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Report cites Increasing global competition for Europe’s construction industry

04 February 2008

A new report “Key trends in the European and US construction marketplace” details the latest research on major issues facing today’s global construction industry, with an emphasis on the trends in Europe and the US. Construction has a big impact on the worlds economy, contributing an average of 10% global GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

The report has been produced through a research partnership between McGraw-Hill Construction in the USA and the University of Reading’s Innovative Construction Research Centre (ICRC), with support from the Chartered Institute of Building. The research highlights that advances in technology, the shifts in the construction workforce and increasing global competition are key concerns among industry leaders across Europe and the US.

The report emphasises the driving influence of governance and legislation, environmental pressures, global project finance, new procurement methods and the increasing cost of materials. It explores how these trends are shaping the increasingly interconnected construction marketplace.

These trends serve as challenges for the industry, but represent exciting opportunities for construction players in Europe and the US. Roger Flanagan, Professor of Construction Management at Reading University and Past President of the CIOB, points to the prospects for the future: “It is exciting to consider the data and trends in this report, and imagine how they will shape the way we do business. Ultimately, the business sense, entrepreneurship, innovation and imagination of leaders in our industry will decide how these trends shape our future.”

“Construction activities are becoming increasingly global,” states Harvey M. Bernstein, Vice President, Industry Analytics, Alliances and Strategic Initiatives at McGraw-Hill Construction: “The financial and building trends in one country are largely impacted by social and political events in other areas of the world. It is important that we understand these trends and how they will impact the work that we do today and in the future.”

Major findings of the report include:
..Emerging and transitioning economies are fast becoming attractive building markets as well as formidable foreign competitors;
..Materials prices are continuing to escalate, placing a growing pressure on project costs and encouraging the shift to alternative materials;
..Construction industry leaders in Europe and the US share concerns about the global workforce shortage, and they expect the situation to worsen in the next 5-7 years;
..The market for green building is significant and growing rapidly in both regions thanks to supportive legislation, market differentiation, and the growing pressure of global competition;
..Use of BIM (Building Information Modeling) is significant and growing, but there remains a dire need for enhanced awareness about interoperability and the benefits of digital design.

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