Although the economic crisis of 2008-2009 has left its mark, the last few years have seen clear economic growth. This applies to almost all sectors, but due to the improving housing market, it is particularly noticeable in the construction sector. In 2017, production increased by no less than 5.5%, making the construction sector one of the strongest drivers of economic growth in the Netherlands.
The demand for non-residential buildings and infrastructure production is also increasing, but less so - the government is a major client for both areas and major cutbacks have resulted in projects being regularly postponed. Only in the Randstad there is a great need for utility buildings; in other parts of the country, for example, office buildings are still regularly vacant. Investments in infrastructure are also no longer always made by the government - utility companies, transport companies and industry are increasingly acting as clients.
Another change directly affecting the construction industry is the aging of the population. The demand for housing is increasing, but the type of housing is changing. New high-quality residential care facilities, as well as individual concepts for living independently for longer, are in great demand. Incidentally, this individualization is not only something of the older generations - younger customers also come up with increasingly diverse issues.
Where sustainability used to be a distinctive feature, it has now become a basic condition. There is a lot of attention for this from both the builder and the client and thanks to one of the greenest coalition agreements ever, there are opportunities to further grow production and turnover in the construction sector. In addition, there is a shift in construction locations. There is less large-scale new construction in the countryside, but more small-scale (re) construction in existing situations. For example, old buildings are demolished to build new, energy-efficient homes. Or empty office buildings are converted into student residences.
These types of projects require a special approach. Collaboration between construction parties, municipalities and housing associations is becoming increasingly important. And in order to be able to offer consumers and companies new products or production methods, chain cooperation is even necessary.
Despite all this, the construction sector is also struggling with bottlenecks. The aging population makes it more difficult to recruit staff, especially young people - with capacity problems as a result. In addition, competition in the sector is still fierce and construction companies are doing everything they can to secure tenders.
At Machinefabriek Westerhof we like to contribute to sustainability and chain cooperation in the construction industry. We can meet the strict quality requirements that are not only imposed on the product, but also on us as an organization. With our extensive, worldwide experience with mechanical engineering projects for the construction sector, we can seamlessly connect with our clients with our project management, flexibility and logistics.