• November 28, 2016

Press release: European nations lagging behind in productivity of buildings and infrastructure, Arcadis study finds

Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Germany have highest yield per capita in Europe; Under average score for Belgium and Russia

Jochem Binst

Head of External Communications Europe +32 471 20 26 79 Ask me a question


-          Buildings and infrastructure contribute 40% to global GDP

-          China generates the most GDP from its built assets

-          Germany leads in Europe at US$1 trillion returns of its built assets, followed by Turkey at US$807 billion and France at US$ 794 billion

-          Netherlands European Champion in return per capita; majority of European countries book intercomparable results; Belgium and Russia score far under par

(Monday 28 November 2016) China generates the highest returns to its economy from built assets – followed by the US, India, and Japan – according to the 2016 Global Built Asset Performance Index released today by Arcadis, the leading global Design and Consultancy for natural and built assets.  European countries on average score weak, with Germany, Turkey and France as notable exceptions.

The index, developed in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), examines the income generated by buildings, infrastructure and other fixed assets – homes, schools, roads, airports, power plants, malls, railways, ports and all other fixed assets – across 36 countries that collectively represent 78 percent off global GDP.

Julien Cayet, Global Business Advisory Leader, Arcadis said “Governments and private sector organizations around the world continue to invest in buildings and infrastructure to drive economic growth. This report seeks to quantify the combined value that these bring to national GDP. We can clearly see that European nations are seeing a slowdown in its contribution as their economies diversify to service industries. In addition, their infrastructure is aging.  European countries need to better understand how built assets can stimulate their economies.”

Ranking European countries by overall built asset income (US$)

1 (7) Germany                                      $1 trillion

2 (9) Turkey                                          $807 billion

3 (10) France                                        $794 billion

4 (11) UK                                                $718 billion

5 (13) Italy                                             $659 billion

6 (14) Spain                                           $593 billion

7 (15) Russia                                          $545 billion

8 (20) Poland                                        $398 billion

9 (26) Netherlands                               $230 billion

10 (31) Sweden                                    $127 billion

11 (33) Switzerland                              $103 billion

12 (34) Belgium                                    $75 billion

13 (35) Denmark                                  $68 billion


Size matters in the ranking of countries by overall built asset income. This explains the relatively good ranking of Germany, Turkey and France. Nevertheless, even those large economies are dwarfed by the results of China ($10.4 billion overall built asset income in 2016), the USA ($5.4 billion) and India ($3.6 billion).

Ranking European countries by built asset income per capita

1 (9) The  Netherlands                        $13,554.31

2 (10) Sweden                                      $12,938.22

3 (11) Spain                                           $12,873.53

4 (12) Germany                                    $12,492.53

5 (13) Switzerland                                $12,333.54

6 (14) France                                        $12,272.03

7 (15) Denmark                                    $12,080.77

8 (17) UK                                                $11,041.58

9 (20) Italy                                             $10,373.17

10 (21) Poland                                      $10,335.85

11 (22) Turkey                                      $10,130.48

12 (27) Belgium                                    $  6,602.03

13 (33) Russia                                       $  3,801,94

While The Netherlands succeed in occupying a Top-10 position in the ranking per capita, most European countries are average performers. Belgium is a negative surprise, certainly in comparison with its neighbors Germany, France and The Netherlands, whose built asset income per capita is roughly double of the Belgian yield. Topping the global list are Qatar , the UAE and Singapore, with Hong Kong on a fourth place.

Cayet continues: “Europe has to deliver better economic results for aging assets. Investors, asset owners, asset operators and policy makers need to explore new ways to boost asset productivity. New technologies and business models can help countries. Stronger investments in built assets, including housing, schools, offices, rail infrastructure, waterways, roads, bridges and water ways, are truly necessary to rejuvenate the Old Continent’s economic prowess.”

Download the full report (pdf)

For further information please contact Jochem Binst, Head of External Communications Europe at Arcadis

+32 471 20 26 79 – jochem.binst@arcadis.com

Notes to Editor:

The US$36.1 trillion figure is based on the collective built asset income of the following 36 countries: Australia; Belgium; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China; Denmark; Egypt; France; Germany; Ghana; Hong Kong; India; Indonesia; Italy; Iran; Japan; Malaysia; Mexico; Netherlands; Philippines; Poland; Qatar; Russia; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Africa; South Korea; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Thailand; Turkey; UAE; UK; and USA. For the purpose of this research, built asset performance is measured by two quantities: the total stock of assets, and the total return from assets. The ratio between them can be seen as the return on built assets in that economy. If the return, expressed as a share of GDP, is relatively high compared to the average, while the stock of assets is about average for an economy of that size, then built asset performance is above average In order to compare the relative value of assets appraised in different currencies, a Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) measure is used to account for the sometimes significant variation between price levels across countries and to correct for currency fluctuations.

About Arcadis

Arcadis is the leading global Design & Consultancy firm for natural and built assets. Applying our deep market sector insights and collective design, consultancy, engineering, project and management services we work in partnership with our clients to deliver exceptional and sustainable outcomes throughout the lifecycle of their natural and built assets. We are 27,000 people active in over 70 countries that generate €3.4 billion in revenues. We support UN-Habitat with knowledge and expertise to improve the quality of life in rapidly growing cities around the world.  www.arcadis.com

About Cebr

Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) is an independent consultancy with a reputation for sound business advice based on thorough and insightful research. Since 1992, Cebr has been at the forefront of business and public interest research. They provide analysis, forecasts and strategic advice to major multinational companies, financial institutions, government departments, agencies and trade bodies.  For more information visit www.cebr.com

Questions about this news

Jochem Binst

Head of External Communications Europe +32 471 20 26 79 Ask me a question