Sunday, 10 July 2022

Action Plan for Construction and Demolition Waste to be Adopted in Autumn

ZAGREB, 10 July 2022 - An action plan for construction and demolition waste is to be adopted in the autumn, and this has been chosen as a priority for efforts to switch to the circular economy, the head of the sustainable waste management department in Croatia's economy ministry says in an interview with Hina.

The official Sanja Radović has told Hina in the interview published on Sunday that the preparation of the five-year action plan for the circular economy has been supported by the World Bank.

Recently, a committee for the circular economy has been set up.

According to Radović, as much as 70% of the construction and demolition waste can be re-used and recycled.

Construction and demolition waste has been selected as a priority also because of the 2020 devastating earthquakes in Zagreb and Sisak-Moslavina County, which also resulted in higher quantities of building debris.

Construction and demolition waste management is also within the remit of local authorities that are supposed to introduce an organised system.

The units of local authorities are supposed to determine drop-off locations where construction and demolition debris can be disposed and choose waste sorting and recycling tools for that purpose.

Sorted construction waste can be reused in the construction industry.

In the quake-hit Banovina area in Sisak-Moslavina County this process is already applied, and the City of Zagreb is expected to start doing that in the autumn.

Currently, Croatia sorts out 35% of all the waste, said Radović.

The aim of the circular economy is to reduce the quantity of non-recycled waste to the lowest possible level.

(Hina) ms

Saturday, 7 May 2022

Value of Construction Work in Zagreb in 2021 Up By Over 20%

ZAGREB, 7 May 2022 - The value of construction work and new orders in Zagreb increased by over 20% in 2021 compared with the previous year, according to data provided by the city's statistics office.

Last year, the value of construction work carried out by own workers was HRK 7.5 billion, which is an increase of 22.8% from 2020 when it amounted to HRK 6.1 billion.

By type of construction work, 70.7% of the value of the work done accounted for newbuilds and 29.3% for other works, including reconstruction, repairs and maintenance.

By type of structures, the value of work done on traffic infrastructure was slightly less than HRK 3 billion, accounting for 39.5% of the total value. The value of work on non-residential buildings was HRK 2.15 billion (28.7%), the value of work on residential buildings was HRK 1.2 billion (16.5%), while the value of work on other structures was HRK 1.1 billion (15.3%).

A total of 789 building permits were issued in 2021, up by 6.6% from 2020. Most of them, 676 or 85.7%, were issued for the construction of buildings and 113 or 14.3% for other structures.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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Saturday, 9 April 2022

Croatian Construction Companies Need 20,000 More Workers for Reconstruction

ZAGREB, 9 April 2022 - Croatian construction companies are accumulating losses because of the continued rise in input costs and are wondering whether the situation will escalate to such an extent that they will no longer be able to operate.

For the post-earthquake reconstruction of buildings alone, construction companies need about 20,000 more workers, who are nowhere in sight now.

Hina asked construction companies and institutions how they saw the present situation in their sector, how they were coping with increased prices of material and fuel, whether they would be able to deliver on the contracts signed without incurring losses, and how many workers they were short of.

The Kamgrad company said that construction businesses were piling up losses by the day as prices of material, fuel and energy had risen by more than 50% compared to prices at the bidding stage.

"Unless the present situation changes and the government promptly takes specific economic measures to help construction companies overcome these unusual disruptions to the market and maintain the stability of their operation, it is only a matter of time before the situation will escalate to such an extent that construction companies will no longer be able to meet their obligations," Kamgrad's management said.

That would result in a total collapse of the already decimated construction sector and suspension of the majority of current projects, they added.

Considering the ongoing projects and planned investments announced by both private and public contractors, construction companies should have more than enough work in the coming years. However, it is questionable whether these projects will be carried out given that the latest estimates show that Croatia lacks more than 10,000 construction workers.

"About 30,000 foreign construction workers are currently employed in Croatia, alongside 70,000 domestic workers. In addition to workers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are traditionally present on the Croatian construction market and whose number is unfortunately decreasing, there are more and more workers from Albania, Kosovo, Nepal, India, the Philippines and other remote countries," Kamgrad said.

Mirela Gudan of the Croatian Employers' Association said that the construction sector had been left without a significant contingent of domestic workers following the 2008 crisis because they emigrated to more developed European countries.

Gudan noted that in recent years foreign labour had been coming from remote countries, and that the cost of hiring a foreign worker was double the cost of hiring a domestic worker. She said that the present laws were damaging to the construction sector and state budget because they prevented the sector's development, which was also important for the reconstruction of building damaged in the 2020 earthquakes.

Mirjana Čagalj, Vice-President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for Construction and Transport, said that Croatian construction companies currently had about 100,000 workers, which was not enough.

She said there had been a shortage of skilled labour for several years now, ever since the sector had started to see growth, and the COVID-19 pandemic had only made labour imports more difficult and expensive. Croatian companies dealt with this problem by importing workers from non-EU countries.

"The scale of the problem can be seen in the fact that around 28,000 construction workers were imported in 2020, which is over 80 per cent of the foreign labour quota. Over 23,000 were imported in 2019, and in 2018 the quota was fulfilled," said Čagalj.

It is estimated that further demand for construction labour will grow in light of the post-earthquake reconstruction of Zagreb and the Banovina region.

"According to our estimates, we will need 20,000 workers for all the areas affected by the earthquakes, depending on the pace of reconstruction. The shortage of labour will partly be offset by an increased price of labour in the construction sector, which may attract new people and create conditions for the return of our workers who left for the West in search of work and better living conditions. Since the reconstruction process will take years, we expect a certain number of people will return. At the same time, we need to work on creating as many skilled workers in our schools as possible," Čagalj said.

Last year, 10,553 building permits were issued, which is 12.2 per cent more than in 2020. The expected value of works for which the permits were issued is HRK 32 billion, up from 28 billion in 2020.

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Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Construction Minister Candidate From HDZ By Week's End, Says Deputy PM

ZAGREB, 22 Feb 2022 - Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved said on Tuesday the HDZ would nominate a construction minister candidate from its ranks by the end of the week because some ruling coalition partners did not accept the idea to nominate Stjepan Čuraj of the Croatian People's Party.

The first item on the agenda was the partners' position on relations within the coalition, Medved told the press after talks with the coalition partners on a candidate for the minister of physical planning, construction and state assets after Darko Horvat was relieved of duty on Saturday.

Medved said the coalition was stable and firm and that the partners unanimously supported the prime minister and the government in their work and programme.

Regarding the initial proposal that Čuraj be the new minister, Medved said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković's idea was to make a gesture towards the liberal coalition partners given the successful cooperation in the coalition and that Čuraj, as state secretary at the Finance Ministry, was an active member of the Banovina post-earthquake reconstruction task force.

Medved said the goal was to appoint a new construction minister in the shortest time possible in order to intensify the post-earthquake reconstruction.

He said the coalition partners would support the HDZ candidate the prime minister would nominate for the office.

Medved did not say explicitly if parliament would vote on the candidate on Friday, saying that Plenković would hold consultations tomorrow with several HDZ officials involved in the selection process, and that everything would be done for the new minister to be appointed as soon as possible.

He said the appointment of the new minister would "certainly freshen up, that is reinforce" the Construction Ministry.

Medved also said the ministry would intensify cooperation with the Central State Reconstruction and Housing Office and the Zagreb Reconstruction Fund to "intensify the reconstruction process."

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Construction Union Condemns Lay-offs After Workers Contacted Union

ZAGREB, 19 Feb 2022 - The labour union of construction workerss (SGH) on Saturday condemned the fact that workers in two Turkish companies working on the reconstruction of the Križevci-Koprivnica railway had been laid off simply because they had contacted the union who informed them of their rights.

"Two Turkish companies engaged in the reconstruction of the Križevci-Koprivnica railway line, laid off a group of workers on Thursday simply because they had a brief meeting with the SGH who had informed the workers of their rights pertaining to the collective agreement in construction and providing them with leaflets during their lunch break," the union said in a press release.

The union added that workers received their notice via a text message without any explanation.

The Turkish companies Cengiz Insaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S. and Ci-Ay Mühendislik, landed  contracts for the railway reconstruction by HŽ Infrastruktura railway management company for a price that is higher than the construction of Pelješac Bridge.

"This type of penalising workers because of their contact with the union is the vilest breach of union rights that are guaranteed by Croatian and international law," SGH said.

The union said that during the meeting with workers they were informed that some provisions of the collective agreement were being grossly violated because workers were working between 250 and 300 hours a month, meaning overtime in aggravating circumstances yet they were not additionally paid and that they were also not being paid for sick leave.

The union has called for an urgent response by the State Inspectorate but also the ministry of transport, and HŽ Infrastruktura as the investor.



Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Construction of First 30 Prefab Replacement Houses Begins

ZAGREB, 8 Feb 2022 - The head of the post-earthquake reconstruction task force, Deputy Prime Minister Tomo Medved, on Tuesday informed the ruling coalition partners about the status of works in the quake-hit Banovina region.

After the meeting, the vice president of the ruling HDZ party, Branko Bačić, said the construction of the first 30 prefab replacement houses had begun.

This week the construction of another 30 brick houses will also begin, he said, adding that tenders and public procurement will now be continuous, giving reconstruction in Banovina a big momentum.

Regarding reconstruction that does not involve seismic retrofitting, Bačić said that Medved informed them that 1,332 houses had been rebuilt and that it was now the turn for another 1,000.

The goal is to give a roof over the head of every Banovina inhabitant by the end of the year so that they don't welcome next winter in inappropriate conditions, he said.

Also, Bačić dismissed accusations from the opposition Bridge party that the government was stalling the verification of signatures it collected for a referendum against COVID certificates.

"It's in the interest of us in the ruling majority, too, to have the number of signatures checked as soon as possible," he said.

The proposal of the parliamentary committee on the constitution on the two referendum petitions will be debated at a plenary on Thursday and only when parliament votes on it can the government begin verifying the signatures, he added.

MPs will also debate the possibility that representatives of the two referendum petitions monitor the signature counting and verification.

Friday, 3 September 2021

Construction of Family Houses in Earthquake-Hit Areas to Start on 1 November

ZAGREB, 3 Sept 2021 - The Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing will on Friday publish a tender for the construction of family houses, which is the first step in the structural reconstruction of houses in Sisak-Moslavina County, hit by a strong earthquake on 29 December 2020, Večernji List daily said on Friday.

Interested contractors will be able to apply over the next 30 days, with bids that fit one of the two envisaged models of construction - prefabricated or classically built houses, and the contracting procedure and construction work is expected to start on 1 November, Gordan Hanžek, State Secretary at the Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing told the daily.

He explained that houses would be rebuilt mostly on land plots owned by people whose properties were destroyed or damaged beyond repair in the earthquake.

"There are more than 1,000 such properties in the entire earthquake-hit area," Hanžek said, adding that houses for two-member households would have an area of 55 square metres, those for three or four-member households would measure 70 square metres and those for households with five or more members 85 square metres, in line with the Reconstruction Act.

He noted that the duration of construction work would depend on the type of house chosen.

This will help provide accommodation, in a foreseeable time, for people currently staying in housing containers, Hanžek said, noting that currently 4,776 people were staying in 14 container settlements but that there were also 2,195 housing containers located by earthquake victims' homes, Večernji List said.

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Thursday, 26 August 2021

Volume of Construction Work Up in June, Rising For 13 Months in Row

ZAGREB, 26 Aug 2021 - The volume of construction work carried out in Croatia in June 2021 rose 11.3% compared with June 2020, and it went up 2.1% as against May 2021, according to data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) on Thursday.

June was the 13th consecutive month to see the rise in the volume of construction work on an annual level.

Year on year, the volume of construction work to buildings increased by 11.6% and the volume of construction work to other structures grew by 10.8%.

Month on month, the volume of construction work to buildings rose by 3.4%, while the volume of construction work to other structures increased by two percent.

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Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS): Volume of Construction Work up 16% in May, Rising For 12 Months in Row

ZAGREB, 21 July, 2021 - The volume of construction work carried out in Croatia in May 2021 rose 15.9% compared with May 2020, and it fell by 0.1% compared with April 2021, according to data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) on Wednesday.

May was the 12th consecutive month to see the rise in the volume of construction work on an annual level.

Year on year, the volume of construction work to buildings increased by 18% and the volume of construction work to other structures grew by 13%. Month on month, the volume of construction work to buildings fell by 0.3%, while the volume of construction work to other structures decreased by 0.9%.

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021

9% More Building Permits Issued in May

ZAGREB, 13 July, 2021 - In May 2021, 835 building permits were issued, which was 9% more than in May 2020, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

By types of constructions, 82.6% of the permits were issued for buildings and 17.4% for civil engineering works, up by 9.3% and 7.4% on the year respectively.

The permits issued in May 2021 envisaged almost HRK 3 billion worth of construction works, up by 12.7% on the year.

Based on the types of construction works, 75.8% of the permits were issued for new constructions and 24.2% for reconstructions.

The permits issued in May 2021 envisage the construction of 1,583 flats.

In the first five months of 2021, 4,931 building permits were issued, up 21.3% on the year, envisaging HRK 12.64 billion worth of construction works, up 21.1% from January-May 2020.

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