New century to begin with three years of growth in construction sector, Euroconstruct reveals.
The 21st Century will be ushered in by three years of growth for the European construction economy, according to figures compiled by leading forecaster Euroconstruct.

The figures, obtained exclusively by Building, predict that output will grow at an average of 2% between now and 2003 across the 15 countries surveyed.

Output will grow steadily across the largest markets, such as the UK and France, while eastern European countries, such as Poland and Hungary, will see double-digit rises.

The UK is expected to achieve 2% growth on average in the next three years. In 2000, 2.7% is expected to take output to £62bn. However, the biggest single factor underlying the optimism of the forecast is the recovery of the £140bn German market, which is set to grow at 1.5% after four years of decline. Germany is the largest European market by far – it is almost twice the size of Italy, the next biggest market.

UK contractors with an interest in Europe were upbeat about prospects. Sir Frank Lampl, chairman of Bovis Lend Lease, said: “We are really optimistic about the situation in Europe. Within the European Union there is a good market being created by the large number of companies which are either merging or acquiring each other.”

Other companies are expecting to benefit from multinational transport projects. This week it emerged that Eurotunnel had submitted ambitious proposals to the British and French governments for a £2.7bn road tunnel or a further rail tunnel linking France and the UK.

But the fastest growth is expected to come in eastern Europe. Stephen Dicks, managing director of Gleeds’ Budapest office said: “There is a lot of inward investment here and in Poland because once these countries become members of the EU, companies will have an automatic market for their goods.”

The figures will be released today in Cambridge at Euroconstruct’s twice-yearly conference. The figures include all EU countries except Greece and Luxembourg. They also include Norway and Switzerland.