History

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ERMCO was established in Munich, West Germany on 27 October 1967.

At the invitation of the German Ready-mixed Concrete Association, over a hundred delegates from twelve European countries met to discuss the development of ready-mixed concrete in Europe. During the meeting, a small committee, comprising representatives from each of the participating countries, discussed future co operation. It was agreed that a special bureau should be set up for the exchange of information of interest to the ready-mixed concrete organisations in Europe; also that there should be regular meetings of those organisations. The European Ready-mixed Concrete Organization was then formed, with the German Association providing the first officers. The ERMCO headquarters was then based in Germany, before transferring to England, and since 2003 to Brussels.

In 1967, only about 10% of total cement production was used in ready-mixed concrete, and perhaps as little as 2% in some countries. Today the European ready-mixed concrete industry is made up of large multi-national organisations and more than 6.000 SMEs. It consumes up to the 65% of the total cement production in order to produce more than 350 millions cubic metres each year – it is thus an essential part of the construction industry.

ERMCO has expanded from its initial twelve members to twenty-five today, the most recent being the Indian Ready-Mixed Concrete Association.
Every year ERMCO holds its general assembly and every three years its International Congress hosted by one of its members associations. The next congress will be in Rome.

Structure

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There are three levels of Membership:

• Full Members: organisations of ready-mixed concrete producers in Europe, representative of the industry in their own country.

• Associate Members: National or International Trade Associations or Federations of National Associations, which represent ready-mixed concrete producers in countries, continents, or economic regions outside Europe.

• Corresponding Members: individual ready-mixed concrete producers, Institutes of Technology or equivalent organisations in those countries where a National Association does not yet exist.

With the growing influence and importance of ERMCO, a review of its organisation was made in the late 1970’s. The ERMCO Board was established to provide guidance to the Secretariat and was empowered to assume certain functions of the organisation. Board Membership is restricted to practising ready-mixed concrete producers. The Board, which currently includes one delegate from each Full Member Association, is supported by the Secretariat.

Through the Board, ERMCO policies are considered and prepared for approval by the Meeting of Representatives, the General Assembly of ERMCO held each year, which is empowered to pass resolutions covering ERMCO activity. These include election of Members of the Board and the General Secretary, the fixing of the budget and subscriptions, the determination internally of viewpoints on which there is a supra national consensus and externally of representations to third parties.

In addition to the Meeting of Representatives, there are two specialist ERMCO Committees – the Environmental and Technical Committee (EcoTec) and the Strategy and Development Committee (ESD).

Activities

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• The two ERMCO committees meet regularly to deal with technical, environmental and promotional matters.

• ERMCO provides an international forum at which members of the ready-mixed concrete industry can exchange views for common benefit.

• From time to time ERMCO appoints experts to examine matters of special importance to the industry. Similarly, it may be represented on outside bodies by Special Proxies, authorised to speak in the name of ERMCO.

• One of the main objectives of ERMCO has always been delivery of a high standard of quality and service in the supply of ready-mixed concrete throughout Europe. To this end, in 1977 it produced a “Code of Good Practice” to promote the achievement of common standards. These were in line with the standards already set in many European countries, through national certification schemes for ready-mixed concrete. The Code was used originally in contacts with other European and national bodies concerned with the specification, production and use of ready-mixed concrete, to ensure that uniform standards of production were maintained. It also formed the basis of the first draft of a European specification for ready-mixed concrete EN 199, which is now finalised as the comprehensive CEN Standard for Concrete, EN 206-1.

• ERMCO has written or contributed to publications in a number of fields – Guidelines on self-compacting concrete, health and safety, environment, factory production control. Most of these are available as free downloads on the ERMCO website. It also publishes a regular newsletter for dissemination at national level. .Its annual statistics report describes and summarises the current situation and the evolution of the market.

• From the beginning, ERMCO has organised international congresses of the national Associations. Following the first meeting in Munich, congresses have been held every three years hosted by a different National Association. These congresses, attended by large numbers of delegates from the European construction industry, have covered a wide range of topics affecting cement and concrete in Europe.

• Over the years, ERMCO has established links with many other European bodies concerned with concrete production and standardisation. It is in regular liaison with sister organisations throughout the world, to exchange information on technical, industrial, environmental and public relations matters.

• ERMCO supports research and has been involved in a number of EU projects, including two for the current round of research, FP7.

• It represents the industry to the European Commission, and is active on the development of technical and environmental Standards in concrete and construction.

The future

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The concrete and construction market is changing rapidly: to remain competitive in the marketplace demands that the function of the industry changes from simple product supply to the integrated supply of products and services. To take a simple example: ready-mixed concrete suppliers have developed their transport fleets to include vehicles with on-board pumps or conveyors to help contractors with the placement of concrete.

In co-operation with other partners in the concrete industry, ERMCO seeks to assist the development and adoption of concrete solutions based on European Codes and Standards for the design and execution of concrete structures. ERMCO is particularly aware of the widespread demand for industry in general to adopt a responsible attitude to questions relating to the environment and to sustainable construction. ERMCO has always supported a positive approach to the definition of suitable environmental controls within the general field of production of fresh concrete.

Looking ahead, ERMCO will continue its efforts to extend the recognition of its role and the status generally of the ready-mixed concrete industry. It will promote the dissemination of its policies on concrete at national, European and international levels. It will also extend the co operation and good relations already established with other European Associations, in order to achieve a common goal of improving the competitiveness of concrete as a building material.

The friendly family spirit of communication and positive contribution to the knowledge of concrete in Europe will continue and the organisation will remain open to members of the ready-mixed concrete industry all over the world.

The industry

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The concrete and construction market is changing rapidly: to remain competitive in the marketplace demands that the function of the industry changes from simple product supply to the integrated supply of products and services. To take a simple example: ready-mixed concrete suppliers have developed their transport fleets to include vehicles with on-board pumps or conveyors to help contractors with the placement of concrete.

In co-operation with other partners in the concrete industry, ERMCO seeks to assist the development and adoption of concrete solutions based on European Codes and Standards for the design and execution of concrete structures. ERMCO is particularly aware of the widespread demand for industry in general to adopt a responsible attitude to questions relating to the environment and to sustainable construction. ERMCO has always supported a positive approach to the definition of suitable environmental controls within the general field of production of fresh concrete.

Looking ahead, ERMCO will continue its efforts to extend the recognition of its role and the status generally of the ready-mixed concrete industry. It will promote the dissemination of its policies on concrete at national, European and international levels. It will also extend the co operation and good relations already established with other European Associations, in order to achieve a common goal of improving the competitiveness of concrete as a building material.

The friendly family spirit of communication and positive contribution to the knowledge of concrete in Europe will continue and the organisation will remain open to members of the ready-mixed concrete industry all over the world.