construction industry recovery after coronavirus

South Africa’s construction sector was in decline even before the COVID-19 pandemic so the lockdown couldn’t have come at a worse time for the industry.

Yet, as lockdown is eased and the construction sector gets back on site, there’s hope that public-private collaboration will initiate recovery in South Africa.

COVID-19 Task Team to focus on recovery

The construction industry has set up a COVID-19 Construction Rapid Response Task Team (CC19RRTT) to examine the recovery of the industry post-lockdown.

The team aims to partner with the government to ensure the “effective and integrated rollout” of infrastructure projects and with the private sector to promote infrastructure development.

The objectives of the CC19RRTT are to:

▪ assess the impact of Covid-19 on the construction sector and charter its recovery

▪ unblock relief measures for the construction sector to remain sustainable

▪ identify infrastructure project opportunities in both the public and private sector

▪ address the regulatory matters that unintentionally impede the industry

▪ address systemic challenges and fast-track intervention.

Team supports collective approach

The task team plans to collectively unblock measures that will help the industry navigate forward and remain sustainable.

It aims to identify opportunities where the construction and built environment can assist in the national disaster and relief efforts, both on a volunteer and professional basis, and support emergency procurement for the next 12 months.

It’s urging all key stakeholders to urgently engage in development.

Recovery strategies and approaches

According to Task Team chairperson John Matthews, detailed proposals for a phased reopening, including strict guidelines on health and safety systems, have been submitted to government.

The government has been urged to undertake the planned public infrastructure spending as announced in the medium-term expenditure framework for positive knock-on effects on economic recovery and growth through the multiplier effect.

The government has also been urged to fasttrack public projects that aren’t dependent on private-sector funding.

“This was a proven model for economic recovery that has been used by many countries emerging out of periods of crisis,” said Matthews.

Contractors reopening their sites will be expected to provide weekly reports to the CC19RRTT so that the team can assist in making sure that non-compliance and areas of required assistance are identified and dealt with.

Impact of the pandemic on SA’s construction sector

The South African construction industry was in the direct path of the economic storm well before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

According to Stats SA, there was a 30.4% decrease in the value of recorded building plans between January 2019 and January 2020.

‘Catastrophic’ consequences on industry

The impact of the pandemic on the industry is predicted to be “catastrophic”, according to the construction market intelligence firm Industry Insight.

It predicts the sector will shed an estimated 120,000 to 140,000 jobs and activity levels in the industry will decline – in a worst-case scenario – by 27.7%.

Survival strategies for small to medium construction businesses

Contractors and suppliers within the construction industry need to take action now to survive. These five steps will help businesses survive recession.

1. Determine your “ideal project” and actively pursue those contracts.

2. Review your contracts and service agreements for potential protection issues.

3. Adjust your scheduling to avoid the slowdown bottleneck.

4. Adopt processes that will get you paid faster and protect your lien rights at the same time.

5. Improve your office productivity and lower your overhead costs.

How KH Plant can help the revitalise the industry

At KH Plant, we specialise in restoring Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K motor graders and components to as-new condition – so you can get the benefits of a new motor grader at a fraction of the cost of a new machine.

Contact us for more information or to discuss your needs.

Contact us for more information