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

Julien Cayet

Value Proposition Leader Business Advisory Europe +31 620 447 416 Ask me a question

Download the full report (pdf)

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.”

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Julien Cayet

Value Proposition Leader Business Advisory Europe +31 620 447 416 Ask me a question