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44th meeting of CEN TC 189 “Geosynthetics”, Milano, 24-27 June 2019

CEN TC 189, the Technical Committee for European Standardization on Geosynthetics (Chair: Daniele Cazzuffi and Secretary: Karin Eufinger), organized its annual meeting of 2019 in Milano, Italy, at the premises of UNI, the national standardization body of Italy. The meeting was hosted by the Italian mirror committee, managed by UNI.

The meetings started on June 24 with a coordination meeting of the TC officers (TC chair & secretary and working group convenors). This was followed by working and project group meetings on June 25 and June 26, with the TC plenary meeting on the last day (June 27). During the plenary meeting, chaired by Daniele Cazzuffi, the working groups presented their work, including the ongoing work of their respective project groups. The meeting was attended by delegates from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Switzerland, with observers from ESWA and the Czech Republic.

Working groups 1 and 6 are responsible for the development and maintenance of the harmonized application-related standards in support of the European construction products legislation (CPR), respectively for geotextiles and geotextile-related products (WG 1, under the lead of Philippe Delmas) and for geosynthetic barriers (WG 6, under the lead of Kent von Maubeuge).

Next to this, WG 2 (Terminology, under the lead of Erol Güler), WG 3 (Mechanical testing, under the lead of Andrew Leech) and WG 4 (Hydraulic testing, under the lead of Véronique Heili) are continuing their important work of providing the terminology and methods needed for testing of geosynthetics, in association with the work of WG 5 on durability issues (under the lead of Jan Retzlaff) having become an integral part of the WG 1 and WG 6 standards.

Given the recent changes in the acceptance policy of the EC towards harmonized standards for citation in the official journal of the European Union, the requirement for being able to use these standards for CE marking of construction products, CEN TC 189 has been forced to re-evaluate its current work methodology. Additionally, the currently valid mandate for developing hEN which dates from the late 1990’s, is technically outdated and in need of revision. Already during its plenary meeting held in June 2018 in Berlin, CEN TC 189 decided to start working towards a revision of its mandate and, therefore also work program. After some preparatory work this took on a more defined shape during the 2019 meetings. WG 1 and WG 6, supported by a dedicated project group for the revision of the mandate into a standardization request, have taken important decisions in 2019 for working towards this goal, which will be an important area of work the coming years. WG 5 will also be strongly involved as its work on durability will have to follow this important work in WG 1 and WG 6.

The next CEN TC 189 plenary meeting will be held at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, from 31 March to 2 April 2020, on kind invitation of EDANA and SNV, the Swiss standardization body and in conjunction with the Index 20 nonwovens exhibition. It was also confirmed that the 2021 meeting will be held at the NEN premises in Delft, upon kind invitation of the national mirror committee of the Netherlands, supported by NEN, the Dutch National standardization body.

CEN TC 189 kept up its good tradition to organize a delegates’ dinner on the evening before the plenary session. The Italian hosts invited all experts to the “Corallium” restaurant in Milano, one of the finest fish restaurants in the town. All appreciated the nice food, the very good “prosecco” and the enjoyable atmosphere. It was also an opportunity to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Technical Committee – which was created in 1989 on the initiative of Jean Marie Rigo– and to bring together the “survivors” of these 30 years of fruitful standardization activities.

Reported by Karin Eufinger, Secretary of CEN TC 189