When the little kiddo was caged out from her mother’s care to explore the widened garden in the lobby of the home, she yelled in the curious voice “mummy, see the Corona flower, it even got kids with it!”
“That’s football flower baby!”

While all of us are living with the humming and chanting of the notorious COVID-19, it’s high time we spoke about its impact on the lifeline of the world, Construction and civil engineering.

Let’s look at the important aspects to reboot ourselves to face the situation gracefully.

  1. Economic uncertainty

Being the second largest provider of blue and white collar jobs, construction sector is the industry that has the worst impact from COVID- 19, after agriculture. According to the COVID- 19 impact and Implementation survey 2020 of ASCE, as of May 26, half of the responding organizations have experienced corona virus related delays in receiving materials from suppliers owing to the disruption in the global supply chains. It’s alarming to note that two large airlines, Delta and United, announced plans to reduce capital investment by $2 billion each as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact.

These shed light into the fact that companies are revising their plans about their capital investment and they are focusing on implementing cost cutting measures into the form of layoffs, increase in working hours which is about a tiresome 12 hours a day and pay cuts.

In the light of the gruesome provisions, government has issued a number of notices and instructions to companies in India not to deduct workers ‘ wages or to refrain from lay-offs or withdrawals during the lock-down period. But we know how unsure when the lock down extension is uncertain.

So how are you going to tackle these?

If a tiny virus that can’t even be seen by eyes can transform the entire universe in its working, then our brains should be given a chance to prove its part. By doing the calculations with investment reduction and changing the business plan and strategies accordingly, we can be robustly prepared to confront that.

Pro-tip:  You should also bear in mind the scope of the business insurance policies and if you deserve it, you should get yourself to claim it!

  1.  Managing remote work force

This aspect could be a phoenix to rise from all that hinders you from visiting the construction site.  But remember we have comprehensive software tools and technical support systems. Let the building site be anywhere in the world. You can use 360 cameras to digitally capture site conditions. This effectively creates a street view of your construction site. All that is required is a mechanism to carry out the survey, so all stakeholders will have access to the site tour staying at home itself. Also, the advent of robotics which offers wide possibilities in  3D printing a building, brick laying and masonry,can even change the fate of the sector. They’re all an asset to the future. Only that, thanks to Corona, it all happened in the blink of an eye.


   3.  Overall management of safety requirements / regulation

Employee safety is of paramount importance no matter the company’s business status. They should be provided with mandatory safety equipment in good time and should be treated gently to make them comfortable amid the prevailing pandemic. Major government instructions must be strictly applied to construction sites and offices which include:

1. Keeping a safe distance between workers

2. Mandatory hand washing for at least 20 seconds before work begins, after workers remove gloves, before and after the use of shared items such as tools, before and after any restroom breaks, and after shifts end.

3.Temperature checks when the workers arrive on site and when they leave for home

4. Limiting crossover of subcontractors

  1.  Customers going out of business

The sustaining epidemic conditions can change the mind of your customer anytime. So you better keep in touch with them through the virtual communications and strengthen the bond by testifying other customer’s success with your service.

  1.  Employee morale

It’s not at all worth a big bet that employee morale is directly connected to their productivity. Construction economists say construction loses 975,000 Jobs in April, Because of COVID-19 Impacts. The results of the April 9 survey of ASCE showed a similar statistics. One-quarter of the organizations have furloughed/ laid off/ terminated employees since March 1, 2020. These statistics tell us that boss to the caregiver is a must-have shift in this intense time. There’s no better feeling than that when you feel your job is secure.

6.  Troubles in contract period

The reports say that two-thirds of the responding organizations have experienced cancellation or delay of contracts. One out of seven organizations are facing potential contract penalties due to project delays. It implies that you should be well versed in our law to keep your client in peace.

The extra bout: Section 55 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 (‘Contract Act’) provides for the effect of failure to meet the specified timeline. However, the intention of the parties must be examined, not the letter of the clause.

7. Expectations from government

Though government has taken required measures, it needs to think innovatively to save the sector that has been growing tremendously and contributing considerably to the economy. Even if banks have given moratorium options, they are still adding interest for the months we are not paying. Banks can avoid charging interest for these months when we are not able to pay EMIs. Also, some exemptions in GST will be a great relief. There shall be measures to mitigate impact on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) workforce, defer utility and social security payments, enhance access to credit and specific measures for self-employed. There is no better time to usher the commitment and care of the government to the people of the country.

8.  Work from home challenges

Every difficulty is an opportunity. The pandemic era is an opportunity to improve digital infrastructure, communication skills, automation and mechanized construction methods that can potentially replace manual intensive labour by machinery. Moving away from the difficulties, you’d better make it a rocking platform to improve all these things about your company.

9. Work- life balance

Suddenly, when your home desk says hi and your office desk misses you, it’s not easy to work normally and then move on to your personal life all of a sudden. A thick line is always to be drawn. A dedicated workspace and schedule can make a perfect balance.

IN NUTSHELL:

  • Being the second largest provider of blue and white collar jobs, construction sector is the industry that has the worst impact from COVID- 19, after agriculture.
  • Companies are revising their plans about their capital investment and they are focusing on implementing cost cutting measures into the form of layoffs, increase in working hours which is about a tiresome 12 hours a day and pay cuts.
  • The pandemic era is an opportunity to improve digital infrastructure, communication skills, automation and mechanized construction techniques.
  • By embedding navel technologies like 360 cameras, robotic assistance for brick laying , masonry and virtual communication systems, the challenges can be confronted gracefully.
  • Boss to the caregiver is a must-have shift in this intense time. There’s no better feeling than that when you feel your job is secure. Also employee safety is of paramount importance no matter the company’s business status. 
  • One out of seven organizations are facing potential contract penalties due to project delays. But section 55 of the Indian Contract Act clearly states the relaxations during unpredictable situations.
  • There shall be measures to mitigate impact on micro, small and medium enterprises workforce, defer utility and social security payments, enhance access to credit and specific measures for self-employed. Some exemptions in GST will be a great relief.

Bonus: Which the following do you find an advantage of COVID- 19, that helped the growth of your company/your work life?

1. It led digital transformation of your company

2. It helped you show gratitude and care to your employees

3. It helped you to explore the world of productivity

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.