What were the top construction stories of 2022?
By Lewis Tyler26 December 2022
Acquisitions, new product launches and the break out of war in Ukraine all come to mind when thinking back on the biggest stories in construction in this year.
This was the year that we started to see a prolonged period of recovery from Covid, while also meeting and overcoming new challenges. As we enter the final weeks of the year, Construction Europe looks at the top stories from construction in 2022.
Top construction stories of 2022
10. €8bn Ellinkon smart city project moves a step closer
The €8 billion Ellinkon smart city project by real estate firm Lamda Development took a significant step forward in August when the company opened The Ellinkon Experience Centre in Athens, Greece.
Designed to highlight the magnitude of the smart city project, said to be the largest urban regeneration undertaking anywhere in Europe, the interactive Centre has been built on the site of the former Athens International Airport.
9. CE reveals top construction companies in Europe 2022
Construction Europe published its list of the Top 100 construction companies in Europe 2022.
France-based Vinci once again came out on top, and extended the lead from second placed Bouygues’ Construction Divisions in the process.
Three of the top five companies on the list are France-based, while only one company managed to break in to the top 10 this year, Spanish firm Acciona.
8. World’s largest directional drill launched
US-based utility firm Ditch Witch unveiled what it claims to be the largest directional drill in the world at Bauma.
The AT120, which will enable users to drill long, large diameter bores, comes with a Stage V Cummins engine, 533.8 kN of thrust and pullback and 21,015 Nm of rotational torque.
Ditch Witch says the machine will be rolled out globally in the future, and is particularly ideal for pipeline, oil field, gas, sewer and water work.
7. Volvo shows 22 tonne electric excavator
The first Volvo Days event to take place since Covid saw the company reveal its 22 tonne electric excavator the EC230.
The battery-electric machine runs on four 66kW lithium-ion batteries, which are said to enable it to reduce running costs by up to 70% when compared with its diesel-powered version.
Although currently unavailable commercially, the EC230 is undergoing testing before it officially launches.
6. Rolls-Royce SMR signs MoU with Škoda JS
Rolls-Royce SMR and Škoda JS will collaborate on the deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the Czech Republic and other parts of Central Europe after the respective companies signed a memorandum of understanding in September.
Rolls-Royce say the partnership will allow it to develop and deploy its own SMRs in the future, through the utilisation of ‘Škoda JS’ experience of producing pressurised water reactors,’ with which SMRs are based on.
5. Saint-Gobain sells UK brands
At the beginning of the year, Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland announced details of the sale of three of its UK-based brands.
The company finalised the sale of the distribution businesses, Neville Lumb, DHS and Bassetts, which specialise in plumbing, heating and sanitaryware products.
The sale of the companies to Wolseley UK was finalised in March. Following the completion of the transaction, Saint-Gobain also announced the respective companies were finalising the sale of its Ideal Bathrooms subsidiary, which concluded in February.
4. New Cat electric prototype machines revealed
Representing construction giant Caterpillar at Bauma was its German dealer Zeppelin, and at the trade show the company unveiled four elecrtric prototype machines.
These included the 20 tonne 320 medium electric excavator, 950 GC medium electric wheeled loader, 301.9 electric compact excavator and, 906 electric compact wheeled loader.
The machines are powered by Cat’s 48v, 300v and 600v lithium-ion batteries and, according to Product specialist Alan Davies, each model features on board charging capability.
The compact excavator and wheeled loader are expected to be launched in 2024, with no confirmation yet as to when the 950 GC and 320 will be available.
3. EU construction output to grow by 2.5% in 2022
Global economic analysis specialist ING released its EU Construction Outlook report for 2022 in February, which revealed a projected output growth of 2.5% for the year.
The company said that its findings revealed that business confidence at the beginning of 2022 was positive, and despite rising costs and material shortages, the EU construction sector could expect growth in 2022 and 2023.
However, the report was carried out before the breakout of war in Russia, which has impacted the sector and as a result, ING published new findings in September to reflect this.
2. Bauma returns
Having been delayed due to the pandemic, the aforementioned global trade show Bauma returned for the first time in three and a half years in Munich, Germany, in October.
Although visitor numbers were down on previous years, organiser Messe Munchen said nearly half a million visitors attended, with an array of construction equipment on show across the week-long event.
While there was plenty of diesel-powered machines on show at Bauma, this year saw electric machines take centre stage, with manufacturers keen to showcase the latest developments in environmentally-friendly machinery.
1. The impact of the Ukraine conflict on construction
When war broke out in Ukraine in late February, the repercussions were felt around the world. An already fragile supply chain was further impacted by the events, while prices of oil and gas rocketed as the news broke.
This was, of course, felt by the construction sector, with manufacturers relying on materials and oil and gas from Russia.
The initial response from many within the sector was to condemn the actions of Russia, and throughout the course of the next few weeks and months, companies such as Aggrekko, Dinolift, Hitachi Construction Machinery, Komatsu and JCB all ceased operations in Russia.
More recently, the EU confirmed it could seize €300 billion from the Russian Central Bank to rebuild Ukraine.