The updated EU industrial strategy highlights the need to accelerate the green and digital transition of EU industry and its ecosystems. To that end, it proposes working together with industry, public authorities, social partners and other stakeholders. The resulting Transition Pathway for Construction was published on 15 March 2023.
The updated EU industrial strategy emphasises a swift green and digital transition of EU industry and its ecosystems. It foresees cooperation with industry, public authorities, social partners and stakeholders to navigate each ecosystem's transition. Each industrial ecosystem must transform its business models and value chains to become the foundation of a green, digital and resilient European economy. But such transitions require concrete and actionable plans (transition pathways) developed for each industrial ecosystem.
The Transition Pathway for Construction describes conditions and necessary actions for achieving a resilient, competitive, greener, and more digital construction ecosystem. In addition, it proposes actions that support the transition towards safer buildings and affordable housing for all Europeans.
The transition pathway for construction aims to offer a bottom-up understanding of the scale, cost, and conditions for resilience, competitiveness, and the green and digital transition. The Commission incorporated these conditions into the action plan, its success depending on collaboration between the European, national, regional and local authorities, industry, academia, and citizens. The High-Level Construction Forum (HLCF) co-created the transition pathway with the Commission.
The Commission prepared a staff working document (December 2021) outlining scenarios for a transition pathway towards a more resilient, sustainable and innovative construction ecosystem. In terms of background, we also consulted analyses by the European Construction Sector Observatory (ECSO).
This working document invited stakeholders to reflect on and contribute to the scenarios for 2030 and list key enablers for the transition of the construction ecosystem. It invited stakeholders to work with each other, EU countries’ authorities and the Commission, and propose concrete actions, commitments and investments at sectoral, national and regional levels. It also asked stakeholders to assess the scale, cost, benefits and conditions of the required actions for the twin transition of the European construction sector.
The HLCF includes over 800 members (companies, industry associations, national authorities, academia and other stakeholders). The HLCF plenary meetings and focused thematic sessions are open to all interested parties, and as a result, this is a growing community. The Commission services’ presence ensures that construction industry actors are informed and appropriately consulted in all relevant policy areas that might affect them.
The HLCF monitors the implementation of the co-created construction transition pathway towards a green, digital and resilient construction ecosystem.
The first forum took place in September 2021 and attracted 220 participants.
In April 2022, the second forum took place with over 190 participants. Based on the stakeholder consultation that finished in March 2022,12 key topics were presented to the meeting. The members then chose which of these topics should be the focus in co-chaired thematic sessions, to facilitate more in-depth exchanges about milestones and targets.
The third forum took place in March 2023. During the forum, the Commission published the transition pathway for a resilient, greener and more digital construction ecosystem. Over 130 stakeholders from the construction ecosystem participated in the event to discuss the transition pathway as well as related priorities and commitments. See a detailed meeting report summarising the forum and a video recording of the event.
In addition to the HLCF plenary meetings, stakeholders convene regularly to discuss more targeted topics on resilience, green or the digital transition. The first thematic sessions took place in autumn 2021. For the construction ecosystem, resilience covers, for example, climate-adaptation, skills, and new business models. The green transition includes decarbonisation of the building stock, the transition to a circular economy and life cycle approaches, whereas the digital transition includes topics such as data sharing, BIM and standardisation. Some topics cut across the whole ecosystem in different ways, such as innovation and public procurement.
Of the topics chosen by the second HLCF, the groups focused on point 4 for resilience, 1 and 2 for green, and for digital both points 2 and 5 apply. Stakeholders co-chaired the sessions and the Commission participated.
- Calculating whole lifecycle GHG emissions in construction. HLCF - Meeting report - Addressing WLC 23 May 2022.
- Expanding and reinforcing digital tools to serve the green transition. HLCF - Meeting report - Digital tools & green transition 18 May 2022.
- Stabilising the supply of materials and increasing resilience to external shocks, including through circularity. HLCF Meeting report - Resilient supply chains 13 June 2022.
- Enabling collection, interoperability and sharing of data. HLCF Meeting report - Data interoperability 31 May 2022.
Additional thematic sessions were organised in the 2nd half of 2022.
- HLCF webinar on asbestos. See webinar report
Sessions on innovation
On 19 and 20 October 2022, the High Level Construction Forum (HLCF) organised two sessions aiming to identify technologies with potential to advance the construction ecosystem's green and digital transition. It initiated an exchange on challenges and needs regarding research and innovation, the uptake of technologies and the transfer of technology from research to market.
See the webinars’ report
See the webinar videos
The Transition Pathway for Construction was published on 15 March 2023.
The document identifies six building blocks for the green and digital transition and improving the resilience of the EU construction industry. It was drafted according to the EU’s Industrial Forum's blueprint, and took into account input from the High-Level Construction Forum (HLCF) plenary meetings and thematic sessions as well as the public consultation based on the 2021 staff working document on the transition pathway for construction.
See the Transition Pathway for Construction.
To monitor the implementation of the transition, the Commission invites all stakeholders to submit additional commitments aligning with the transition pathway.
Some stakeholders have already submitted additional commitments. This document lists these additional commitments and will be regularly updated. A more comprehensive overview of commitments aligning with the Transition Pathway is under development.
Resilience of the construction ecosystem
- Erasmus+ - funding opportunities for education and training
- Sectoral cooperation on skills – construction
- Pact for Skills (general)
- Pact for Skills in construction
- Research - Horizon Europe Cluster 4 Digital and Industry
- Funding & tenders portal
- Public procurement – the Big Buyers Initiative (Directorate-General for Industry)
- Green public procurement criteria
- Sustainable finance - Taxonomy
- Study: Development of a European Union framework for digital building logbooks (2021)
- Handbook for the introduction of Building Information Modelling by the European public sector (EU BIM Task Group 2020)
- Handbook: Calculating the costs and benefits for the use of Building Information Modelling in public tenders (EU BIM Task Group, 2021)
- Digitalisation of construction SMEs
- Digitalisation of building permits (Horizon Europe)
- Study: Measuring application of circular approaches in construction (2023) and the study annexes
- Circular Economy - Principles for Building Design (guidance document, 2020)
- Study on circular economy principles for buildings' design (policy options, 2021)
- 2050 whole life-cycle performance roadmap to reduce carbon emissions from buildings (2023)
- Construction & demolition waste management protocol (2016) and guidelines for waste audits (2018)
- Level(s) framework for sustainable buildings
- Energy efficient
Until 2020, and together with EU country authorities, industry and other interested groups, the Commission based its work on the action plan in the 2012 Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises, commonly known as Construction 2020. This strategy was part of Europe 2020, and focused on promoting favourable market conditions for sustainable growth in the construction sector. In addition to the high-level forum, 5 thematic groups focused respectively on financing and digitalisation, skills and qualifications, resource efficiency, the regulatory framework, and international competition.