By Emmanuel BRISSEAU
WAR IN UKRAINE: SHORTAGES IN THE CONSTRUCTION SECTOR DUE TO THE CONFLICT?
Like many other sectors, construction is beginning to feel the impact of the effects of the war in Ukraine. Effects that are very real and could lead to shortages.
A LACK OF STEEL
For the building industry, what is seriously lacking is steel, a necessary material that is used a lot in this sector and especially reinforced concrete, which is essential for almost all construction processes.
The main producers of steel for French companies are Italy and Turkey, which are mainly supplied by Russia and Ukraine. The Italians had stopped orders from the beginning of the war two weeks ago. They have just resumed, but our companies do not know when they can be delivered, nor at what price.
Steel is not only needed to construct a building, it is also needed for the workers to work as it is also used to manufacture construction equipment like cranes and backhoes. A shortage could have catastrophic effects.
THE IMPACT OF RISING ENERGY COSTS
Another impact for construction companies is the increase in energy costs. First of all on the journeys on site, the displacements, the transport of materials and equipment, but also the production of heat.
Some products require upstream casting or "firing" at extreme temperatures: aluminum, tiles, bricks, tiles ... The risk of shortage is very high here: the costs have become so high that some manufacturers prefer to stop production altogether.
France is already short of tiles because the rise in energy costs had begun even before the war in Ukraine and some producers could not keep up. Tile manufacturers in Italy and Portugal have already stopped their production. For them as well as for other companies in France, producing has become more expensive than not producing.
HOW TO COPE?
The immediate challenge for the construction sector is obviously to find alternative means of supply for everything that is lacking today and that is not yet the case. And these alternatives are in any case much more expensive.
This is the problem for construction companies. Currently, when they sign their contracts with customers, they do so mostly at a fixed price, determined upstream. The challenge is now to return to more flexible contracts with rates based on the evolution of costs for the professionals themselves.
What is certain is that these new tensions will still result in a general increase in real estate in both new and old buildings.
Cersaie welcomed a total of more than 62,000 visitors over the five days of the show, including more than 24,000 international professionals. Attendance amounted to 56% of the 2019 total.
The 38th Cersaie, the International Exhibition of Ceramics and Bathroom Furnishings held in Bologna from 27 September to 1 October, fully met the expectations of the exhibiting companies who had decided to invest in the show as an opportunity to meet their customers face-to-face and present their latest product innovations in person. A total of 623 companies were present on a total exhibition space of 150,000 square metres in fifteen fully occupied halls of the Bologna exhibition centre, including 361 companies from the ceramic tile sector, 87 from the bathroom furniture sector and 175 from the installation, raw materials, new surfaces and service sectors. The strong international profile of the show was confirmed by the presence of 238 non-Italian exhibitors (38% of the total) from 28 countries.
Cersaie 2021 was attended by a total of 62,943 visitors. Despite the continuing difficulties caused by the pandemic in international markets, especially in terms of intercontinental travel, the show attracted 24,019 international visitors (38% of the total), while the number of Italian participants amounted to 38,924. A total of 464 journalists were present, 150 of whom were from outside Italy. Total attendance amounted to 56% of the 2019 figure.
The exhibition was held in compliance with all applicable regulations to ensure safe participation in the event, with Green Pass certification required not only for admission to the show itself, but also for the stand set-up and dismantling phases, the latter of which is currently underway. The adoption of the Green Pass enabled a large number of customers from Italy and key European markets to attend, although participation from Asian visitors was more limited due to the strict anti-Covid regulations in place for returning travellers.
"I am convinced that the 623 exhibitors who took part in Cersaie 2021 got the best possible return on their investment in a show that once again confirmed its national and international importance among distributors, architects, installers and real estate operators," commented Giovanni Savorani, President of Confindustria Ceramica. "Ceramic tiles have been doing well for several months in the various world markets thanks to the intrinsic health, hygiene and environmental sustainability qualities of our products and their ability to satisfy the growing demand for quality of life in homes and other places. As we have pointed out to the representatives of national and territorial institutions whose presence at the fair has clearly shown their interest in our sector,
"Cersaie offered a wide-ranging program of well-attended and highly effective events," said Emilio Mussini, Confindustria Ceramica's vice president for promotional activities and trade shows. "Highlights of this edition of the fair included the nearly 600 people who attended the lecture given by Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, the presence of ten leading Italian and European architectural firms in the Contract Hall, the exhibition of the G124 project launched by Renzo Piano to redevelop the suburbs in collaboration with young architects, the eighteen Press Cafés held during the five days of the show, the seminars on ceramic tiles held in Tiling Town, and the 180 Cersaie Business delegates from some of the main Italian markets, including Germany, North America and the Gulf countries, who were present thanks to the valuable collaboration with the Italian Trade Agency ITA. Cersaie will continue until October 8 via Cersaie Digital, an online product showcase and business matching service for exhibitors and visitors that provides valuable support to in-person visitor participation and will be further developed in future editions of the show.
Next year's Cersaie will be held in Bologna from 26 to 30 September 2022.
Cersaie Press Office - October 4, 2021 - firstname.lastname@example.org
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