Digital Transformation in the Construction Sector:
challenges and opportunities

A European Union co-funded research project (VS/2019/0078)

DISCUS aims to analyse Digital transformations in the Construction Sector, 
to strengthen the role and contribution of innovative industrial relations structures, including social dialogue.


The DISCUS project (Digital Transformation in the construction sector: challenges and opportunities) aims to analyse and to strengthen the role and contribution of innovative industrial relations structures, including social dialogue, in responding to the major challenges and opportunities brought by digitalisation and technological changes in the construction sector to guarantee better environmental and social conditions for the workers and citizens of the European Union.


Construction is one of the biggest industrial sectors of the EU economy

  • 9% of EU GDP
  • Around 18 million workers
  • Multiplying effect of the demand for building
  • 40% of EU energy consumption
  • 36% of total green-gas emissions
  • 233 million residential and commercial buildings
  • Circular economy

Over the last few years the construction sector has been revolutionized by important drivers of change that are simultaneously at play:

  • The transition to a sustainable construction in a low carbon economy.
  • The evolution of technologies and digitalisation that has an impact on all the construction processes.

Digitalization and technological change, and their combining with social and environmental issues, are major challenges for industrial relations and social dialogue in Europe.

Digitalization permeates every aspect of the construction sector.

The topic of digitalisation and technological innovation has been analysed in the manufacture sector in several studies but there is a lack of in-depth analysis and data collection for the construction sector especially as regards the role of industrial relations.


Research at national level and at European level related to:

  • the transformations taking place in production cycles oriented towards digitalization and technological innovation in the construction sector and their impact on the labour market, work organisation and working conditions, sectoral level, territorial level and proper transition;

  • the role of industrial relations and social dialogue for digitalisation and technological innovation to identify the most relevant practices and experiences at all levels: European, national, sectoral, regional levels well as at company level.

The desk research for the preliminary report and the national reports are based on the consultation of documentary sources and an analysis of secondary data.

A qualitative survey at national level will be carried out to identify the most relevant practices and experiences of industrial relations at all levels: European, national and local, as well as at company level (Interviews & Case studies).

Workshops at national and European level and a Final European Conference will enable the exchange of knowledge, a comparison between different experiences in the partners’ countries of the project and mutual learning.


The Discus project will cover six EU Countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, with different industrial relation systems in order to assure an international comparison as a key aspect of the project.


The Discus project has been promoted by Fondazione Giuseppe Di Vittorio (Italy).

All the research partners are internationally recognised as players with knowledge of the industrial relations community.

Most of them are closely linked to trade union organisations in their respective countries as well as at EU level. Partners of the DISCUS action have solid experience with EU projects.


The Discus project will last 
24 months as of March 2019.

news and events

Final conference

Final conference

The final conference of the Discus Project will take place online on Monday 25 October. The event will be organised around presentations of the main findings of the Discus project, with round tables of experts, unions and employers' representatives. Please register...

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DISCUS WEBINAR “Presentations of the case studies”

DISCUS WEBINAR “Presentations of the case studies”

The webinar will take place on 5 March 2021 from 9:00 am to 2 pm CET This third transnational and virtual conference will be organised around presentations of the case studies related to experiences of digitalisation in the construction sector of national importance...

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Need more information?

We will update information about the ongoing project “DISCUS” but if you have some specific questions, feel free to get in touch with us.

Any personal data will be processed according to the EU data protection rules (namely “The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR)”).

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