Skip to main content
Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
General publications

Study on costs involved in accessing markets cross-border for provisions of construction services

Construction service providers that expand their activities across the Single Market are often required to complete national 'market access' procedures before starting to provide services in another EU country. The objective of this study was to...


The study supplements an earlier analysis from 2016 of other types of authorisation schemes imposed on construction service providers.

The key objectives of the study were to:

  • Obtain a more complete overview of existing national 'market access' procedures in the construction services sector. To this end, the study identifies national schemes imposed for market access in providing specific segments of construction services, referred to as installation services (installation of F-gas equipment, energy-efficiency related installations and heating equipment in general, electrical, gas, telecom, water and sewage installations, installation of elevators, fire protection and alarm systems, pressure and hoisting installations, as well as asbestos removal services) in the same 14 EU countries (Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom). This supplements a previous inventory of other types of authorisation schemes imposed on construction service providers.
  • Estimate the costs associated with complying with the administrative formalities of obtaining all the required authorisations to perform construction services, both market access requirements (for construction services in general and for the so-called installation services) and requirements imposed for commencement of service performance at a given location (commonly referred to as 'building permits').

The study did not refer to:

  • public works
  • requirements regulating professions
  • land-use, spatial planning and zoning controls
  • rules on the use of building materials and waste management
  • requirements regarding the employment relationship of workers, including the posting of workers
  • rules pertaining to the use of buildings once completed

The main findings of the study are:

  • Authorisation schemes controlling access to the market of so-called 'installation services' are introduced unevenly across EU countries, asbestos removal being the activity most commonly subject to such controls (7 out of 14 countries) together with installations of F-gas equipment, regulated at EU level for all members
  • Very limited consideration is made of cross-border situations, be they secondary establishments or temporary cross-border provisions, with the exception of F-gas installation controls for which an internal market clause was introduced at EU-level (although not fully observed by some EU countries)
  • Procedures are, in most cases, burdensome, characterised by multiple documents to be submitted, some in certified copy or original format, with certified translations often being required, long decision periods, no tacit approval, limited validity in time and even, in some cases, limited territorial validity
  • Online information on applicable formalities is often scarce, hard-to-find and predominantly in the local language
  • E-procedures are only available to a very limited extent
  • Administrative costs of complying with authorisation schemes imposed on construction service providers (market access for construction services in general, market access for installation services and building permits)strongly depend on the complexity of the scheme. Elements that commonly drive up administrative costs include lack of online easy-to-access information and e-procedures and high complexity of data and/or documents that need to be submitted. In some cases, administrative costs of complying with national procedures go up to €10,000 and more.

More information: