High Level Construction Forum 2024

The 4th High Level Construction Forum: Priorities for a Green Sector Transition

Publiceret 30-04-2024

Decarbonisation, Circularity, Skills shortage and Costs. These are the main challenges being faced by the EU construction ecosystem according to more than 100 people who were gathered in Bruxelles to get a fresh update on, which actions had been taken to contribute to the construction sector’s transition. Here they gave their input to future green priorities for the EU construction ecosystem, which DG GROW would use as inspiration for the next European Commission.

Several Nordic stakeholders contributed with examples and ideas including Nordic Sustainable Construction.

Presentation of poll answers at the High Level Construction Forum

How Does the Construction Sector Support the Green Transition?

In 2023, the EU Commission’s DG GROW launched the report Transition Pathways for Construction focusing on the following three themes:

  • Greener
  • More digital
  • Resilient

Following the launch the Commission requested concrete input from the European construction sector to share how specific actors are supporting the transition.

Now, a year later, DG GROW followed up the report with an overview of the strategic challenges facing construction and the actions and initiatives from different actors. This and more were presented at the 4th edition of the High Level Construction Forum.

Highlights from the Keynote Speaker

Maive Rute, Deputy Director General DG GROW started by pointing to the need for 25 million buildings to be renovated this decade alone to reach political aims. One of the tools to help the construction sector in the transition would be the digital product passport, which can help us use data in a meaningful way. She further pointed to a toolkit developed to help countries digitalise their building regulation and lastly she pointed to the significant need for reskilling and upskilling.

Main challenges: Decarbonisation, Circularity, Skills Shortage and Costs

Poll answers



These were the most featured words, when participants were asked “What are the main challenges being faced by the EU construction ecosystem?”

During the forum many challenges were presented, that the construction industry has faced and is still facing: Recovering from the COVID-pandemic, ensuring affordable housing, strategic dependency on specific construction products, sufficiency and ensuring climate and environmental friendly and safe building products.

However, it became clear with the insightful presenters that much is already happening. Some of the highlights included many implemented actions from the Transition Pathway, the EPBD, and the innovative solutions within new digital technologies such as AI, Data spaces and BIM. Skills were also a key theme with the Blueprint for Skills and Skills Alliance as examples, working to ensure a workforce capable of integrating the changes in practice.

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive and Life Cycle Global Warming Potential Calculation

On the day of the Forum the European Parliament signed the revised EPBD. Nina Neumann, Team Leader and Brigitte Jacquemont, Policy Officer from DG ENER presented what the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) will contribute with. Regarding embodied carbon in new constructions Brigitte specified that the EPBD includes Life Cycle Global Warming Potential (GWP) calculation and that it must be calculated from 2028 for new buildings larger than 1000 m2 useful floor area and from 2030 for all new building. Brigitte also specified that the calculation should be disclosed through the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). She furthermore elaborated that DG ENER aims to have the guidance on the delegated act ready within a year.

Concrete Examples of Nordic Sector Initiatives Accelerating the Green Transition of Construction

At the High Level Construction Forum several Nordic stakeholders were present including Byggevareindustrien (Norway), Danish Construction Federation, House of Industry (Faeroe Islands) and Swedish Construction Confederation. Emma Bonnevier from the Swedish Construction Federation had the opportunity to present their work on the newly revised Swedish Roadmap 2045 for a fossil free construction sector. The ambitious Swedish sector initiative includes goals to lower the Swedish construction emissions of greenhouse gasses with 50% in 2030 and reach net zero in 2045. The roadmap has identified 30 commitments focusing on taking actions. In her presentation, Emma Bonnevier highlighted that all the Nordic countries have sector initiatives to accelerate the green transition in the construction sector. There are many similarities in the initiatives and we have gathered an overview of them here for inspiration.

presentations from the conference hall
Emma Bonnevier from the Swedish Construction Federation presented the Swedish Roadmap 2045 for a fossil free construction sector

Nordic Regulation of Climate Emissions from Construction

Also at a regulatory level, the Nordic countries are working on lowering the emissions from the construction sector. See an overview of the Nordic climate regulations and limit values integrations here. 

What will the Future Bring?

During the day of the forum, the participants gave their contributions and input at a workshop focusing on the three themes:

Table from workshop presenting the three themes: Green transition, digital transition and resilience

The participants discussed the following questions:

  • What would you see as priority topics at EU level? Which specific elements of these topics should be considered?
  • How could your organisation contribute to these topics?

This resulted in a lot of posters with various input to what the EU Commission could focus their efforts on in a new period. One of the highlighted inputs was a focus on how to encourage improved building design.

Discussing the posters from the workshop
At the end of the workshop, conclusions from the poster sessions were drawn in a panel discussion