Thursday, 26 May 2022

Croatian Construction Industry Doomed to Import Labour Long-Term?

May the 26th, 2022 - Is the Croatian construction industry simply doomed to have to import foreign (non-EEA) labour as an attempted long-term strategy to keep things afloat?

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, there are fewer and fewer ''homegrown'' workers in the Croatian construction industry, and an increasing number of foreign workers on construction sites pose a number of challenges to the companies that hire them, according to the panel discussion "Challenges of the workforce" which was held in Zagreb recently.

Dragutin Kamenski, the director of the very well known company Kamgrad, pointed out that if the country successfully removed all other challenges that the Croatian construction industry is currently facing, and only the lack of manpower remaind, we'd still be in trouble.

A very complex process

"Now, the state has begun to take steps to facilitate labour migration, but it remains to be a very complex process because it requires additional efforts in bringing and introducing a new workforce to a particular company, as well as additional organisation and costs. As there is no additional base for recruiting labour here in Croatia, it's clear that in the long run we're doomed to importing foreign construction workers under any conditions,'' said Kamenski, adding that so far, they have had all kinds of situations with agencies that bring in foreign workers arise.

"Recently, a large number of agencies have appeared that bring in foreign labour, and time will show which ones are good and bring in high quality workers, and which aren't. If you end up with inadequate workers, it raises your costs and you're less competitive overall,'' Kamenski pointed out.

Based on his own many years of experience, he stated that in fact the best workers were those who did their training within large construction systems, and then eventually moved to smaller companies such as Kamgrad.

However, he is aware that is now rapidly becoming a thing of the past and that such workers no longer exist, and that now the focus should be on developing the Croatian construction industry's workers here in the country, and even more on selecting and introducing a foreign worker and then educating and introducing them to the whole process.

“Technical staff without knowledge of the Croatian language can only do a small range of work. We employ 10-15 trainees a year, of which only one or two remain,'' concluded Kamenski. Danijel Risek, the director of Hidroing, pointed out that they're a relatively small company that didn't have any major needs for the import of foreign labour, and what they did experience had a focus on nearby Kosovo.

“We're too small a company to go into the process of finding a workforce on our own, so we're referred to agencies. It's important to have a correct relationship with such agencies so that they know exactly what we need,'' said Risek. Stjepan Jagodin, the director of Pinoy385, a company specialising in the employment of Filipino workers, said that there are currently more than 300 agencies across the Republic of Croatia registered for employment mediation.

"An unregulated market leads to a situation where everyone comes to us, without any selections and conditions, and then the problem is that companies that hire such workers. In tourism, there are precise conditions that you must have and know in order to open an agency, and employment mediation can be done by anyone. That must be regulated urgently,'' Jagodin said.

Knowledge of the market

Ana Jadresin from the Manpower Group pointed out that it takes time for the market for mediation in the employment of foreign workers to be profiled. "Agencies that deal with employment mediation, be they domestic or foreign, must have a good knowledge of the market and the needs of their clients - what exactly companies need, what qualifications are necessary, what level of digital literacy there is, etc.

The problem is often that the client himself doesn't know what kind of workers he needs and what qualifications will be necessary, so it becomes difficult to meet their expectations. On the other hand, it's pointless to give unrealistic promises to foreign workers about a country with rivers full of milk and honey, because that only leads to frustration,'' stated Jadresin.

The issue faced by the Croatian construction industry isn't something new. The demographic crisis the country has been in for a very long time now has been a gradual drain on labour across all fields, even with the tourism sector, otherwise the country's strongest economic branch, also suffering tremendously. The Ministry of the Interior's infamously drawn out and draconian procedures often result in employers not getting work permits approved for their foreign staff in time, resulting in the dire need for a rethink.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Peljesac Bridge Construction Still Ongoing as Season Approaches

May the 15th, 2022 - The tourist season is rapidly approaching, and Peljesac bridge construction works are still ongoing, with some final things to tie up and one or two issues to solve yet.

As Morski/Andrej Jelusic writes, the height of the summer season is just around the corner, and the largest road investment in all of Croatia, Peljesac Bridge, is still being constructed to a certain degree, despite numerous encouraging announcements. We'll be waiting until mid-July for the Peljesac bridge construction to be entirely completed and for the structure to be open to traffic, but that won't really be the end.

With the arrival of summer temperatures across Croatia, the tourist season has unofficially begun. Since the global coronavirus pandemic severely impeded global travel for two years, there was a fear that Croatian tourism would also continue to experience a real fiasco, writes

Fortunately, that didn't happen. The reason is not some special campaign or vision of the Croatian Government but the country's very lucky position. More precisely, the fact that Croatia very close to large markets from where tourists came to us in previous years. The coronavirus pandemic has proven that people feel the safest when travelling by car, at least as far as this contagion is concerned. In other words, destinations to which people can drive on their own have benefited. Countries to which people usually fly suffered, and Dubrovnik, separated from the rest of Croatia by Bosnia and Herzegovina's only tiny piece of coastline (Neum), also suffered enormously.

Given the country's location and relatively good road network and connectivity, the past two summer tourist seasons have been better than expected. Road connectivity should be even better in the future, as well. The Istrian Y should get another lane, and the Ucka tunnel will be further improved. The most famous road project in the country is certainly the Peljesac Bridge construction, which will unite not only Croatian but EU territory, cutting out the BiH border crossing entirely.

The bridge will be there, but it will also be crowded...

Back in 2017, a tender was announced, and in 2018, Peljesac bridge construction began. The Republic of Croatia was granted 330m euros to finance 85 percent of the Peljesac bridge construction costs, and the bridge has been built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, which made a bid of 2 billion kuna, with a construction deadline of 36 months.

The works were slowed down by the coronavirus pandemic, but in July 2021, the last segment of the bridge was installed, and it was announced that the end of works on the bridge could be expected by the end of the year. At the beginning of 2022, the asphalt and other such equipment were installed on the huge structure, and a test load of the bridge was performed, which is why 21 trucks weighing up to 40 tonnes arrived at the Peljesac bridge construction site.

The problem has been the access roads with several viaducts and tunnels. The biggest challenge was the 485-metre-long Ston Bridge. Its specificity is that it will connect two tunnels above the Ston Bay, Polakovica, which is 1242 metres long, and Supava, which is 1290 metres long. The bridge has five pillars and two abutments, and is 40 metres high.

Ston Bridge has now been connected, but there is still a lot of work to be done on that section. A concrete slab is now to be built, which could take about four months, so that sometime in the autumn, perhaps come October or November, these works might also be completed.

When will Peljesac bridge actually be opened?

Peljesac bridge has passed a technical inspection and will be opened along with 20 kilometres of access roads in July this year. The other 10 kilometres of access roads and the Ston bypass will be completed by the end of the year. There will be a total of 32 kilometres of new state road, of which 25 should be ready by July the 15th. Unofficial information as to when the bridge will be open to the public is mid-July this year. Minister of Transport Oleg Butkovic was a little more specific and announced the opening on July the 15th to the 17th.

According to the contract, the workers of the aforementioned Chinese contractor will remain on the construction site until the commissioning of the Peljesac bridge with its accompanying access roads and the complete demobilisation and arrangement of the Peljesac bridge construction site. The contractor of the access roads is the Austrian company Strabag.

The suspended bridge spans a total length of 2404 metres with six main pillars and thirteen spans of steel which are 72 to 285 metres long, and was designed by Marjan Pipenbacher from the Slovenian company Ponting at a height of 55 metres. This was due to a request from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina so that the unimpeded passage of ships to Neum could be met.

For more, make sure to check out our lifestyle section.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Central State Office Agrees Construction Of 216 Substitute Houses In Banovina

ZAGREB, 5 May 2022 - The Central State Office for Reconstruction and Housing has agreed on the construction of 216 substitute family houses at 43 locations in the earthquake-struck Banovina region, the Office said in a statement on Thursday.

The office said that 59 contracts, worth a total of HRK 180 million (€24m), were signed for this purpose with 11 contractors.

Also agreed was the removal of 150 damaged family houses, which would cost HRK 14.12 million (€1.88m) and would be carried out by 12 companies.

The office has so far repaired 2,354 family houses and 910 houses are being repaired. HRK 92.89 (€12.4m) million has been spent on non-structural reconstruction and 44 companies have been hired for this purpose. It has also received 606 decisions on structural reconstruction from the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets.

For more, check out our politics section.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Croatia Introducing German DGNB Certification For Sustainable Construction

ZAGREB, 5 Oct, 2021 - An NGO called Croatia Green Building Council on Tuesday signed an agreement with the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), a Stuttgart-based non-profit organisation, on the DGNB system for certification of sustainable buildings, building interiors and districts.

The DGNB Certification System, a second-generation system compared to other international certification systems, includes assessment which revolves around ecological aspects, DGNB says.

DGNB-certified buildings consume fewer resources during construction, have lower greenhouse gas emissions and largely can be recycled.

The DGNB director, Christine Lemaitre, said today in Zagreb after the agreement-signing ceremony that she was glad to see that Croatian partners opted for promoting the DGNB system.

The head of the Croatian NGO, Dean Smolar, explained that the system was adjusted to EU regulations and the Life Level(s) project which is being implemented by the Croatia Green Building Council.

To date, over 8,200 public and private buildings and districts in 27countries worldwide have acquired DGNB certificates.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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.

 For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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%.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

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.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Volume of Construction Work in March Up 16% Year-Over-Year

ZAGREB, 26 May, 2021 - The volume of construction work in March 2021 was 16% higher than in March 2020, while compared to the previous month, it dropped by 0.4%, show preliminary data from the Croatian Bureau of Statistics.

March was the tenth consecutive month with a year-on-year increase in the volume of construction work.

The volume of construction work on buildings in March this year was 16.5% up from March 2020 while the volume of work on other structures rose 15.3%.

Compared to February 2021, construction work on buildings in March was up 0.5% and on other structures it was 3.9% higher.

For more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page


Monday, 29 March 2021

Metković to Dubrovnik: Most Expensive Section of Highway being Built, EUR 26m per Kilometre

March 29, 2021 - From Metković to Dubrovnik, 47 kilometers of full-profile motorways and another 14.7 km of connecting roads will be built. The works' estimated value is 9.1 billion kunas or 1.2 billion euros, Večernji List writes on Monday. 

This makes this section the most expensive highway in Croatia - a kilometer will cost about 26 million euros, or about 193 million kunas, according to Večernji List. The construction should be completed by 2029.

HAC explains that after obtaining the location permit, contracting the development of the main and detailed projects and obtaining the construction permits will follow. The planned start of construction is 2024, and the works should be completed by 2029.

The highway project from Metković to Dubrovnik is divided into two sections. The first section is the Metković - Pelješac - Duboka junction, about 22 km long, which includes the construction of 17.5 kilometers of motorways from Metković to the Pelješac junction and 4.45 km of highway from the Pelješac to the Duboka junction.

The second section goes from the Rudine junction to the Osojnik junction, and it includes the expressway from the Ston junction to the Doli junction (5.5 km) and the connecting road Slano junction to DC8 (4.7 km). The motorway section from the Rudine junction to the Osojnik junction is 29.5 kilometers long, and it includes the construction of the connection of the Rudine junction to the existing road network.

These two sections of the motorway will continue on the access expressways on Pelješac and the Pelješac Bridge.

The highway construction from Metković to Dubrovnik will be the most expensive so far due to the numerous facilities on it and access roads and junctions. According to the project task, which is part of the tender documentation, on the route of the first section, which is 17.5 kilometers long on the left side of the highway, there are as many as 12,850 meters of facilities, which is 73 percent of the total length of the route. On the right side of that section is 67 percent of the total route length.

On the second section, 27.5 km long, there are 13,575 meters of facilities on the left side, which is 49 percent of the route's total length. On the right side, the total length of facilities is 14,345 meters, 52 percent of the total route length, reports Večernji list.

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Friday, 5 March 2021

The Croatian Bureau of Statistics: Value of Construction Work Done in 2020 Up 6.8%

ZAGREB, 5 March, 2021 - The value of construction work done by companies with at least 20 employees in 2020 rose by 6.8% from 2019, while at the same time the value of new orders fell by 6.9%, the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS) said on Friday. 

The value of construction work done last year was HRK 27.1 billion, of which HRK 19.1 billion worth of work was performed by companies' own workers and HRK 8 billion worth by subcontractors. The value of new orders was HRK 21.4 billion.

The structure of the work carried out by own workers shows that 30.8% of the work done related to non-residential buildings, 34% to transport infrastructure, 17% to pipelines, communication and energy lines, and 15% to residential buildings.

In the last quarter of 2020, the value of construction work was 3.7% higher than in the same period in 2019, while the value of new orders fell by 19.5%. The value of the work done in Q4 2020 totalled HRK 7.42 billion, of which HRK 5.24 billion accounted for the work done by own workers and HRK 2.17 billion for the work performed by subcontractors.

The value of new orders in the fourth quarter of last year was HRK 5.38 billion, of which HRK 2.47 billion accounted for buildings and HRK 2.84 billion for other structures.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

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