Construction industry facing COVID-19 fallout

Construction industry facing COVID-19 fallout
Leonard Sands, former president of Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — While the residential construction segment may be a bit more resilient amid the COVID-19 fall-out, a former Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) president yesterday warned that the sector would face a grim outlook if the fall-out from the virus persists beyond three months.

Leonard Sands told Eyewitness News: “When you look at new construction, those persons generate about 50 per cent of all construction work forecast.

“Existing projects are not going to be impacted as much right now because if for instance a person has financed their home construction through the bank, the bank needs to conclude the mortgage and that person needs to move in. I am engaged in two projects in western New Providence.

“It’s not business as usual but the clients want their projects completed. Stopping doesn’t help them. As long as a level of safety is being maintained the work continues.”

He said: “There were two other projects however that were literally going to start this week. They have now been put on hold. The day after the Prime Minister made his address about the first case, the developers said let’s put it on hold and look at it 60 days out.

“Everything has slowed down. There’s a project I manage that has a workforce of 300 persons working on the interior and exterior.Being mindful of social distancing it’s only persons now working on the exterior.”

Sands said that while the residential construction segment may prove a bit more resilient, the COVID-19 fall-out impacting jobs could ultimately prove an even bigger issue affecting the ability of persons to meet their mortgage obligations.

“Some may no longer have a job when this is all over. New home construction will be slow. This will have a negative impact on the industry of this goes beyond three months. If it stays within three months, while it it will be felt we will be able to withstand it better. Our greatest hope is that a solution is found for this and the spread is limited as best as possible as every nation takes the necessary measures.”

Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a nationwide partial shutdown for the next 11 days as officials ramp up measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Order, 2020, include a nightly curfew and shutdown of all non-essential businesses and organizations, public transportation and commercial sailing; and all events, parties or gatherings.

According to the order, construction companies carrying out any construction work will be allowed to do so from 6am to 7pm.