UEPC Contribution to High Level Forum
The second meeting of the High Level Tripartite Strategic Forum on construction 2020 took place on 29 November. This meeting discussed the Implementation of the Action Plan "Construction 2020" and evaluated specific progress made by each of the thematic groups. Mr Loosveldt attended the meeting on behalf of UEPC and stressed the need for affordable housing and in order to keep houses affordable as well as the need for lowering production costs.
UEPC, as other associations, were asked to submit their contribution to the workings of the Forum. In this regard, as a response to the debate held on 29 November, UEPC submitted to the European Commission a docuiment in which it stressed two points in the context of Thematic Group 1 on ‘Stimulating investment in building renovation, infrastructure and innovation’:
1) Diminishing the construction costs is essential for sustainable housing policies
UEPC believe in effective and efficient policy measures, that are in essence not fiscal or financial, and that can contribute towards achieving a sustainable housing policy; We believe that lowering the administrative burden on the (new) built environment would have a very positive effect on the provision of affordable houses. Therefore we urge the public authorities to set up strategic simplification programs, that are inventorying and analyzing the different existing regulatory and policy measures affecting the provision and the commercialization of dwellings, in order to abolish and or replace inefficient and ineffective measures. At the same time we urge the public authorities to make sure that every new policy proposition should be presented together with a socio-economic impact assessment report. We believe that Europe has a role to play in facilitating the benchmarking of different regional simplification programs related to housing
UEPC also considers that an effective and relevant leverage should be the improvement of facilities for PPP tools, indeed the distribution of costs to develop home buildings is mostly determined by cost of land (usually, variable in large margin) and cost of infrastructure, but less in term of cost for execution (price/sqm).
2) Participation of the financial world is essential
UEPC would like to stress the need for participation of the financing world to the Forum. It was clearly stated during the meetings of the thematic groups and it is finally obvious: no construction, no renovation, no innovation without finance. The most important barrier for the development of housing is today the lack of mortgage loans in most parts of Europe. The lack of sufficient business finance on suitable terms for SMEs (as well as lack of mortgage finance) has also been a major constraint on house building activity. The safety of the bank activities is a must, but in an economic desert, a secure bank is useless.