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50 years of DAUB - a remarkable anniversary

The DAUB has been promoting underground construction in all its aspects for five decades. Under the motto "50 years of DAUB - a hidden champion invites you", the association hosted a celebration and dinner. On 10 May 2023, the current Chairman of DAUB, Dr Klaus Rieker, welcomed around 80 guests to the founding city of DAUB Bonn.

In his welcoming address, Rieker - in his other professional life responsible for major projects at Wayss & Freytag - first reminded those present of the history of the DAUB. As early as 1970, the OECD had noted that the construction of transport tunnels was increasing rapidly worldwide and therefore decided to promote international cooperation in tunnelling and the development of urgently needed common rules. It recommended that the member countries create a central authority for tunnelling in their own country and thus facilitate fruitful international cooperation. This was the trigger for the foundation of the DAUB, which held its first constituent meeting in Bonn in December 1972. Since then, the DAUB has been collecting and disseminating technical information on underground construction and collaborating nationally and internationally in the development of laws, standards, guidelines and safety regulations. The DAUB does all this very successfully, but more in the background than on the big political stage. The visible results of its work are above all the DAUB recommendations on technology, safety and contracts, 34 of which have now been published and can be downloaded free of charge from the DAUB website. In the last three years alone, recommendations have been published on topics as diverse as BIM, project risk management, life cycle costing, the selection of tunnelling machines and a guideline on safety and contract management. DAUB recommendations are regarded throughout the industry as the state of the art and are accepted and utilised by authorities and building owners, science and planning as well as industry. This is also due to the composition of the DAUB, as all interest groups are equally represented in the DAUB. At the end of his introductory speech, Klaus Rieker reminded the guests that the celebration was not only there to look back, but rather to look forward. In order to maintain mobility, the DAUB Chairman said, intensive efforts would also be required in the future to expand and maintain existing infrastructure. After all, well-planned tunnels avoid traffic jams, reduce distances travelled and thus make a sustainable contribution to climate protection. Underground structures will continue to play a key role in tackling climate change, Rieker was certain: "Underground structures can contribute to a reliable water and electricity supply, serve as reservoirs for exceptional rainfall events and enable functioning wastewater drainage."

This meant it was time for the first of two "impulse generators" announced in advance. Acting ITA President Arnold Dix has dedicated his presidency, which is only a few months old, entirely to the topic of sustainability. "We have a clear task for the coming years," said Arnold Dix, welcoming the audience. "Ensuring health, prosperity, quality of life, well-being and safety for all people and our planet: To achieve this, we as the tunnelling industry must also take on the challenges of the climate emergency and significantly reduce our industry's own carbon footprint: "For example, we as the ITA must support the concrete and cement industry in the development of low-emission construction solutions and promote innovation in the planning, construction, operation and renovation of underground infrastructure." After Arnold Dix's speech, the microphone belonged to a no less interesting person. Dr Philipp Nagl, who was only elected Chairman of the Management Board of DB Netz AG in August 2022, informed the guests about DB's current plans as the person responsible for infrastructure. He also brings experience from Austria, as Philipp Nagl was Head of Business Development for Passenger Transport at the Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) from 2011 to 2014. He is convinced that fast, reliable and environmentally friendly rail transport can only succeed with a higher proportion of tunnels.In his speech, he went back a long way in the history of railway construction and recalled the construction of the Semmering Railway in 1848, which was the first standard-gauge mountain railway in Europe to open in 1854. At that time, a distance of 42 kilometres was built for a linear distance of 21 kilometres. Nowadays, according to Nagl, efficient high-speed lines are necessary - especially in the trans-European railway network - which are inconceivable without tunnels. As an example, he cited the 512 km long German Unity Transport Project No. 8, which has a tunnel share of 29% and enables a travel speed of up to 300 km/h in the over 1 kilometre long Masserberg Tunnel, for example. That was the end of the speeches given by the two "impulse generators" and DAUB Chairman Rieker asked the guests to join him for dinner. After the appetiser, a very special surprise guest took the microphone. The now 88-year-old Prof. Dr.-Ing. e. h. Günter Girnau, founding father of the DAUB, himself a former ITA President and for decades Managing Director and Chairman of the Board of STUVA, took all those present back to the early years of the DAUB, and thus to the general enthusiasm for tunnelling at the beginning of the 1970s, with a rousing, free speech:„Zu meiner Zeit war die Einstellung zum Tunnelbau eine ganz andere als heute – und zwar sowohl bei den Ausführenden wie bei den Bürgern. In nicht weniger als 17 deutschen Städten wurden zu gleicher Zeit Verkehrstunnel gebaut. Wer eine einigermaßen vernünftige Planung vorlegen konnte und am lautesten ‚Hier‘ schrie, bekam den Zuschlag.“ Dass heute Tunnelgegner den Bau von Tunneln aufgrund des CO2-Ausstoßes während der Bautätigkeiten verhindern wollen, lässt Girnau nicht gelten: „Wir wollten die Oberfläche in den Städten so weitgehend wie möglich an die Bürger zurückgeben – für Fußgängerzonen, Parks und Wohnbebauung, jedoch ohne das Auto vollständig zu verdrängen, weil das nämlich die städtische Wirtschaft schädigen würde. Genau deshalb versuchten wir die Verkehrserschließung der Stadt so weit wie möglich in die unterirdische Ebene zu verlagern. Dafür bauten wir Tunnel, und wir waren der Meinung: Wenn durch diese Tunnel dann über 100 Jahre lang elektrische angetriebene Bahnen völlig abgasfrei fahren und täglich hunderttausende Menschen transportieren (die alle auf das Auto verzichten), dann ist dies nicht nur umweltfreundlich, sondern auch Klimaschutz.“ Dem künftig immer umweltschonenderen Tunnelbau jedenfalls, da waren sich alle Gäste sicher, steht eine großartige Zukunft bevor. Und dem DAUB werden die wichtigen Themen so schnell nicht ausgehen. In diesem Sinne: Herzlichen Glückwusch zum 50. Geburtstag, lieber DAU

Figure 1: Great location for an impressive celebration: DAUB champagne reception in the foyer of the Collegium Leonium in Bonn (Photo: Götz Vollmann)
Figure 2: Prof Dr Günter Girnau during his speech for the DAUB, which he himself co-founded 50 years ago ... (Photo: STUVA)
Figure 3: ... followed by a standing ovation for one of the great people in the tunnelling industry (Photo: STUVA)
Figure 4: The next generation was also invited: The STUVA-YEP Steering Committee posed in high spirits as the "Backfill Boys" together with Arnold Dix (from left to right; Ruben Deckers, Nils Gramlich, Christian Rhein, Arnold Dix, Anna Zehlicke, Christoph Caspari, Robert Lutz; photo: Götz Vollmann)
Figure 5: Countering right back: The "Old School Band" (from left to right) DAUB Chairman Dr Klaus Rieker, Prof Dr Günter Girnau, Lars Babendererde, ITA President Arnold Dix, Prof Dr Alfred Haack, Prof Markus Thewes (Photo: Götz Vollmann)
Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Roland Leucker
+49 221 59795-11
+49 221 59795-50