Setting up your own business in the construction sector is not something you can do in a snap. Construction trades require specific skills, which you can acquire thanks to the initiatives, training and support structures that exist in the Brussels-Capital Region. A series of incentives are also available to make it easier to start up a business in this sector. We explain it all in this article!
Becoming self-employed in the construction sector
If you are considering self-employment in construction or any other sector, you will need to demonstrate basic management skills. This is commonly referred to as access to management.
In addition, construction is one of the regulated professions in Brussels. So you will also have to prove that you have skills in the sector in which you intend to work (carpentry, plumbing/sanitation, roofing, structural work, etc.). Consult the Brussels Economy and Employment website to check the professional conditions and skills (FR) required for each construction speciality. This is commonly referred to as access to the profession.
You will see that access to the profession is required for activities under the following headings:
- structural work
- ceiling installation, cementing and screeding
- tiles, marble and natural stone
- roofing and waterproofing
- installation or repair of carpentry and glazing
- general carpentry
- finishings (e.g. painting)
- central heating, gas, air conditioning, sanitary facilities (plumbing)
- electrotechnical activities
- general contractor
This applies both to new activities (if you become self-employed) and to registrations of additional activities (if you add a construction-related activity to your existing activities).
Please carefully read the conditions, the possible exceptions and the steps to be taken.
Contact a business counter for specific questions regarding access to management or to the profession.
Training courses in the construction sector
- Bruxelles Formation
- Pole Académique de Bruxelles lists the institutions offering a vocational Bachelor's degree in construction
- Embuild lists specific training courses for professionals in the sector (e.g. working at heights, asbestos treatment, basic safety, sorting on construction sites, etc.).
- Buildcircular.brussels : specific training for professionals in the sector wanting to acquire new sustainable practices (e.g. natural plasters, natural paints, waterproofing)
Where can you find more information?
Construcity.brussels : Construcity.brussels is the Training and Employment Agency (PFE) of the construction industry in Brussels. It is the point of contact for information, guidance and a sustainable career in construction. Its mission is threefold: to guide learners and job seekers, to link education and business, and to encourage job creation.
Embuild : Belgian construction association that defends the interests of its members with the various authorities, informs the construction sector about regulatory developments and promotes the construction sector and its positive image. The Confédération de la Construction has become Embuild (since September 2022) to better reflect its activities and the wide range of construction techniques (not just home building). In Brussels, contact Embuild.brussels.
Siep provides information on the content of any type of trade and the training it requires
Where to find support or coaching?
As such, the general support structures for entrepreneurship are perfectly equipped to help you structure your ideas and create a business plan.
Or you can also receive support dedicated to the building and construction trades, for example in Brussels: JobYourself Baticrea
Baticrea is dedicated to supporting the manual professions: building and construction, decoration and interior design, green professions (market gardening, garden maintenance, etc.), and crafts (ceramics, leather work, etc).
It offers advice, coaching, and administrative and logistical support for the creation and development of your project:
- a coach, individually or in group sessions
- a team of experts in accounting and management
- networking with other trades and suppliers
Baticrea also informs and encourages self-employed candidates to pay attention to environmental aspects and train in eco-construction techniques. There are regular information sessions on the building and creative trades. Check the 'Events' section of our website or the JobYourself website.
Read the JobYourself FAQ and the conditions for accessing this support.
Sustainable construction: think about it!
It is now difficult to enter the construction business without questioning the environmental and energy impact of your proposed activity. Don't be alone in your efforts and thoughts.
- Hub.brussels and its Ecobuild.brussels cluster connect and manage a network of companies working in sustainable construction and renovation in Brussels. Contact them to receive their services: networking, knowledge sharing, business support, visibility and internationalisation. Companies in the entire construction chain can access them: design offices, architects, material suppliers, contractors, owners and property managers as well as companies supporting construction.
The main condition is that your activity is sufficiently sustainable & innovative.
- Buildcircular.brussels: advice and training on circular construction, whether you are starting out or want to improve your practices.
- Village Partenaire supports the creation of sustainable businesses in any sector. With their experience of helping sustainable entrepreneurship, they can also help or guide you in one or more aspects of your sustainable construction project.
- Information on the usefulness of material reuse (FR) in the construction sector
which premiums are available?
Here are a few premiums to be aware of, for you or your clients
- Renolution (for individuals and companies)
As a construction professional, don't miss out on the premiums that your clients (individuals or companies) can request. Visit the renolution.brussels website and select the theme that applies to you to see the premiums associated with it.
- For travel and the transport of utility material, the investment premium (for the purchase of an electric motor vehicle or motorised bicycle) or the Cairgo Bike premium (for the purchase of a utility bike)
- To get financial aid for work or the purchase of equipment, a company can use the equipment investment premium, or for the purchase of a building, the property acquisition premium.
- For the creation of a website: web premium
- To finance the call for a consultant, the consultancy premium if the mission is listed as one of those accepted (for example the transition to the circular economy or a technical feasibility study).
Always check the terms and conditions of each premium.
These structures can assist with applying for a premium or with questions about renovation work:
- "Facilitateur Bâtiments durables": free helpdesk for building professionals
- Homegrade: assistance service for individuals
- Brussels Economy and Employment (for companies)
- FPS Economy: construction products, approval of contractors, technical specifications, etc.
- FPS Health: information on health-related construction products
- There are annual trade shows and fairs dedicated to the sector of construction, renovation, housing, etc. (Bouw&Reno/Bati&Reno, Batibouw, Polyclose, etc.)