In the first quarter of 2012, turnover generated by the construction sector declined by more than 9 percent relative to the same period last year. The number of bankruptcies increased by 27 percent and the number of jobs in the construction sector decreased by 9 thousand to 363 thousand. Medium-sized business are struck hardest by the effects of the crisis.
Modest turnover growth for small businesses
Medium-sized construction businesses lost more than 16 percent of their turnover last year compared to bumper year 2008. Only small businesses in the construction sector managed to realise turnover growth (nearly 3 percent). Large building companies and the overall construction sector (excluding property developers) faced a turnover loss of nearly 9 percent over the same period.
Turnover construction sector (excluding property developers), by business size
Tough times for residential and non-residential building
With 16 percent, residential and non-residential building companies faced the most substantial loss of turnover in 2011 relative to 2008. Medium-sized and large building companies entirely accounted for the decline with a turnover loss of more than 20 percent, but small building firms still generated a 6 percent higher turnover in this period.
Relative to 2008, turnover in civil engineering was – to a certain extent – kept up by investments in infrastructure. Altogether, civil engineering accounted for a turnover growth of more than 1 percent, but within the sector civil engineering, small businesses performed poorly. Their turnover dropped by more than 6 percent, while medium-sized civil engineering companies generated a turnover growth by more than 9 percent. Large civil engineering companies managed to retain the turnover level of 2008.
New assignments for architects (index building sum)
Prospects are bleak
For the time being, new assignments are scarce. The near future for residential and non-residential building in particular looks bleak. The total building sum for permits granted for the construction of new residential and non-residential buildings dropped by 7 percent in 2011. Sales of existing residential property dropped by more than 4 percent last year to 120 thousand units, i.e. more than 40 percent below the level recorded in peak year 2006. The value of new projects assigned to architects was nearly 12 percent down in 2011 and is nearly 65 percent down from the 2007 level.