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
The Executive Summary
The lesson learned from the DISCUS project: the Executive Summary.
Country Case Studies and Comparative Report
Country Case Studies have been carried out to analyse concrete experiences of industrial relations coping with digital and technological changes in the construction industry
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...
DISCUS WEBINAR – Slides available
The slides presented by the project's partners during the webinar of 5 March 2021 can be found in the download section of the website (resource no. 5).
A quantitative analysis of the European Construction sector Productivity, investment and competitiveness
This working paper edited by Fondazione Di Vittorio presents some stylized facts related to the “Construction sector” for EU 28 and the main European countries. The aim of this study is to provide a quantitative analysis of the sector, focusing on labor productivity,...
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...
The Discus project cited in Italian magazine
In this article, project manager Serena Rugiero explaines the Discus project's backgrounds and goals to the readers of Sindacato Nuovo, Fillea's official bulletin. Read the article (Italian)
Second Transnational Workshop – Rome, 23 January 2020 (UPDATE)
The construction supply chain is an emblematic case of the potential benefits and critical points of innovation in favor of the two major drivers of change in our economic and social model: the transition to sustainability and digitalization.
VET4LEC Inclusive Vocational Education and Training for Low Energy Construction
Final report of the European project “VET4LEC Inclusive Vocational Education and Training for Low Energy Construction”, dated February 2019.
First transnational workshop – Madrid
On 3 July 2019 the workshop “Digital transformation in the construction sector: challenges and opportunities” took place in Madrid. It was organized by the Fundación 1º de Mayo.
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