“The first thing I would ask President Draghi immediately is to immediately open the construction sites that have been blocked for years, where there are bids submitted but not awarded, which amount to billions of euros”. The president of Ance, Gabriele Buia, goes straight to the point on the occasion of the presentation of the Economic Observatory prepared by the national manufacturers’ association. Buia signals two further urgencies that penalize the sector. «Implementing the simplifications necessary for the use of expenditure, of all those problems that still block procedures and – he adds – thirdly, planning: without prior planning, today we see tenders that make no sense. Some planned works are banned, but without any internal projects, this is a big problem ». A difficult context where the health conditions of the construction sector are those summarized by the data from Ance. The activity of the last year was marked by the pandemic emergency with a drop in investments of 10%.
The need to restart
“Gasoline on the fire that destroyed those first signs of recovery in 2019: a very heavy impact – underlines the manufacturers’ association – for a sector that in 12 years, since 2008, has seen production levels reduced by more than a third”. But Ance’s estimates indicate signs of recovery starting from the current year. “All the factors suggest that in 2021 there will be a rebound for the sector: + 8.6% of investments in construction, with an effect on the economy of almost 2 percentage points of GDP”. The driving forces will be public works (+ 7.7% and expected growth) and building maintenance which, thanks to the super bonus, should grow by 14%. In particular, the incentives deriving from the super-bonus are expected to generate 6 billion a year of additional spending for the sector, with a total effect on the economy of 21 billion euros and an increase of around 64,000 jobs in construction. Also considering the related sectors, the increase, according to Ance, would reach almost 100 thousand units. The condition is, however, the one confirmed by Buia. “The return of the plus sign in public works is conditioned by the real reopening of construction sites, which is not yet happening, and by the entry into the production phase of the tenders published starting from 2017”.
The decline in public works
In terms of tenders, the Ance document also highlights the decline in investments in public works. The delays in work in progress and in new construction sites were compounded by the effect of smart working in the Public Administration, further slowing down the operation of public offices. The Ance also complains that «the Simplification Decree has determined a significant decrease in the tenders published for public works (-11.1%), concentrated in the works below the threshold. The amount of the tenders, on the other hand, is strongly increasing (+ 28.7%), mainly driven by the Anas and RFI program contracts released after 3 years ». But Buia specifies: «Bando does not mean assignment and assignment does not mean construction site. Today we still have calls made and entrustments made but construction sites not open. Given this, only 50% works of the Recovery funds will be real