International cost comparison 2021

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Agnieszka Krzyzaniak of Arcadis reflects on the resilience of the global construction sector in 2021 and some of the emerging short-term and long-term challenges the industry is facing as part of the recovery

To many, what happened in 2020 – and continues across much of the world – may seem like a disaster movie. Unfortunately, this time we are the main characters. There were no special effects and the damage done is counted not in buildings and roads demolished but in the suffering of millions as the pandemic continues to take its toll. Our world needs rebuilding. The abrupt halt to economies, especially in the services sector, led to a decrease in global GDP of 3.5% – but not only that. Behind this number, there are small businesses that went bankrupt, young entrepreneurs left without support, and millions of people who suddenly became unemployed.

The economic damage could have been even bigger if the construction sector had stopped working, as it accounts for 13% of global GDP. Luckily, except for in a few locations, building activity continued. As the economic outlook in many countries improves, construction still has a crucial role to play. Significant public sector investment in connectivity and improving living conditions in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals are at the core of many countries’ recovery plans. Are we ready to tackle this challenge?

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