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Crisis in construction: Commercial and non-profit organizations work together

Crisis in construction: Commercial and non-profit organizations work together
Crisis in construction: Commercial and non-profit organizations work together

from left: Josef Muchitsch (GBH), Andreas Köttl (VÖPE), Klaus Baringer (GBV), Peter Krammer (WK)

The collapse in residential construction is the reason why a special alliance is taking place in Austria: commercial (VÖPE) and non-profit property developers (GBV), the construction trade union (GBH) and the construction industry association have joined forces to form the “Alliance for Housing in Austria”. This platform aims to pool forces and give residential construction a boost again.

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The federal government’s package of 2.2 billion euros was welcomed, it was said at a press conference yesterday by the top representatives. However, due to the overall economic situation with high land, construction and refinancing costs and approval procedures that take too long, it is not reaching the construction sites. So far it has only helped “a little” – in terms of improvements in lending.

While 85,000 building permits were issued in 2019, according to Statistics Austria, the number will be 47,000 in 2023. In addition, many approved construction projects are currently at a standstill and have not been started. This means that a coordinated and agreed approach by an alliance of politics and business is needed. Only such an alliance can ensure that the construction and real estate industry is strengthened and thus affordable housing is created in Austria, it was said at the joint appearance.

“Construction Minister” in the next government?

The demands are already being addressed to the next federal government. For example, a construction minister would be appropriate for overall coordination, as was the case until the 1980s, said VÖPE President Andreas Köttl. “Since then, housing construction has been treated like a stepchild at the federal level.”

It is now necessary to join forces and start a joint discussion and work format, said GBV association chairman Klaus Baringer. “We propose an alliance in which the federal government, states and municipalities are represented and develop proposals and measures on an equal footing with all industry associations.” The reintroduction of the earmarked use of housing subsidies is the order of the day.

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