Six national associations representing construction micro-enterprises and SMEs in several European countries joined forces in 1990 to establish the European Builders Confederation (EBC) – the Voice of Construction SMEs in Europe. EBC is a European non-profit professional organisation based in Brussels.
The construction sector is of vital importance to the European economy. With 3 million enterprises and a total direct workforce of around 18 million people, the construction sector contributes at about 9% to the GDP of the European Union.
The European construction sector is composed at 99.9% of small and medium-sized enterprises, which produce 80% of the construction industries output. The small enterprises (less than 50 employees) ensure 60% of the production and employ 70% of the sector working population (data from Eurostat 2011).
The construction industry ranges from general contractors, house-builders and bricklayers to specialised trades such as carpenters and joiners, plasterers, plumbers, heating & cooling and renewable energy installers, electricians, painters and interior decorators, tile-fixers, including entrepreneurs dealing with the production and processing of construction products. Depending on the national context, EBC national members affiliate SMEs from all these sub-sectors of the construction industry.
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