REBUILD Congress: Challenges and solutions for a sustainable built environment

EBC Secretary General Eugenio Quintieri was invited to share the perspective of construction SMEs in the panel “2030 Challenges to be overcome” of the REBUILD Congress, held on 21-23 September in Madrid.

During his intervention, Eugenio Quintieri underlined the importance of the Construction 2050 Alliance in achieving a fundamental target for the sector: the construction ecosystem has been prioritized in all potential funding programmes of Next Generation EU, the largest stimulus package ever financed in Europe to boost the post-pandemics recovery.

However, together with Mariano Sanz, the new Secretary General of the Spanish organisation Confederación Nacional de la Construcción, he underlined the challenges that could hamper the recovery of the construction sector. First, the ongoing increase in prices experienced across EU member states, paired with a scarcity of several materials, has generated significant problems to construction SMEs and crafts. Second, since several years, the sector suffers from a serious shortage of workers and qualified labour especially in the digital and green fields. These challenges will be amplified by the expected increasing demand for construction works (especially in the renovation sector) as well as the upcoming EU regulatory measures aimed at boosting the green and digital performance of the construction ecosystem.

In order to tackle these challenges, EBC Secretary General stressed the importance of pragmatic solutions such as:

  • National Recovery Plans should dedicate funds to improve digital and green skills in the sector
  • More technical assistance is needed to accompany SMEs in their digital and environmental transformation (e.g. tailored digital innovation centres)
  • Upcoming EU regulatory measures should be progressive, realistic and adapted to SME reality
  • Homeowners should receive more technical and financial assistance when planning renovation works (e.g. boosting the creation of local one-stop-shops)