Price lists are too low in the face of the significant increase in the cost of raw materials and energy. And the construction cooperatives begin to desert the tenders for the award of public works provided for by the NRP. “They are not congruous and therefore are not even taken into consideration”, says Paolo Laguardia, head of construction co-ops in the Legacoop world. A galaxy of 440 cooperatives, 3 national consortia and 44 artisan consortia in cooperative form, among which giants such as Cmc di Ravenna and Cmb di Carpi stand out, developing a total turnover of around 6 billion.
Companies ready to leave
Companies ready to throw in the towel if the public administration does not update the calls for tenders, to adapt them to the increases that are putting companies in great difficulty. «With Anas it is possible to adjust prices – explains Laguardia -, the real problem is the local authorities, which do not have the resources to adjust the price lists. And already now about 50% of the works in the context of the NRP are likely to be out of the market ». The alarm comes from the national assembly of construction co-ops, gathered in Bologna. Assembly from which arises the request to the government to provide a basket of products at a controlled price, an adjustment of contracts and less cumbersome rules and bureaucracy.
Construction sites at risk of stop
Otherwise, the risk, the cooperative companies warn, is that of a stop at construction sites. Both due to the impossibility of honoring contracts due to the exponential increase in production costs, in the face of contracts acquired at economic conditions that are now considered unsustainable by companies. Both because the current scenario, born of the pandemic crisis and then of the war in Europe, jeopardizes the possibility of companies to participate in the PNRR tenders. Thus, the brilliant results achieved in 2021 by the construction sector, which after years of crisis have reversed course, risk being compromised. The co-ops operating in this field increased investments by 16.4%, while employment grew by 11.8%. Data of increase (overall + 20% compared to 2019) that have not been registered at Legacoop for twenty years.
Calming the prices of supplies
«Without a strong response in controlling the prices of supplies and a substantial adjustment of contracts, it is unlikely that it will be possible to put down the PNRR projects – continues Laguardia -. A provision is urgently needed to allow contracting authorities and companies to bridge the economic gap and avoid the suspension of the works ». Equally important, for cooperative enterprises, is the issue of the code of public contracts, whose reform, completed in 2016, did not lead to the objectives it had set according to the coop. Indeed, for Legacoop he would have introduced, in an already cumbersome system, purposes that overruled the main objective of the rules on public procurement: to carry out the works in the shortest possible time and with the best balance between costs and quality.