Jacques CHANUT

Chairman of FFB (French Building Federation)

How did the building sector do in 2016? What are the growth perspectives for 2017?

"In France, the building sector recovered in 2016, with business up by 1.9% in volume across all markets".

And building output should continue to grow further in 2017 by 3.4% in volume. While the maintenance and renovation sector will remain sluggish (+0.9%) the new building segment will accelerate (+0.7%).

However, business levels will still remain lower than those recorded in 2013 and fortunes will continue to vary wildly between specialities and regions. 

In closer detail, there will be nearly 410.000 housing starts in 2017 which will lead to an increase in output by 8.6%. Following nine consecutive years on a downward trend, new non-residential building will at last pick up again with more output (+4%) thanks to industrial buildings and commercial premises which will each record increases of about 10%. At the same time, the construction of offices and administrative premises will level off. As a result, the building industry will finally start to create new jobs, with 10.000 new net jobs created, of which 6.000 permanent employees and 4.000 temporary workers, in equivalent full time. 

2016 and 2017 will thus allow the building industry to engage in a new upward phase in the business cycle, on the condition that the institutional environment dos not change radically following the French presidential election, otherwise the building sector may experience the same misadventure as in 2012. 

What objectives have you set for the coming years and the building sector's Innovation drivers to respond to the wide range of projects arising in France and all over the world?

"One of the big issues in Building today is BIM". 

It represents a natural but major change in our professional practices. Like with all forms of change, BIM requires human and technical investment. It means taking a long, hard look at one's own working methods. 

BIM is a source of opportunities which will help each player in the building industry to be more efficient and dialogue better with others. It will mean less time spent on time-consuming and low added value tasks such as re-entering data. 3D will allow for a better understanding of the project. BIM will also contribute to better interface management. This is what led the FFB to launch a new website www.ffbim.fr to introduce BIM and explain its importance.