When we say hurdle faced by the construction industry, what we actually wish to understand is the impact caused by the pandemic on the sector. With the ongoing pandemic what we need to understand is the pandemic’s impact on the 5M’s that are the key elements for the functioning of the industry on a regular basis.
The Impact of 5M’s
When we say Man, most of us think that this pandemic hits only at labor level where one depends on their daily wages from the construction sites. Business owners, Employer, Contractors, Vendors, Laborer’s and Employees who are all working in the sector are also greatly affected by such situations. Even the general public who were on the verge of investing in the construction sector will be having some impact due to such conditions.
When it comes to the materials the entire sector faces with one main issue which is the Non-Availability of required materials at site.
Some governments did provide permissions to continue work at site as long as the labor is currently residing at the site, but the Non-Availability of required materials forced the builders to waste the human resource as well as financial resources available at hand.
Aside from availability the cost of such materials and the transportations of materials from the vendor to the construction site become a very tedious and expensive option which definitely affects the budget planned.
For sites that do not have any labors at site the shelf life of the stock in hand becomes a huge issue to be handled. The quality of the material needs to be maintained until work can be resumed again.
In this modern era there are many types of machinery available to us to help us ease up the construction process. Such machines always require maintenance. When the machine is operated frequently the maintenance cost can be absorbed easily but in our current situation the machines are left idle and unattended to which leaves them to rust and rot in the weather. Maintaining such machineries without working them becomes a tedious task to manage for the builder.
This is no news to us, we all know the importance of money and how much is required in any business and the construction industry is no different. We look for aspects to bring in liquidity and find better ways to invest it. With the pandemic we can see that there is continuous outflow of cash in the form of overheads, material costs, investment in projects etc. but the inflow of cash becomes stagnant. With a minimum income the sector is expected to manage its entire overheads and indulge itself in new ventures.
Why Are There Insufficient Funds?
When the impact of the pandemic is causing a worldwide panic with people’s lives at jeopardy as humans they would want to save themselves for which they start saving money by dissolving stocks they own from under or low performing assets. When people stop investing and start saving the industries run out of liquidity to manage their expenses so development of new projects are completely halted. When the company finds it difficult to proceed with the ongoing projects with the income they have the entire process comes to a standstill thus placing a huge halt in the inflow of cash for the company.
Fear of the future has claimed many businesses during the pandemic. With the stress that the business owners face as to how to arrange for supplies, how to manage the overheads and expenses and keep their company afloat a fear arises in their minds. The fear is not limited only to the business owners but also to every vendor, employee and labor associated with the company. The employee and labor face insecurities for their job and vendors for their contracts and how to maintain and supply their stocks.
The fear of not being able to provide for the family takes over everyone which causes them to panic. With the entire population losing their minds over how to proceed with their regular life, running a business and getting the employees back on their feet working and maintaining the business becomes a very difficult task to handle as even the business owners will have the same fears. Having a strong mind to overcome all difficulties becomes one of the basic necessity equivalent to money in the industry after the impact of the pandemic.
Any projects and business will need a sustainable development but with the pandemic fear and chaos run amok the people, employees and business owners thus causing unsustainability in the business.
With such confusions and fears majority of the businesses have suspended their projects. The suspensions of projects may have occurred to reasons such as
- Inability to transport materials
- Inability to afford materials and labors
- Labor shortage
- Difficulty in managing the overheads and expenses
- Weak mental capacity of the business owners
Any of the above reasons and many other reasons which are not listed here can cause suspension of the projects.
Many companies have developed to such a state that they are self-sustaining but this is not the case for all companies. Many companies have suspended their work and in some cases the project or the company itself has been terminated due to the impact on the 5M’s.
To be successful in any business venture a major factor which needs to be fulfilled is sustenance. The ability to sustain a business through complete understanding of the situation around us, making favorable decisions, keeping a cool mind to tackle any hardships that are to come our way and achieve the best possible outcome from a difficult situation is called sustenance.
Any individual venturing into the field of business will be tested whether they are able to sustain their business idea irrespective of the situation in hand. Considering the impact of the pandemic on the construction industry, business owners face more issues than usual to sustain their businesses which are described below.
The Sustenance Key Factors
- Security Job/Life
- Cost Control / Financial Stability
- Remote Working Technology
- Government Support
Security Job / Life
The business owner is compelled to assure the job security not only for the labors at site but also for the employees working directly under them. Even the business owner themselves faced the issue of job security where their own future in the company was at stake. The business owners were pushed to support the employees and site labors financially, medically, emotionally and to provide food and shelter to labors who were compelled to stay at the site. Employee welfare might prove as the major supporting factor for any company which needs to be maintained at all times even in difficult situation such as this. Educating the employee regarding the government norms to face Covid -19 and the necessity to provide the employees with vaccination and medical treatment assurance will boost the morale of employees during such difficult times, it always feels good when you’re being looked after that’s the feeling which needs to be given to the employee.
Cost Control / Financial Stability
While the complete stoppage of work doesn’t necessarily cut down overheads, business owners have a hard time in managing the financial stability of the company. During the lockdown work had been halted but being responsible for the team the business owners had to pay the employee’s salary, provide food and shelter to the labor at site and still manage to get work done even at slow paces.
Such requirements tend to increase the company’s expenses even though the cash inflow was minimal. The sector was forced to handle with wastage of materials at site and inability to use the resources at hand. All expenses mentioned here are completely inevitable irrespective of the current situation and hence maintaining the financial stability of the company plays a key role in sustaining the business to achieve further growth once the pandemic is under control.
Remote Working Technology
With the new day technology available nothing seems impossible. When the offices were shut down and the overheads and expenses were still coming company owners needed to find solutions to keep the work going. Considering such factors the concept known as Work from Home (WFH) got implemented on a wide scale to help companies keep the work going on from the safety of their homes.
With restrictions on how many people can be in a single space at a time, being able to adapt to this concept of WFH becomes mandatory for the business owners as well as the employees. With this adaptability comes into question, whether a company is able to adapt to the sudden changes in working conditions. But in the construction sector with site work being one of the major work involved WFH became a challenge.
The government did support the cause by stating if labors are stationed at site the work can continue but procuring the materials required, transporting them, involving of skilled labor for certain tasks all became a very difficult task.
With the government taking full control over the districts even private transportation becomes difficult for an individual. Any work at site which needs attention needs to wait till government provides permission for travel. Being able to keep a leveled head and managing the resources at hand becomes a necessity here. The supply of provisions to the site cannot be done without the governments support so the process involved in acquiring the government support, such as applying for an E-Pass, needs to be determined and followed.
The concept of In situ Construction was apprehended where the labor at site makes the most out of what resources he has at site until supply arrives. At site, all labors and employees are prone to accidents and injuries. With all hospitals full with the Covid-19 cases support from the government in aiding to any injuries at site was required. With the slow pace of work all injuries were restricted but a backup was always required.
The government norms did provide a small breather for the construction industry by offering them a moratorium period where the repayments to the bankers can be put on hold to be paid later once the situation gets cleared. Awareness of such schemes and utilizing the support offered by the government will prove to be useful in maintaining the sustainability of the business.
Irrespective of any situation or who you are, life constantly teaches everyone a lesson. In this current situation where the entire world is struggling with the economy, mental and physical health of individuals we need to understand the main lessons that life is currently teaching us.
- The next two years will not be anyone’s usual. Every individual needs to accept the new normal and move forward with their lives.
- Changes happening in the society is inevitable regardless of who you are. These changes will keep happening at all times around us and we need to be able to adapt to such changes.
- Being flexible that is being able to change your usual activities and adapt to the current situation to make the best out of a horrible situation becomes the key to survival.
- Being stubborn and negative will not work, but being stubborn in a positive manner that is with the determination to improve our situation will always be supported and needed during these times.
- Finally we have innovation. No matter the era there is always room for innovation and innovative ideas. New ideas carve the path for a more exciting and comfortable future.
Phases In The Construction Industry
With the ongoing pandemic it can be stated that there will mainly be two phases in the construction industry post the pandemic
Every industry has a life cycle and the consolidation phase is also a stage in the life cycle of the construction industry. In this phase we will be able to see competitors merging with one another and together seek to consolidate in the aim of acquiring a larger portion in the overall market thus taking advantage of synergies
With an improved business process companies compete to establish a share of the new market. The revenue will continue to rise and the companies will begin to generate a positive cash flow and profits as the product revenue and costs surpass break-even.
Covid – 19 Impact On Students
Covid-19 has impacted majority of the population especially the students. Some impacts which the students face are listed below.
- The students become uncertain about their future. Whether they will be placed in a company, whether they will have a job, whether they can support their family these thoughts cause a lot of stress among the students especially the final year students searching for job opportunities
- Students with average grades begin doubting themselves, their skills, their future, possibility of employment. And in some cases these fears become true and the pandemic boosts the possibility of such situations happening.
- Some students come from poor family backgrounds and this pandemic which forces companies to shutdown instills fear in the students about how they are going to sustain their family.
- Many students give into such fears and lose hope. Some fall into depression and the others might end up doing things they regret. The main aim now is to hold on to hope and not give into fear and stress and wait for the bright future to come.
How to move forward in this situation?
- Be strong in you basics, life skills, do not lose touch with your academics.
- Being positive awaiting a bright future. Without giving into fear, stress and despair is the only route to achieve a better life. Change is inevitable so the current times will change. Believe in the fact and keep moving forward.
- Do not give up. With the work from home concept being implemented many companies are still hiring and giving out opportunities. Apart from this you will also have the opportunity to venture into your own business. Keep your eyes open and keep looking for opportunities to better yourself.
- Always keep striving to learn something new. Keep your eyes and ears peeled as in what new things are happening in this world.
- Finally your attitude. Be confident and believe in yourself, a negative attitude and self-doubt will not carry you to places. Keep a positive mind frame and do not doubt your self-worth. These are the only ways which will help you overcome the pandemic’s impact.