The voice of construction SMEs in Europe

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EBC launches its new Annual Report

The 2016/2017 Report presents EBC's most recent efforts to defend and promote the interests of the building sector’s micro, small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. With its 17 members all across Europe, EBC represents micro, small and medium-sized companies on a European level.

This year EBC was confronted with new challenges, met its efficiency targets and has welcomed a new association member, WKÖ, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber.

EBC is a key player in Europe and its active contribution is well recognised in all spheres of the construction sector. This is why EBC’s next goal is to join the European Social Dialogue Committee for Construction as a full member and contribute to the important issues on its agenda with our members’ input.

The Annual Report contains an outline of the key themes of the past year with regard to EBC policy areas.

Social Affairs

EBC is involved in particular with the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive. The current EU legal framework does not prevent abuses in the posting of workers and this puts many small construction companies at risk. EU rules on labour mobility should be enforced in a fair, simple and effective way.

Furthermore, EBC continues to pay close attention to the legislative framework covering work-related cancers. EBC members are highly committed to working on the prevention of exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica dust in construction activities, amongst other measures by improved work techniques, changes in work processes and methods, and dissemination and exchange of best practices. However, limits on exposure levels must be proportionate to the concerned occupational risk and be technically measurable. Construction SMEs need help and guidance to comply with these legislative and technical requirements imposed by the European institutions.

Energy and environment

The revisions of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and the Energy Efficiency Directive offer a major opportunity for jobs and growth in Europe’s SMEs. However, it is important for European policy makers to take into consideration construction microenterprises and SMEs’ specific needs.


The Construction Products Regulation (CPR) is the most important piece of legislation for standardisation in the construction sector, since it sets the conditions for the CE marking of construction products. EBC constantly monitors and tries to positively influence the implementation of this regulation, its review and its possible revision. No review of the CPR could be complete without properly assessing its impact on SMEs.

This Annual Report also has a special feature on BIM – Building Information Modelling – and on what innovation and digital transformation mean for construction SMEs.


To read the 2016/2017 Annual report, click here  

More linguistic versions available.

Note to editors

Established in 1990, the European Builders Confederation – EBC – is a European professional organisation representing national associations of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises working in the construction sector. EBC participates as observer in the European Social Dialogue Committee of Construction. EBC is a member of UEAPME (the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), on behalf of which it chairs the UEAPME Construction Forum.

The construction sector is of vital importance to the European economy. With 3 million enterprises and a total direct workforce of 18 million, the construction sector contributes at around 9% to the GDP of the European Union.

99.9% of the European construction sector is composed of small and medium-sized companies, which produce 80% of the construction industry's output. Small enterprises (less than 50 employees) are responsible for 60% of production and employ 70% of the sector's working population.