André Dorée, Arian de Bondt and Seirgei Miller attend the 8th EAPA symposium

12 juni 2014

The 8th EAPA symposium was held in Paris on 12 June 2014. ASPARi researchers André Dorée and Seirgei Miller, and Aspari network contractor, Arian de Bondt of Strukton, attended the symposium titled “Challenges and opportunities for the European asphalt paving industry in the 21st century”. The symposium focused on three key themes:  From constructing new roads to preventive maintenance, Paving durable roads and; Workforce challenges – keeping health and quality assured.  The symposium provided validation and verification of the research being undertaken by the ASPARi network.

The theme “From constructing new roads to preventive maintenance” focused on procurements methods currently being employed in England and Denmark. It provided interesting insights and opportunities for discussion around contentious issues like the implementation of innovative contracts (design, construct and maintain) for rural roads, whether or not there should be payment during the bidding process, and dealing with utilities and overloading on the awarded contracts.

“Paving durable roads” provided insights into current IT and other new technologies being developed for the asphalt supply chain from plant to the construction site. Whilst the presentations highlighted the value that the technological solutions could offer the industry, the concern was raised that technology solutions should mainly be used to assist operations and management to improve the on-site processes. The EAPA perspective is that a change in attitude and more effort is necessary if contractors and suppliers are to improve their processes and thereby build more durable roads. What’s more, a change in attitude and approach could stimulate younger entrants into the asphalt industry, an industry that is slowly becoming more appealing with the use of new technologies such as GPS and other sensors.

The session “Workforce challenges – keeping health and quality assured” focused on the need for continuous training in the sector and stressed the importance of having a healthy workforce in the asphalt sector.

It is worth noting that the work presented during this sessions falls directly in line with the ASPARi research initiatives. It provides further validation and verification of the current and future work being undertaken by the network.

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