Change at the top of ift Rosenheim

Prof. Ulrich Sieberath will retire at the end of the year, Prof. Jörn P. Lass from TH Rosenheim will be the new Director of Institute

The enthusiasm for research, testing and technology has accompanied Prof. Ulrich Sieberath for 37 years (source: ift Rosenheim)

Professor Sieberath has achieved enormous things in 37 years at ift Rosenheim, especially in the last 16 years as Director of Institute. Through his great expertise, his enthusiasm for technology and research and his inventiveness, but also through his commitment to standardization and other committees, he has had a lasting influence on the Institute as well as on the entire window and façade industry – in Germany, Europe and worldwide. After a creative break, he will continue to be available to ift Rosenheim and the industry as an author and speaker.

From January 2020, his successor will be Prof. Jörn P. Lass, who has been active in the window and façade industry for 36 years – 14 of these years in various management positions at ift Rosenheim and most recently 6 years at the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences as head of the course of study “Building envelope”.

Already at the Rosenheim Window and Façade Conference 2019, Prof. Ulrich Sieberath was honoured by the participants with long applause for 37 successful years in the service of the industry. Astrid Wirges, CEO at DIN, honoured him with the DIN badge of honor as the “father” of the product standard for windows and doors as well as for his great services in standardization work. He received the Medal of Merit of the city of Rosenheim from the mayor of Rosenheim, Gabriele Bauer.

Asked about the reasons for this remarkable career, Prof. Ulrich Sieberath said, “My career path began early, because I had already visited my father’s window workshop as a child. I was enthusiastic about the technical equipment and how a window can be made from pieces of wood in a wonderful way. After the carpentry apprenticeship, my father advised me to study window construction with Professor Seifert in Rosenheim.”

After an internship at the Institute for Window Technology, it was clear that he wanted to further develop window technology as an engineer. This motif then inspired him for the next 37 years. This was certainly also due to the fact that his role models Prof. Seifert and Prof. Schmid always knew exactly when to give “the Sieberath” new tasks. Right from the start, research projects such as “apartment entrance doors”, “burglar-resistant doors or windows” or “ventilation in residential construction” were carried out.

Immediately after joining ift Rosenheim, he had to work on the standards for burglar resistance. The special feature was that a static mechanical test could not cover the inventiveness of the burglars. For this reason, the behaviour of the offender was analysed together with the Criminal Investigation Department. Based on this, the idea of the “standard burglar” and manual testing with the attack time as evaluation criterion was developed. The implementation of this unconventional concept was not easy, but it finally established itself and is still valid today. The experience gained during this time has shaped his entire work at ift Rosenheim, which is characterised by an optimal combination of pragmatism, creativity and sound engineering knowledge.

With this experience, the great task of European standardization work began in 1989, with the development of harmonized product standards valid throughout the EU. The focus was on the work of DIN EN 14351-1 as the European product standard for windows and external pedestrian doorsets. This took more than 20 years, but set standards for the objective determination of product characteristics. As an engineer with practical background, he developed standards that are factually meaningful and easy to apply in practice.

Prof. Sieberath always had a lot of understanding when companies and craftsmen moan about too many rules in technology as well as the labour and tax law. But he always made it clear that standardization is the language of technology and that it greatly simplifies design, tendering and execution. Regulations have always led to new technologies that have given German companies a technical edge.

An important example is energy-efficient construction, which was essentially pushed forward by the Thermal Insulation Ordinance. Prof. Sieberath has always invested a lot of time in ift services to simplify the handling of standards for practitioners, for example the ift-Normenportal (standards portal), the ift-Montageplaner (ift-installation tool) or the CE generator.

Almost incidentally, he learned “standardization diplomacy” from experienced colleagues, which also helped him very well in his later work as Director of Institute, where he often had to mediate between the interests of window manufacturers, accessory suppliers, licensers, associations and authorities.

In addition to standardisation work and as head of the door department, he was given new tasks, such as setting up the ift Certification body in 1994. Many years of experience in all areas of ift Rosenheim led to the appointment as Deputy Director of Institute in 2002. In 2001, the façade testing department in Deggendorf and the fire testing facilities in Nuremberg were set up and in 2003 the acoustic testing facilities of Prof. Fritz Holtz in Kragling were taken over.

As a logical step, the Institute’s management and executive board began in 2004 together with Dr. Jochen Peichl. This dual leadership with the division of tasks between technology and finance has proven to be the optimal solution. Together, the two of them were able to develop the institute from a turnover of approx. 7 million Euro at that time to just under 23 million Euro today with 230 employees. The 2012 professorship was an award for his many years of teaching activities since 1984 and the innovative ED PRO further education program that he developed together with Prof. Heinrich Köster (President of Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences). Theory and practice were combined in an ideal way in the master course “Windows and Facade”.

The obligatory question about his plans for active retirement is answered by Prof. Sieberath in his humorous way, “I’ll be off, but not on the Way of St. James, but active. After 37 wonderful and fulfilling years at ift Rosenheim, I want to take advantage of this new freedom to spend time with my family and to travel to countries that I could previously only visit on business trips. After a creative break, I will be happy to pass on my experience and knowledge to the next generation of engineers, technicians and master craftsmen. This way I will still be able to stay in touch with ift Rosenheim and the industry.”