Future Prospects for the Construction Materials Industry

Study Trip to Switzerland as Project Kick-off
In a cooperative and international project led by WIFO, sustainable perspectives for the Austrian construction materials industry are to be developed. In March 2019, a study trip to Switzerland took place to launch the project – to the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) and its innovation project "Next Evolution in Sustainable Building Technologies (NEST)".

In the construction and energy sectors, it is difficult to bring new technologies and products to market quickly. Low energy prices, long investment periods and many rules inhibit companies' willingness to take risks. Today, there is often a large gap between technologies that work in the laboratory and the market that demands reliable, mature products. NEST accelerates the innovation process by providing a platform for testing, improving and demonstrating what is new under real-world conditions.

The local inspection underlined the high innovation potential in the construction materials industry. "This industry will play a key role in all currently conceivable changes in the Austrian infrastructure, from buildings and mobility to the provision of energy. Numerous international initiatives are currently underway to sound out the future scope for action of energy-intensive industries. All in all, the Austrian construction materials industry could assume a leadership position by presenting its long-term perspectives and thereby strengthen its position both at home and abroad", explain Stefan Schleicher and Angela Köppl in their WIFO project description.

The visit was made possible by Heinz Felsner, President of the Chamber of Commerce of Switzerland-Austria-Liechtenstein (HKSÖL). The project "Innovativ – Zukunftsorientiert – Wettbewerbsfähig. Perspektiven für die österreichische Baustoffindustrie" (Innovative – Future-oriented – Competitive. Perspectives for the Austrian Construction Materials Industry) under the leadership of WIFO is implemented with national and international partners (Wegener Center, SustainServ, Centre for European Policy Studies).