Despite many other industries being hit far worse by COVID-19, the construction industry in Australia still has a long way to go to return to its booming pre-COVID state.
According to the Australian Performance of Construction Index (PCI), the construction industry hit a record low in April 2020, when the pandemic really began to take a grip, and it has been trying to recover ever since.
Construction Crucial to Economy
The construction industry is vital to Australia’s economy and employs around 1.2 million people in just under 400,000 mostly small businesses. This is according to figures from TheRealEstateConversation.com.au.
In a bid to repair the industry’s infrastructure, the Australian Government has announced an extension of its HomeBuilder program till the end of March 2021. This will mean the construction or major rebuilding of an additional 15,000 homes, bringing the total to around 42,000 projects in Australia as a whole (ministers.treasury.gov.au).
This will certainly go some way in helping kick-start the flailing construction industry, but there’s a still a long way to go before the industry can get back on its feet again. So what can construction businesses do themselves to help ride out the pandemic and get business booming again? Here are some tips to follow to rebuild the construction business in 2021:
1. Plan with Productivity and Staff in Mind
There’s no doubt that 2020 adversely disrupted activity in the construction industry and, as a direct result, productivity was severely impacted. The restrictions put in place with social distancing measures has made staffing large projects even more of a headache than it was previously.
Moving forward, the industry has to accept that the restrictions are here to stay, so it simply has to implement strategies to work with these new measures. This means finding ways to stagger work shifts to reduce numbers on-site and establishing the use of smaller teams at all times. It requires far more organization and planning, but once in place, it should mean that construction projects can continue to run on time and on budget.
2. Construction Methods Should Adapt Accordingly
COVID-19 is here to stay, so the construction industry has to let its construction methods and systems adapt accordingly in order to survive the pandemic.
This means that manufactured buildings will become more common as they’re large in size and need a lower density of workers on-site, making social distancing easier to manage.
Prefabricated buildings offer advantages such as affordability and have the potential to be temporary, which can be a benefit in these uncertain times.
For businesses, it is all about maximizing efficiency and productivity and while returning to pre-pandemic levels of productivity might not be a reality today, adapting new methods and processes now will certainly start to reap rewards sooner rather than later.
3. Strengthen Health and Safety Measures
Health and safety have always been crucial, but never more so than now. The most successful businesses in the industry are those that have reacted quickly to the pandemic and have put in place swinging measures to ensure their sites are as safe and hygienic as they possibly can be.
Not only is it essential to ensure construction workers and members of the public aren’t put at risk of contracting COVID-19, but it’s also vital for the business itself—closing down a site because of a COVID outbreak could be enough to finish a small construction company off for good.
So, what can you do to ensure your construction site is COVID-safe? Personal protective equipment (PPE) should be available for all workers and visitors on any site, and the employer should make sure employees are trained on how to use PPE, as well as when and where they’re appropriate.
Enhanced cleaning procedures need to be put in place such as hand sanitizer stations at every entrance and exit, with all common areas and machinery cleaned before and after use. A record of everyone on-site should be kept up-to-date at all times, and the maximum number of people allowed in an area at any one time should be indicated with clear guidelines.
Clear signage reminding people of the need for social distancing should also be displayed throughout any building or site, and workers and visitors should be reminded not to enter any zone if they’re suffering any COVID-like symptoms. Some businesses even take temperatures of people on arrival and make a note of them so clear records can be kept.
4. Promote Your Business in 2021
Never has advertising your construction business been more important than in 2021.While2020 was a difficult year for everyone, 2021 has the potential to be a bumper year for those in the building business so you need to make yourself bounce back.
According to the AI Group (aigroup.com.au), the construction industry will generate some $240billion in 2021, so if you want a piece of the, action then you need to look at cost-effective ways to get your message out there, generate business for yourself, and shout about successful projects you’re already working on.
One of the most effective ways to promote a project or business is with fence mesh banners. Not only do they provide a practical purpose of keeping out dust and debris, as well as protect the public, they can also be used as a highly engaging form of advertising.
Various mesh banner manufacturers offer construction businesses easy-to-fit and easy-to-maintain construction banners that are versatile and cost-effective. Designed to last (two to three years) and perfect for outdoor use, these banners offer awesome print impact to really get your message out there.This can be adapted for anything, from a temporary fence banner to a full building wrap.
Providing great value for money, advertising on fence mesh banners is far less costly than hiring expensive advertising hoardings and are just as effective.
Successful advertising, enhanced safety measures, and adapting to the ‘new normal’ are all simple yet highly effective ways that the construction industry can weather the storm of 2020 and emerge in 2021 stronger and better than ever.