The floods in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate took many lives and washed down localities.

Does the reconstruction take a long time because roads, bridges and houses have to be planned differently in order to withstand such a flood?

Jan Hauser

Editor in business.

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The construction industry uses all its strength to help the people in the disaster areas quickly and easily. Our companies are on site - regardless of whether it is about clean-up work, securing roads, slopes, residential areas or whether temporary bridges have to be built. Far beyond the affected regions, our member companies have reported available capacities in terms of personnel and heavy equipment to the crisis teams in the countries, which coordinate everything else. That concerns the emergency aid. In the medium term, we as the construction industry will not only be available with our construction capacities, but also with our experience in order to be able to optimize the planning for future improved disaster control.

Additional orders are coming from the construction industry, whose capacities are already tight.

Wood, steel and many building materials are also becoming scarce.

Are prices and costs rising faster than before?

As part of the Ifo business survey, many of the construction companies surveyed stated that their production is being hindered by a shortage of materials.

Above all there is a lack of construction timber and petroleum-based products made of plastic and metal.

At the same time, the prices for these building materials have risen by up to half since the beginning of the year, and in some cases even more for timber.

This makes building more expensive for builders and construction companies, who often cannot pass the price increase on to the client when contracts have been concluded.

Buildings are moving more and more into the focus of environmentalists.

How is the construction industry becoming more climate-friendly?

One of the greatest levers for climate protection in Germany lies in the building sector. Today, 75 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by buildings are generated during building operations, primarily through heating and cooling. Therefore the building stock urgently needs to be energetically renovated across the board - by 2034 we are assuming a required quadrupling of the current renovation rate. We will only cope with this with a significant further development of our previous construction method towards industrial processes. We as the construction industry therefore deal intensively with the topic of serial renovation. Energetic renovation must finally become a mass product: easily available, easy to implement, inexpensive and risk-free calculable for the coming decades. We are currently working intensively with our companieswith housing associations, municipalities and politicians, concepts on how we can achieve the necessary economies of scale. Of course, we also consider the emissions that arise in the manufacture of building materials, during transport and in the construction process. We have to get better here, through innovative technologies, materials, construction methods and environmentally friendly drives. Ultimately, the certification of the buildings in the planning and construction process as by the German Sustainable Building Council must become the standard.Ultimately, the certification of the buildings in the planning and construction process as by the German Sustainable Building Council must become the standard.Ultimately, the certification of the buildings in the planning and construction process as by the German Sustainable Building Council must become the standard.

Do you need more wood in construction, or should buildings above all be renovated in order to save CO2?

Both. We have to renovate more, that is clear. But of course we will not be able to do without new buildings if we want to meet the demand for inexpensive living space. That is why we also have to significantly improve the carbon footprint of new buildings. At first glance, timber construction seems to do better than materials such as concrete and masonry from this point of view. That is why there has been a real hype about timber construction in Germany for some time. If you take a closer look, however, you will find that solid building materials have many properties in terms of heat storage capacity, longevity and recyclability that bring many pluses. A current study shows that when looking at a service life of 80 years, masonry houses are “more sustainable” than wooden houses. Come in addition,that the energetically problematic production of some building materials is currently developing rapidly. So you have to look at it differently. A combination of the most suitable materials in hybrid construction is certainly optimal. In the construction industry, we always advocate openness to technology and innovation. Quota regulations are too short-sighted and lead to technical dead ends.