As the world continues to adapt to a Covid-19 world, several industries have faced many challenges, and have had to continually implement changes to the way they function, they do business, and the services they offer in order to stay afloat. For the construction industry, this has brought uncertainty around what this will mean for future projects. If you’re involved in the commercial construction industry, here are some if the issues you may be experiencing or experience in the future as a result of the global pandemic.
Australia is heavily reliant on importing construction supplies and materials. Many companies within the construction industry may have experienced, or are still experiencing, supply issues with materials coming from Asia. Most factories in China were forced to close early in 2020 to reduce the spread of Covid-19. These disrupted supply chains have impacted commercial construction, with many materials having to be either be locally sourced at a higher cost, or projects pushed back to account for wait times.
During the height of the virus in Queensland, construction was considered an essential service, and therefore, companies were allowed to proceed construction with careful consideration.
Having said that, with the economic uncertainties caused by the pandemic, commercial construction has taken a hit, with a large quantity of construction firms cancelling or putting projects on hold. With restrictions easing and projects picking up again, the Australian commercial construction industry may see a future threat of running out of projects, particularly private projects. However, recent planning legislation amendments in Queensland will give the Minister for Planning the ability to extend or suspend timeframes for development approvals which come into effect between 8 July 2020 and 31 October 2020.
Physical distancing to reduce the chance of transmission of Covid-19 is still necessary in Australia. This does have an effect on the way commercial construction may be conducted to ensure the safety of any person entering the site. Some safety factors to consider include:
These factors may overall slow down or delay a project, but will ensure the highest likelihood for work to continue. Transmission of the Covid-19 virus is now an additional risk to be assessed before entering into or continuing any projects. Safe Work Australia provides more information on safety requirements to comply with Covid-19 restrictions in your state.
Master Builders Australia (MBA) CEO, Denita Wawn, commented that “commercial construction activity is forecast to slump by 17 per cent”.
Fortunately, the construction industry has not been hit as hard as expected, with construction work in the June quarter falling just 0.7 per cent.
In addition to this, construction lending that was put on hold has started again, with lenders feeling comfortable enough to put their money behind larger, well-managed projects.
We have also seen some government funding initiatives, including the HomeBuilder scheme, which enables eligible owner-occupiers to build new homes or renovate an existing home in a boost to the residential construction sector.
To assist with small and medium commercial construction businesses, Master Builders Australia have been calling for a new stimulus package called the CommunityBuilder scheme, in the hope that this will do for small and medium commercial construction businesses what the HomeBuilder aims to do for residential.
JobKeeper scheme continues to run also, allowing most eligible workers in our industry to retain employment, despite a decrease in work. As of August 14th, changes to the extended JobKeeper Payment scheme now apply.
If you’re ready to discuss your next project in commercial construction, contact us at Solutions Built to fulfil your needs. Our team is ready to take on your project, with a well-managed, Covid-safe approach to ensure all projects are fully assessed in real time, taking into account all potential scenarios and constraints to ensure budgets, timelines and safety is adhered to.