The construction sector in Latvia, just like the EU and global construction industry, is undergoing significant changes. In 2014, the construction sector represented 6.8 % of GDP. There are new requirements relating to environmental protection, energy efficiency, heritage preservation, and adaptation to modern society.
Latvian construction companies have proven their competitiveness in foreign markets and work well in different scales, ranging from general construction to specific installation works. Latvian manufacturers are also well known for the high quality and price competitiveness of their construction materials.
The most notable increase in construction and repairs, when compared to 2013, was recorded in the construction of schools, universities and research institutions (89 %), wholesale and retail trade buildings, petrol stations (28 %) and local pipelines and cable lines (26 %).
Structure of Construction Production
Most of the Latvian construction production in 2014 consisted of building engineering structures (49 %) and non-residential buildings (38 %). Construction of residential buildings in 2014 represented 14 %.
Export of Construction Services in 2014
In 2014, the largest export market for construction service providers was Lithuania (51 %). A large portion of Latvian constructors drive their export activities in the direction of Scandinavian countries – Sweden (17 %) and Norway (6 %).
MANUFACTURING OF BUILDING MATERIALS
Most companies producing building materials use local natural resources, mostly mineral materials such as dolomite, limestone, and clay. The main product groups are inert materials, concrete, reinforced concrete, cement, heat-insulation materials, lime and dolomite materials, gypsum products, ceramic materials, silicate and anticorrosion materials, glass-fiber products, dry mixtures, aerated concrete, construction chemicals, and metal fittings. In 2014, the total turnover of non-metal mineral production was EUR 467 million. The largest number of producers of building materials was engaged in concrete, cement, and gypsum products manufacturing (142) and cutting, shaping and finishing of stone (138); 51 companies were manufacturing glass products; and 59 manufactured various porcelain and ceramic products.
Turnover of Non-metal Mineral Production
In 2014, there were around 400 companies in Latvia producing non-metallic mineral construction materials and employing 5,000 employees.
FOREIGN TRADE OF BUILDING MATERIALS
The main construction material exports groups are ceramic building materials, concrete products, cement and gypsum products, and glass products. Starting in 2009, Latvian exports of construction materials experienced constant growth, and continue to grow today.
Foreign Trade of Building Materials
In 2014 the largest export markets for construction materials are Germany (19 %), Sweden (14 %), Lithuania (12 %), Estonia (9 %), and Russia (8 %).