Results of the Construction Ministers Conference 2020 in Weimar


Conference topics:inside of the Bauminster Conference 2020 in Weiamr. © Photo: Michael Reichel, arifotos

At their meeting in Weimar on 24 and 25 September, the building ministers of the federal states adopted resolutions on social housing, the use of ecological building materials and the digitalisation of the building permit procedure.

The EU's plan to become involved in the area of public housing promotion within the framework of the new "InvestEU" fund was critically assessed. The Federal Government was therefore called upon to advocate a modification of the programme so that subsidies are only granted if the provisions of regional, national or federal subsidy regimes are observed, in particular if a rent and occupancy obligation is provided for. The Chairman of the Conference of Building Ministers, Thuringia's Infrastructure Minister Benjamin-Immanuel Hoff, said: "It remains an important task to create affordable housing in Germany. The federal government must continue to provide at least the same level of funding. To make faster progress, we would need more money in the system. The EU's commitment is therefore to be welcomed in principle. But we must ensure that the money also reaches social housing, and we agree that this can best be done through the established funding programmes of the Länder."

Anne Katrin Bohle, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and the Home Affairs, explained: "The creation of affordable housing continues to be a top priority. Two years ago, we put together a unique package of measures with the joint housing offensive of the Federal Government, the federal states and the municipalities. The results are extraordinarily successful: all the central resolutions of the Housing Summit have been implemented or are on their way. We have thus set a decisive course and can look back on good results. This is reflected in particular in the encouraging figures for building completions and building permits. At the end of February 2021, we will draw a final conclusion together with the federal states and municipalities at a balance congress." Hamburg's Senator for Urban Development and Housing, Dorothee Stapelfeldt: "Germany needs more affordable housing. With the amendments to the law formulated in the draft bill on the Building Land Mobilisation Act, we can come a good deal closer to our goal of building 1.5 million new homes, which was set at the 2018 Housing Summit, also in terms of a land policy geared to the common good. A speedy implementation of the draft law is therefore expressly to be welcomed from Hamburg's point of view. What we are currently concerned about is the structural change in our inner cities, which has been greatly accelerated by the Corona pandemic. Here we must now effectively support the municipalities. The Ministers of Construction ask the Federal Government to commission the BBSR with a study to analyse the developments in the inner cities in order to create a good basis for decisions.

In addition, we are setting up an open-state working group under the leadership of Hamburg on the 'development of inner cities' at the level of the state secretaries." Ina Scharrenbach, Minister for Home Affairs, Municipal Affairs, Building and Equality of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia: "With the resolutions we are laying the foundations for future building policy. The promotion of public housing construction, the use of ecological building materials and the digitalisation of building permit procedures are central building blocks. The common goal of the Federal Government and the Länder: The creation of affordable housing and this as quickly as possible. Especially in the current situation, we notice how important it is to have a home that meets the needs of each and every individual. Even though Corona has dominated the headlines in recent months: Housing is a fundamental part of the public's basic needs. That is why we will not let up in our efforts to further improve the framework conditions for developers and investors in order to further boost housing construction. Because more housing is the best protection for tenants against rising rents."

Building with wood
After the amendment of the model building code last year laid the foundation for wood to be used for load-bearing components with higher fire protection requirements, among other things, the focus was now on the use of ecological insulation materials and further follow-up amendments. The conference reaffirmed the importance of sustainable ecological building materials as a comparatively simple contribution to protecting resources and the climate. However, combustible building materials can become a safety hazard if used incorrectly. "We do not want the good reputation of ecological building materials to suffer as a result of damage caused by inadequate safety precautions," said the Chairman of the Conference of Building Ministers, Thuringia's Minister of Infrastructure Prof. Dr. Benjamin-Immanuel Hoff. It is therefore important that the model timber construction guideline, which describes the details for the use of wood, can be put into force quickly. Further findings that should enable even more extensive use of wood are expected from various ongoing research projects.

Source: PM of 25 September 2020

Keywords: DE-News, Wood construction, Affordable housing, Housing, Housing policy