Driving times and Tachographs: Political agreement recognizes construction specificities

Yesterday the TRAN Committee of the European Parliament approved the trilogue agreement on the “Driving times” and “Tachograph” Regulations reached before Christmas. The European construction industry, represented by the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and the European Builders Confederation (EBC), welcomes this decisive agreement as it recognises the fact that construction enterprises are not road transport companies.

During the lengthy discussions on the dossier, the European construction industry continuously emphasised the importance to avoid additional burdens for construction enterprises and related crafts given that they are not road transport companies and should thus be excluded from the scope of the legislation. Therefore, the construction industry is very pleased to see that Light Commercial Vehicles (LCV) which are used for the transport of goods are exempt from the legislation provided that the transport is effected on the own account of the company or the driver and where driving does not constitute the main activity of the person behind the wheel. This exemption clearly recognises the situation of construction enterprises in border regions, which often use LCVs to carry goods within a geographically limited area for the purpose of a specific household or construction site, and ensures they do not face additional burdens.

However, even though the construction industry is pleased with the decision of the European Parliament and Council to allow national exemptions for the construction sector under article 13, FIEC and EBC regret that this only takes into account the transport of construction machinery, which does not correspond to the reality of construction enterprises typically transporting material, general equipment etc. In addition to this, the construction industry regrets that the legislator decided not to extend the existing exemption for vehicles with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 7.5 tonnes from a 100 km to a 150 km radius, as suggested by the European Parliament. Indeed, such an extension would have facilitated the work of construction enterprises and related crafts, especially in rural areas. It is equally unfortunate that the delivery of “asphalt” has not been recognised under the same exemption as “ready-mixed concrete”, as both are used for similar purposes and require similar handling. This may lead to unfair competition between the two activities.

FIEC and EBC look forward to further cooperate with the European institutions to ensure that the specificities of the construction sector continue to be recognised.