This special issue of the Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology presents seven invited journal papers, which were selected on basis of outstanding conference contributions during the International RILEM/COST conference SynerCrete’18, held on 24-26 October 2018 in Funchal, Madeira Island, Portugal, which gathered 183 participants. The selection was made by the scientific committee and the chairpersons among 184 contributions.
The conference itself dealt with interdisciplinary approaches for cement-based materials and structural concrete, intending to provide added value through collaborations across the entire field of structural concrete – ranging from concrete technology, over simulation and structural design, production and building, up to operation, monitoring and maintenance. Exciting fields of research such as performance-based design, 3D modelling for analysis/design, Building Information Modelling and even robotics (e.g. digital fabrication or robotics design) were included, while retaining focus on multi-scale approaches at time and spatial levels. Overall, the hereby promoted journal papers are representative for the successful balance act between a great versatility of the conference contributions and the targeted synergizing of expertise aiming on the ultimate goal of reliable and durable concrete structures.
SynerCrete’18 also marked the end of COST Action TU1404 “Towards the next generation of standards for service life of cement-based materials and structures” (www.tu1404.eu), offering a final forum to the discussions raised during the funded period of the Action from 2014 to 2018. A sense of accomplishment was felt by all the members of the Action, in the view of the important achievements of networking tools that were brought about by the extended Round Robin Testing Programme (RRT+), the Numerical Benchmarking Activities and 24 Short Term Scientific Missions (STSMs). Some of the selected papers in this special issue are the result of fruitful collaborations initiated by COST Action TU1404.
A further remark in regard to the wide international institutional support that this conference attained, is about the direct support of RILEM, fib, JCI and ACI. Specifically, with regard to the Japanese Concrete Institute, a mention is given to the special session dedicated to the most recent version of “JCI Guidelines for Control of Cracking of Mass Concrete”, as it was indeed one of the most inspiring documents that influenced the genesis of COST Action TU1404.