The Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) urges industry and government collaboration to address the growing and looming issue of disruption to construction projects, primarily due to a decrease of building products from China due to the coronavirus, and its effect on industrial activity in China. There is also the potential that the migration of skilled labour and professionals needed for the industry could be affected by the coronavirus, with various travel restrictions internationally.
Further, if the Australian workforce is affected by the coronavirus with many people infected or staying away from workplaces due to fear of infection, this will also have a major impact on the construction industry. Planning and collaboration for the industry is urgently needed to mitigate these very real possibilities that threaten the construction industry, a major driver of the Australian economy.
ACIF Executive Director James Cameron commented, “With more than 60 percent of the $6 billion worth of construction-related materials sourced from China, this represents a massive challenge for the industry if supplies continue to be affected.“
“Some builders and contractors are putting in requests for extensions of time for delays to their projects. This is contractually not always easy as many contracts do not provide illness as a reason for a claim.”
“Where there are large components of structure, facades, and fit out in contracts, these usually require visits to suppliers’ factories in China.”
“Most major developers and builders are looking for alternative sources for Chinese building products, looking at alternatives to sending staff to China, and looking to find quality assurance specialists in China who can do inspections for them”, Mr Cameron stated.
“The construction labour force in Australia may also be affected due to the disruption to the migration of certain trades and professions needed for the industry.”
“If the coronavirus takes hold in Australia, construction projects may be further affected with sick staff and others staying home due to fear of infection. The construction industry labour force is highly integrated, and one missing link can mean that projects cannot continue.“
“ACIF calls on industry and governments in Australia to collaborate to address all of these current and looming challenges. Let’s act proactively and be on the front foot to minimise the impact of this tragic outbreak of COVID-19 on the construction industry”, Mr Cameron added.
Additional reading on the impact of the Corona Virus.