BAU 2011 to usher in recovery
By the time BAU opens its doors in January 2011 the European building industry should have largely overcome the consequences of the global economic crisis and a more stable situation should be emerging. However, growth rates such as were seen before the recession are not expected to return before 2012.
This forecast comes in the latest report by Euroconstruct, a group of research institutions and consultancies from 15 Western European countries and four in Central Europe.
In 2009, the global economic crisis continued to impact on the building industry. Building activity had already declined in 2008, following the collapse of residential construction. In their report, the experts from Euroconstruct describe 2009 as the "worst year in over a decade". A dramatic downturn in demand in building construction, in particular in the residential segment, led to an overall decline in European building volumes of 8.4 percent, to around 1.4 billion euros. For comparison: GDP for all Euroconstruct countries fell by ‘only’ an average of 4 percent.
Although the downturn differed in severity between the individual countries, building activity fell in all of the countries except for Switzerland and Poland. Germany escaped relatively unscathed with a drop of 1.2%, whereas Spain (-21.5%) and Ireland (-32.2%) – where during the boom years building had outstripped demand – experienced a dramatic collapse last year.
The rising proportion of cross-border turnover in the global building market shows clearly that globalisation in the building industry is continuing. According to a survey conducted among leading international building firms by the American trade journal Engineering News Record, cross-border activity in 2008 rose 25% to 390 billion US$, thus doubling within the space of just four years. Internationally active building companies from China and Turkey are increasingly competing with American, Japanese and European players.
The massive presence of Chinese building companies in Africa has led to international building volumes in this region rising to over 50 billion US$. On a European comparison, building firms from Turkey are now market leaders in Asia and in the Middle East. The European league table of building firms, according to size of international turnover (2008 figures), is headed by French companies (28 bn euros), followed by the German building industry (25.5. bn euros). Turkish building firms are in fifth place, with a good 12 bn euros of turnover.
BAU, too, is itself an indicator of the progress of internationalisation in the building market. The ever growing number of international visitors speaks a clear language. In 2003 around 27,000 foreign visitors from 100 countries came to BAU in Munich; in 2009 the number of visitors from abroad was over 37,000. They came from 151 countries. This trend is likely to continue at BAU 2011 from 17 to 22 January. As such, in the statistics, too, BAU will be living up to its reputation as the world´s leading trade fair for the international building industry.