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Construction industry holds its breath while coronavirus hits Europe

Rotterdam, March 18, 2020 – The economy is currently under pressure due to the coronavirus that is spreading across Europe. Without a doubt, this will affect the construction markets in all European countries. In recent quarters a slowdown in the top eight European markets has been noticed in the European Architectural Barometer. Currently, we are in the early stages of the corona crisis in Europe, and in many countries, construction projects seem to continue for now. However, it is important to keep track of the expectations of the market to oversee what the challenges that the construction industry is facing are.

Large share of architects expect a decreasing turnover in the coming 12 months

The results of the European Architectural Barometer are based on interviews that were done until Friday, March 13. Until then we already saw a substantial number of architects that expect a decreasing turnover in the coming 12 months. Especially in Italy and Poland, architects expect to be hit quite hard. Italy is of course one of the countries that was hit in an early phase and experiences governmental measures already for a longer period. Architects in other countries are increasingly worried as well. The number of architects that expect a negative impact on their turnover is increasing. These figures will be updated beginning of next week.

Percentage of architects expecting a negative turnover impact due to COVID-19 virus - USP Marketing Consultancy 

Substantial loss of turnover expected in the majority of countries in the coming 12 months

In all countries but Belgium, France and Germany, all architectural firms combined (those expecting a negative influence on their turnover as well as the ones that do not expect a negative influence) expect a loss of turnover of at least 10%. This could have a significant impact on the construction output in the coming years, as a decrease in the turnover of architects will result in a decrease in construction output in a year’s time. These figures will also be updated beginning of next week to see what has changed in the expectations of architects.

Estimated turnover loss of all architectural firms per country - USP Marketing Consultancy 

Current situation; order books are decreasing but no sign of large scale project cancellations or postponements yet

Architects already experience a decline in their order books. On a European level, more than a quarter of architects already experienced a decline in their order books. About 15% indicated that their order books are already declined with more than 5% compared to the situation in Q4 2019.

Until now, it seems that many construction projects are continuing. The number of architects experiencing direct cancellations or postponements of projects remained fairly stable until Friday the 13th of March. These figures will be updated and split by country in our update next week.