In the first half of this year, the precast sector in Austria was once again able to markedly increase its turnover from the outstanding year before. The strongest growth sectors are, as in the previous year, residential and office building construction as well as commercial real estate. The consistently positive economic conditions, growing demand and high capacity utilization in the companies, moreover, are boosting contractors’ willingness to invest and ensure a rising employment rate.
The construction boom, however, also brings additional challenges. Many companies are now reaching their limits, and resources are becoming scarce. Better planning in order management by clients could shorten delivery times and again significantly improve delivery reliability.
Construction boom and its downsides
Franz Josef Eder, President of VÖB, explains the situation: “Although 2018 once again resulted in a plus in order books in the concrete and precast sector, this is by now leading to hamster-like behavior of individual customers and contractors. Examples of this are more than enough in other trades, such as formwork companies and scaffolding leasing companies.”
Gains through residential, office and industrial building
In general, the sector can’t complain: Owing to the strong construction economy, 83 % of the companies were able to record at least the same or even higher turnovers than in the first six months of 2018. Reasons for full capacity utilization in the companies include the good economic situation as well as rising demand.
A total of 78 % estimate that the peak of the demand for precast elements has not yet been reached. In addition, the still high willingness to invest – in particular by the real estate sector – leads to peak utilization, which is making itself felt in the companies.
Shortage of precast technicians
Great demand and planning chaos
However: turnover, according to Eder, does not increase to the same extent as full order books. And he notes: “Delivery times in the precast sector are for the most part considerably long. Here, the situation is also characterized by the deadline planning of clients. The consequences: turnovers increase only partially, because capacities beginning already in 2017 were exhausted, and because prices have not yet appreciably increased.”