The changes in French building market has in full swing after a large social debate (Le Grenelled’ Environnement) implemented by France ex-president Nicolas Sarkozie in 2007. As a result there is an ambitious sustainability plan in regard to energy saving, which also influences construction industry for the coming years in France. These changes are an opportunity for Baltic suppliers in the field of wood construction, energy efficient materials and construction products to show know-how in wooden construction building area as well as to become a preferred supplier.
French Building Sector Saves Energy
In France the building sector is accountable for about 40% of total energy consumed and 25% of greenhouse gas emissions. One of the main targets of the sustainability plan seeks to four times minimize all emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050 and thus consistently lowering the energy consumption in the building area.
Le Grenelled’ Environnement provides generalization of standards of low energy consumption in new housing and public building, as well as sets up incentives for the renovation of housing and heating systems. From January 2013 the low-energy house (Batiment Basse Consommation) regulation is in place with new demands for all new buildings to meet the energy efficiency regulations. It puts demands to decrease the energy saving of the buildings by three times from 150 to 50 kW/m2/year and in the framework of major renovations of building to 80 kWh/m2/year. In addition, the strategy defines that starting from 2020 the new buildings will not only be energy efficient but also Energy Positive (Batimenta energie positive) – meaning that buildings will also produce energy.
Representative of French Building Federation says: ”Grenelled’ Environnement is new regulations to meet the environment targets of France. Companies have to adapt themselves to these new requirements which mean new ways of building, new materials and new processes”.
Wood Construction Industry in France
Traditionally France has rich stone and brick building traditions and using wood in building is something new compared to long wood building tradition in the northern Europe. In France, the market share of wood in construction is now valued at 10% from total construction market. What is positive that it is a growing market segment by 2,5 times since 2008 and is estimated to grow 2-3% each year. French building industry includes around 2 466 wood working companies with total turnover of 3,9 billion euros in 2011. While analysing wood building market in France there are some interesting characteristics that describes it:
|-||Many new companies - More than one company out of two has less 10 years’ experience. Quarter has less than 5 years’ experience;|
|-||Localized market. 44% of companies work only in their region, a little bit more than one out of ten companies work in the whole French territory;|
|-||In France every year are built around 160 000 new dwellings, around 10% of them are built fromwood construction material, and this niche is growing;|
|-||75% from all wood building houses are timber frame houses;|
|-||When sourcing raw materials, 58% of companies use wood from foreign countries;|
You Need to Understand Your Customer
To work with the French market, a company needs to have a good overview of the market and local knowledge of requirements. “If you want to work in France, company has to know French building norms or, alternatively, have a local partner who runs the certification procedures and also ensures 10 year building insurance guarantee” confirms French Building Federation.
Possibilities for Baltic Companies
In general in France image about the Baltic states can be described as a blank page. Therefore it gives a possibility to prove that Baltic companies are reliable and high quality business partners with strong traditions of know-how in wood construction area. This, however, puts requirement for Baltic company to offer a high quality product, strong company’s brand, professional attitude and good knowledge about sales channels in France.
Authors: Lauma Ziemeļniece, Eva Brūna, GatewayBaltic
Picture: GatewayBaltic, Norway