ARGE Annual Conference 2018 in Rotterdam a complete success; ARGE “changes the game” in standardization
The ARGE 2018 conference was hosted by the Algemene Branchevereniging VHS, the lock and hardware manufacturers association in the Netherlands. VHS invited ARGE’s members to a location close to Rotterdam harbour. With more than 60 delegates, the number of participants was pleasingly high and comparable with the number of participants in the last two years.
This year's event was dominated by developments of the European standardization for hardware. After intensive discussion ARGE delegates achieved consensus about the future role of CE marking for hardware products.
In future, only hardware that directly affects the safety of fire doors and doors in escape routes (e.g. door closers, panic- and emergency exit devices) are to remain part of the European harmonization. Thus, the long-standing congestion at the completion of a number of standards for other products is finally to be resolved. It was reported that ARGE is in the outstanding situation at this time to directly influence the content of the “mandate” for hardware products (EC M101), which is the regulation document for harmonized hardware standards.
Another big issue of ARGE’s tasks is the roll-out of the 14 ARGE Association EPDs by the member companies. The evidence of the environmental properties of construction products is politically driven and obviously becoming increasingly important on the market. In the medium term, ARGE will have to deal with serious adaptations of the EPDs, since the European standard EN 15804, which regulates the framework conditions for the submission of EPDs, will be revised and extended with regard to the requirements for the Life cycle assessment characteristics.
Since last year’s conference in France ARGE has the preparation of guidelines for the security of Master key systems data on its agenda. In Rotterdam a first draft of this guideline was presented to the delegates and will be published soon. Also, ARGE made progress on a performance standard for smart locks. The UK national standards institute – the BSI – has launched a smart lock Kitemark standard which can perform the basis of a European smart lock standard.
Following the specialist presentations, the delegates and their partners expected the keynote address by Prof. J.P. Balkenende, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Balkenende fulfilled all expectations with his lively and humorous ideas on ethics and sustainability in the company. He emphasised that the future generation of entrepreneurs must assume their social responsibility and that a change of mind away from short-term profit towards long-term sustainability was already taking place.
The ARGE Annual General Meeting, which was held as part of the Conference decided to change ARGE’s official panels. In future it’s the Board being responsible for policy and steering issues. In addition to this an Executive Team was installed, which should support the Board regarding ARGE’s strategy development. New members of this Executive Team will be the CEN/TC33/WG4 convenor Inge Lidén, the manager of the German association (FVSB) Stephan Schmidt and the manager of the French association (UNIQ) Frédéric Ducloyer. Also Pierre Vilain, convenor of the ARGE’s working group "standardization" will be member of the Ex-team in future.
The congress ended with a presentation of the ARGE Annual Conference 2019, to which Karl Kristian Woelm, Chairman of the German Association and Stephan Schmidt, the German Association’s manager invited. The Annual Conference 2019 will take place on sept. 5th and 6th in Bonn, western Germany.