Coronavirus Outbreak: European Construction Sector Calls for Urgent Action - 28/04/2020

The European construction industry calls for urgent measures to protect workers’ health, support economic activity and accelerate the recovery in the context of the current coronavirus crisis. In a common declaration, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and other leading European organizations representing the construction sector, an industry worth 9% of the EU's GDP and employing more than 16 million Europeans, urge the European institutions and the European Member States to act in full coordination.

The following steps are required, according to the European construction sector:

  • Put in place required and tailor-made health and safety measures, protocols and guidelines with the active involvement of relevant stakeholders, allowing employers to guarantee the required level of workers’ protection.
  • Support the construction supply chain by putting in place measures allowing the efficient functioning of the EU internal market. In this respect, the Communication of the European Commission on the implementation of the Green Lanes under the Guidelines for border management measures is welcomed;
  • Carry out massive support and stimulus programmes. These actions must not be limited to a few iconic sectors of strategic or political importance that may need full bailouts, but crucially to those job providers such as construction that must also receive the full attention of the authorities;
  • Ease the administrative burden and the conditions for employers to implement temporary unemployment measures.
  • A performing construction supply chain is crucial for maintaining the activity, with proper health and safety conditions. It is therefore essential to guarantee the circulation of construction products; equipment and provision of services in full respect of the instructions delivered by public health authorities.

Finally, the organizations ask the European Commission to open a dialogue as soon as the circumstances allow it, in order to jointly identify and implement appropriate measures to limit the downturn and facilitate a rapid recovery of all construction activities.

“In light of these difficult times, we wish to reiterate our commitment to supporting public authorities as well as our dedication to our most fundamental asset, our professionals' well-being. We call upon public authorities to take into account the scale of the disruptions to the construction sector and to prevent the foreseen economic downturn from becoming a meltdown of historic proportions with far-reaching social consequences," explained Sander Scheurwater, RICS communications and external affairs director, Europe.

Source: RICS.

Last updated: 30/04/2020