good halls for lecture presentation. There is a place for exhibition. In this sense, the idea to organize another conference in the same place in two years’ time is good.
What can be changed? One may introduce main or leading lectures. One may put a greater stress on discussion and lesser on lecture presentation. One may introduce a poster session for some solutions, e.g. related to designs. An example is the lecture on the construction of the Millennium Bridge, which was presented in a traditional way. It seems that for large projects that are important to the economy, such as roads, bridges, tunnels, there should be a hall exhibition and a poster session. Designers should be on duty at the posters for three hours and discuss the details. Unfortunately, a 10-minute presentation from behind a desk gives just a general overview. Contractors and people related to production are interested in details, and these cannot be given in a presentation. Certainly, a poster session on design issues would be well received.

Expectations fulfilled
Prof. Lech Czarnecki, Warsaw Technical University: ‘The DNI BETONU conference was related to great expectations of people dealing with concrete, and this has resulted with over 400 participation applications. The expectations were indeed great. The formula was to have a meeting of those active in industry with those who create basis for such activities in their research and studies. We have managed to invite scientists from Poland and leading names from Europe and the USA. It seems that all expectations have been fulfilled. This conclusion can be drawn due to several factors. We have had great attendance at all sessions. There was a great atmosphere for exchange of ideal both at sessions and during breaks. Finally, we have managed to answer the question why concrete has the future, that it has the future and that “it is certainly so.”
Professor Peter Hewlett from the UK did not know about our discussion in Poland. Therefore the title of his lecture “The future of concrete – significant trends and changes” constitutes a reply to our question and it is without a question mark, while from the contents of the lecture I believe there should be even an exclamation mark there. Thus it seems that the same problems are posed in the global village and among the people dealing with concrete. Looking from various perspectives and having different experiences, facing different challenges and having different time constants, we reply in a similar, accordant way.