Opinion by Alice Corovessi, Managing Director, INZEB
The construction sector is considered among the most vital for the European economy ranking. With more than 25 million people being employed and working in the sector, the contribution to Europe’s GDP is about 10%. After a long decline period (2008 – 2013) due to the economic and financial crisis, a recovery has been observed for the sector since 2015, with many recovery interruptions though due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion.
On May 2021, the updated version of the Industrial Strategy was released by the European Commission. The strategy describes the vision for building a stronger single market for Europe’s recovery with emphasis given to a swift green and digital transition of the EU industry and its ecosystems, highlighting the cooperation requirement among industry, public authorities, social partners, and stakeholders that represent various target groups.
The construction sector, which is the second-largest industrial sector in the EU, can significantly contribute to the EU’s 2050 goal for carbon neutrality. Transformation of the sector’s business model is needed in order to align with the requirements of the Renovation Wave, the proposed Emission Trading System for Buildings, the New European Bauhaus, the Climate Adaptation Strategy, and proposals to revise key legislation, among them the Construction Products Regulation and the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.
Towards this direction and after a consultation period process with various stakeholders, the European Commission presented on March 15th, 2023 the Transition Pathway for Construction. The pathway considered three cross-cutting horizontal themes, green, digital, and resilience under which six building blocks were developed.
Competitiveness focusing on the EU construction ecosystem and its position in the world.
Skills and Talent with a focus on attracting, retaining, and empowering the people that work in the sector.
Enabling Framework describes the needs of the construction sector to thrive.
R&I and Technology emphasises building and business transformation.
Finance discusses how to unlock funding for the twin transition.
Safe and Fair Built Environment is the societal building block presenting how the sector should serve society.
Now it is time for the Member States to commit by setting their own roadmaps for resilience, greening, and digitalisation, and present their commitments towards a more sustainable construction sector.