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History

CBI’s beginning

Successful research into concrete requires cooperation between cement chemists, material engineers and structural researchers, a conclusion that was drawn as early as the start of the 1940s. The Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute (CBI) was therefore established in 1942 as one of Sweden’s first industrial research institutes through the creation of the foundation called the Swedish Research Institute for Cement and Concrete at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. The person taking the initiative was Professor Lennart Forsén of The Royal Institute of Technology, a pioneering cement chemist with a background at places like Lojo Kalkverk in Finland and Cementa in Sweden. Director Stig Giertz-Hedström was the first manager of the Institute. CBI took over some personnel, equipment and ongoing research work from the Swedish Cement Association’s concrete laboratory in Stockholm. Thanks to a generous industry donation, the Institute obtained its own building that was opened in 1945. The donation included the erection and equipping of an institute building as well as operating funds for 10 years. The Swedish government received the donation on 27 March 1942 and established statutes for the Institute and indicated a plot of land for the building. The building was drawn by architect SAR Gunnar Forszén and the concrete structures were designed by professor Hjalmar Granholm’s design office. The official opening and handover to the government took place on 17 May 1945 through a ceremony at the Institute building’s cast hall, attended by around 200 specially invited important people. Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf declared the building open and expressed his hope for the future, “that the Institute would be of real benefit to the Swedish economy” and “be of benefit to our country and people”.

The Institute has had six institute managers since 1942. These include the legendary Georg Wästlund (Institute Manager 1946-1972), who was simultaneously Professor of structural design and bridges at The Royal Institute of Technology, and the very well-known Professor Sven Gabriel Bergström (1972-1984).

Ever since the Institute was founded, the Institute’s research has been jointly financed by the government and the industry. The government’s grant was given through authorities like the STU, Nutek and the Swedish Council for Building Research and the economy’s through the Swedish Concrete Research Association. The governmental financing has gradually been reduced in recent decades and finally ceased in 1998. The industry – primarily cement and concrete companies – continued to finance the Institute’s more long-term research, however. In 2003, this was reformed through the creation of the Swedish Consortium for Financing Fundamental Research in the Concrete Field, which consists of six cement and concrete companies. Steering, reference and working groups were established, thereby strengthening the cooperation between the Institute and the companies.

The property in Stockholm

CBI’s personnel at the time had a major influence on design of the premises and the structure of the building which was executed in 1945 as a cast solid concrete building designed in accordance with the latest principles of the time. As early as when the Institute came into being, there were plans to extend the building and develop the research in the future. A comprehensive extension also took place at the end of the 1950s (completed in 1958), and part of the cast hall was converted into conference premises and office space in 1992. The property is designated as Norra Djurgården 1:50. It is owned by the Swedish National Property Board. The Institute pays no rent but is responsible for operation and maintenance.

CBI Betonginstitutet AB

On 1 January 2008, CBI Betonginstitutet AB was formed through a merger of the then Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute (CBI) and the Section for Building Material at SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden (SP). This meant four major changes:

  • Increase in size: The Institute increased from around 40 to 60 employees and is thereby in both Stockolm and Borås. As previously, there is also a small office in Lund.
  • Company formation: CBI previously ran its business as a foundation. As of 1 January 2008, the business was run as a limited liability company.
  • New owners: The Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute is 60 % owned by SP and 40 % owned by the foundation with the long name of the Swedish Research Institute for Cement and Concrete at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (which, before the merger, was identical to CBI). The foundation has thus changed over from running its business to being partners.
  • Govermental funding: the Institutet receives approximately 15 % of its income through govermental grants through RISE (Research Institute of Sweden) and SP.

SP was formed as Sweden’s National Testing Institute in 1920. SP moved to Borås in 1975 and changed its name to the Technical Research Institute of Sweden in 2007.

Organisation

The Institute originally had three departments: chemistry, physics and technology. In 1953, a contact department was added and in 1962 an inspection department. The courses were linked to the latter-mentioned. In the early days there was also an administration department. This organisation has remained relatively unchanged over the years, even if the number of departments and name have varied. Today, the Institute runs its main operations in four groups: Concrete Structures, Materials, Testing and Inspection and Dissemination of Knowledge. Finance, personnel and management are collected under Management and Administration. The number of employees varied until the merger in 2008 between around 20 and 40, but then became approximately 60. Today (2011), the Institute has almost 70 employees.