The construction industry is very important to the EU economy. The sector provides 18 million direct jobs and contributes to about 9% of the EU's GDP. It also creates new jobs, drives economic growth, and provides solutions for social, climate and energy challenges. The goal of the European Commission is to help the sector become more competitive, resource efficient and sustainable.
Challenges faced by the construction industry
The construction sector has been hit particularly hard by the financial and economic crisis. The main challenges facing construction are
- Stimulating demand: Efficiency improvements in existing buildings and renovations have the highest potential to stimulate demand.
- Training: Improving specialised training and making the sector more attractive, in particular for blue-collar workers, technical colleges and universities.
- Innovation: More active uptake of new technologies.
- Energy efficiency and climate change: Buildings account for the largest share of total EU final energy consumption (40%) and produce about 35% of all greenhouse emissions.
What the Commission does
The objectives of the European Commission is to help the construction sector meet challenges by
- quantifying the impacts of EU legislation on the sector
- ensuring the full implementation of the Construction products regulation (CPR)
- consolidating the internal market for construction products by developing a common technical language for the performance of construction products
- following up on the Strategy for the sustainable competitiveness of the construction sector and its enterprises (2012) that improves training, tendering and financing in the construction sector
- following up on the Communication on Resource efficiency opportunities in the building sector (2014) that aims to improve design, construction, demolition and recycling of construction products, as well as simplify data in the use of resources to reduce waste
- following up on the construction 2020 strategy and the circular economy package by introducing
- the EU construction and demolition waste proposal (2016) to increase confidence in the C&D waste management process and the trust in the quality of C&D recycled materials
- the circular economy principles for buildings design (2020) to present the construction sector with a suggested approach to circular design
- helping the construction sector and its SMEs digitalise and automatise, e.g. by supporting building information modelling (BIM) in the public sector (see the BIM handbook and BIM task group video to learn more)
Construction and jobs
Up to 95% of construction, architecture, and civil engineering firms are micro-enterprises or small and medium-sized enterprise (SMES). Initiatives in EU countries on energy efficiency have a significant potential for job creation in this sector.
Another approach used to create jobs is the promotion of apprenticeships in the construction industry.
Construction and other sectors
As a major consumer of services and intermediate products such as raw materials, chemicals or electrical equipment, construction impacts many other economic sectors.
- Brochure: The European construction sector - A global partner (7 MB) gives an overview of how the construction sector plays an important role in the EU's economies. It explains EU actions in the areas of job creation, resource efficiency and sustainability, marketing construction products, safety and health, public-private partnerships and international trade.
- Construction Products Regulation (CPR) and declaration of performance (DoP)
- Eurocodes – common European technical standards for structural design
- Competitiveness of the construction industry and strategies to improve it
- Support tools: the NANDO database and the CP-DS database
- Studies on construction