Sweden: the Construction and Installation sector is the bridge into the future

The construction and installation sector, represented by Installatörsföretagen, employs more than 350,000 people across Sweden and contributes 11 percent of Sweden’s GDP. Production in the sector is of great importance to Swedish society and contributes both to a good economy and to the functioning of every person’s daily life.  

The current pandemic has had a major impact on the Swedish economy, and we can see signs in the sector that growth is slowing down. However, the construction and installation sector can play a crucial role in getting society and the economy back on their feet. Through investments and projects in construction and installation, energy efficiency and sustainability, we can together get the Swedish national economy up and running.

With the right conditions, we can be a leading player in restarting Swedish growth. The construction and installation sector has the potential to take Sweden into the future – a greener and more sustainable future with economic stability. Although the crisis is a major difficulty, there are also great opportunities. Now is the chance for a change when it comes to climate-smart solutions. However, it requires a number of measures:

  • The projects in the construction and installation sector that are currently being carried out must proceed according to plan. At the same time, the decision-making processes for future projects must be continued or intensified.
  • Measures must be put in place to make it easier for our smaller companies to operate and fill their orderbooks, despite the fact that households are saving up.
  • We must also invest in climate-smart and sustainable buildings and technologies.

The construction and installation sector presents sector-specific proposals below for measures aimed at maintaining production, saving jobs and making Sweden a climate smarter and more energy efficient nation.

Short-term measures

We want to see measures that support normally viable companies in the industry and ensure their survival. We need to strengthen the liquidity of our companies so that they have a chance to overcome the obstacles that this crisis creates. That’s why we want to:

  • Accelerate infrastructure projects. A prerequisite to safeguard Swedish growth is that the large projects underway around the country will continue or increase in pace.
  • Let the removal of the last amortisation requirement for housing loans become permanent. It creates uncertainty when it is temporary.
  • Ensure that municipalities and regions can engage in the new construction and renovation of schools, health facilities, other public buildings and public infrastructure. Here we must also look at the great need for the upgrading and reinvestment of the water network.
  • Timetables for public projects should be adjustable and adaptable to the specific circumstances; strategic synergies should be introduced to drive projects forward.
  • Public purchasers should, due to delays and project stoppages, refrain from requiring daily late fees. This also applies to the termination of contracts for the same reasons.
  • Temporarily raise the tax deductions in “ROT” schemes to 75% and then restore it, at least to the original level of 50%. Such an increase creates more jobs, higher demand for services and much more, generating many positive consequences for the economy. If we increase the incentive for individuals to buy services, we ensure that companies can survive, reducing the number of redundancies and stopping undeclared work.
  • Reinstate support for the renovation and energy efficiency of the “million programmes” in line with the recommendations of RIR 2019:25.
  • Contribute to liquidity enhancements in the industry by public clients shortening their payment times to suppliers and contractors.

Long-term measures

The need for infrastructure and housing persists in difficult times. Therefore, it is important to have long-term measures that ensure that Sweden, once the crisis has passed, can get back and continue to be a world leader in both sustainability and innovation.

The construction and maintenance of infrastructure and housing is crucial to keep society and the economy going. These investments persist even after the crisis and generate long-lasting social benefits. That’s why we call for the following:

  • Information should be given regarding infrastructure investments in accordance with the Sweden Agreement.
  • Expansion of the main grid to ensure access to electricity across the country.
  • Investing in skills supply: provide increased opportunities to switch from other industries to the construction and installation sector and ensure that even narrow professional areas have a place in the education system.
  • Provide a targeted deduction for energy efficiency measures right now and the tax reduction for the installation of green technologies so that energy efficiency measures are included right from the start.
  • Creating additional conditions for climate-smart solutions, both when it comes to new construction and renovation, gives us the opportunity to take a turn in the construction and installation sector.
  • A new energy efficiency target linked to action plans and implementation. This means that we can more easily implement the climate policies needed to achieve the climate targets by 2045.
  • Develop progress indicators for 2030, 2040 and 2045 that focus on the following factors:
    • Energy needs of buildings (kWh/m2, year)
    • Power requirements, electricity and heat (W/m2)
    • The number of buildings with flexible control systems
    • Increased comfort and better health
    • Energy consumption in the construction process
  • Ensure that municipalities have sufficient resources to proactively plan and offer building permits for all types of housing developments to a greater extent than is happening today.
  • Stimulate research and innovation to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and the roadmap for fossil-free competitiveness in a number of areas. Important to look at how we design processes and business models as well as new products and services, how we take care of and refine existing property portfolio and how we create conditions for reuse and recycling.

The construction and installation sector is crucial for Sweden. If all citizens are to have a modern and safe place to live, while at the same time solving the challenges of climate change, our sector is an important key. Even before the pandemic, the challenges were great, but with the right measures we can come out of this crisis stronger than before. Then Sweden takes a real step into the future and becomes a beacon in the international community for how a nation can take on the challenges of the future.