Some 40 thousand jobs in the construction sector will disappear in the coming two years due to the coronavirus, according to the economic institute for construction EIB. The institute thinks this crisis will hit construction harder than the 2008 economic crisis. EIB expects construction production to shrink by over 15 percent, NOS reports.
A record number of new businesses opened in the Netherlands last year. A total of 207 thousand companies started operating in 2019. That is 23 thousand more than opened in 2018, which was also a record year, according to figures Statistics Netherlands published on Friday.
Housing corporations are still failing to build enough homes, according to a report by the Housing Corporation Authority, part of the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate. The "State of the corporation sector" report showed on Friday that they only realized 62 percent of their annual construction plans in 2017 and 2018, NOS reports.
The report did not give a reason for these failed plans, but mentioned a number of possibilities. "Too optimistic schedules, setbacks in tenders, rapid construction costs increases and other causes can play a role," the Authority said.
Last year, nearly 71 thousand new homes were built and delivered in the Netherlands, over 6 percent more than in 2018 and the biggest increase in a decade, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday. The total housing stock in the Netherlands grew by 0.9 percent last year.
Construction production in the Netherlands increased last year, but that growth will stall in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the nitrogen emission problem. The construction of new houses and infrastructure projects will be particularly affected, according to projections published by the economic institute for construction EIB on Wednesday, NU.nl and RTL Nieuws report.
Buyers of newly built homes in the Netherlands can no longer assume that they will have space to park their cars. Most municipalities currently still guarantee 1 to 1.8 parking spaces per new home, but an increasing number of cities are lowering their parking standards, according to an inventory by newspaper AD.
Dozens of Dutch municipalities, provinces and the central government will sign the Clean Air Agreement on Monday - a promise to improve air quality in the Netherlands. With a package of measures, they want to prevent some 5 thousand premature deaths by 2030. The government is pushing 50 million euros into the agreement, municipalities and provinces dozens of millions more, NOS reports.
As protesting farmers and construction workers caused traffic problems in multiple places in the Netherlands throughout the day, the expectation for evening rush hour looks pretty bleak. At 3:55 p.m. there were still 41 areas of traffic jams, affecting about 165 kilometers of roadway according to infrastructure authority Rijkswaterstaat.
"Dozens of fines were issued during the day and a multitude of tractors were removed from the road," police said in a statement.
Motorists must take longer travel time into account on Wednesday morning due to protests by farmers and construction workers. The construction workers are planning go-slow actions on Dutch highways and provincial roads. A court banned the farmers from blocking distribution centers, but other types of actions are planned.
The Dutch government is currently investigating a list of around 20 unorthodox and unpopular measures for reducing nitrogen emissions in the Netherlands. These measures include banning car traffic on one Sunday a month, and lowering the speed limit on all highways to 100 kilometers per hour, AD reports based on sources in The Hague.
Farmers are planning to move their protest against the government's nitrogen policy from The Hague to Amsterdam. But that doesn't mean the Malieveld in The Hague will be left empty. Construction workers are planning to protest there next week Wednesday.
In the coming years, the construction backlog on the number of homes in the Netherlands will be partially made up, according to a forecast by Statistics Netherlands and the Netherlands environmental assessment agency PBL. But it will likely not be enough to eliminate the existing housing shortage completely, the Telegraaf reports.
Last year the Netherlands counted over 10 thousand fast-growing companies - a new record for the country and a 20 percent increase compared to the 8,500 fast growers in 2017, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday.
A new terminal at Schiphol airport that was planned to open in 2023, will only open in 2026 at the earliest, the Telegraaf reports based on an information document for contractors who want to tender for the project. The construction of this third terminal, which is meant to help Schiphol better handle the ever increasing number of passengers, involves billions of euros, according to the newspaper.
The municipality of Amsterdam plans to construct 52,500 new homes in the next seven years, responsible alderman Laurens Ivens announced. The main risk for these ambitious construction plans may be the shortage of construction workers, he said, AD reports.
"The plans are there. Hopefully we can find enough construction workers and the state will cooperate", Ivens said while presenting the municipality's plans on Thursday. The city wants to build 7,500 homes per year in its period of government. The rest will be built in the years thereafter.
Economic growth in the Netherlands dropped considerably in the third quarter. Compared to the second quarter, the economy grew by only 0.2 percent between start July and end September - the lowest quarterly growth in the past two years, Statistics Netherlands reported on Wednesday.
Subway station Stadhuis in Rotterdam was evacuated on Tuesday afternoon after asbestos was released during construction work. The station is still completely closed and no subways are running through it. Rotterdam public transit company RET calls on travelers who were in the station on Tuesday to report to the company, RTL Nieuws reports.
Of the workers who left the construction sector after the economic crisis in 2008, only 15 percent returned to the sector before 2017, Statistics Netherlands reported on Thursday. Many found work in another industry. Another part retired or passed away in the meantime.
Staff shortages increased significantly in construction over the past years. In addition to material shortage, the need for construction workers is seen as the main obstacle to growth in the sector, according to the stats office.
Dutch construction trade association NVB wants all new homes built from next year to be built without a connection to the gas network. The association hopes that this will keep the playing field equal for all builders, chairman Piet Adema said to AD.
An exception should be made for houses for which contracts have already been signed, he added.
A massive amount of ammunition from the Second World War was found during construction work at a former primary school in Zwolle. The find included six boxes with around 10 thousand bullets and igniters for mines and hand grenades, NOS reports.
Construction workers discovered the ammunition while working on the sewer last week and called in Defense's explosive experts. The explosive experts called it a rare find. "It concerns French bullets of 8 millimeters that are still in their original packaging. The string of the packaging is even still around it."
A home collapsed in the Venlo city center on Wednesday afternoon. The resident, an elderly woman, managed to get out just in time. She has an angel on her shoulder, according to Venlo Mayor Antoin Scholten. "The woman still wanted to go into the house to take her coat, fortunately she did not do it", he said according to broadcaster NOS.
The Dutch government wants to start building new houses without a connection to the gas network starting this year.
The Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, already agreed that new homes should not be connected to the gas network. But the government thinks that this can be started sooner than the four years planned. On Thursday the coalition wants to arrange that average new homes are built without this connection, RTL Nieuws reports.
The Tax Authority's investigation service FIOD is investigating fraud with construction invoices at Schiphol airport. Several employees and former employees of the airport and external companies working for Schiphol are suspected of involvement, NRC reports.
The Public Prosecution Service confirmed to the newspaper that an investigation was launched into "passive and active bribery" and involvement in forgery. Ten to 15 people are being questioned as suspects and witnesses, NRC writes based on anonymous sources.
There is a rapidly increasing shortage in construction staff in the Netherlands, according to benefits agency UWV. There is a major need for carpenters, masons and installation engineers, as well as many vacancies for preparatory construction staff like jop preparers, ANP reports.
By next year the UWV expects an increase of 30 thousand jobs for construction workers. An increase of another 4 thousand jobs is also expected for freelancers.