The Construction Management Foundation (CMF) welcomes President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reopening of all construction and infrastructure works under Alert Level 3 on the Risk Adjusted Strategy that will commence on June 1 as a positive step in helping to reinvigorate the construction sector.
The Covid-19 Construction Task Team, of which the CMF is a part, has already drafted and submitted a Covid-19 Workplace Construction Health and Safety Protocol to the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL), outlining measures construction businesses must adopt before reopening their workplaces and construction sites.
The task team comprises 31 organisations representing several stakeholders including construction companies, built environment professional services firms, and major materials and products suppliers within the construction supply and value chain.
This signals the readiness of the sector to return to work within a risk adjusted construction work environment.
The CMF says that, to aid the recovery of the economy, it is calling for immediate and actionable interventions and measures by the government and business in the construction industry.
In terms of government infrastructure departments, the CMF suggests the public sector must act quickly and take immediate steps to pay all suppliers as a matter of urgency to support their survival over the coming months.
Further, all construction and infrastructure procurement agencies should identify at-risk service providers and make immediate payment to ensure business survival and continuity.
There are a range of ways to support suppliers in maintaining cash flow during this period, the CMF notes.
In this regard, the organisation says government must consider alternative options such as advance payment, forward ordering and interim payments. “Risks associated with advance or prepayment should be carefully considered and documented.”
In terms of construction businesses, the CMF notes that they must ensure all their return-to-work plans are aligned with the Covid-19 construction health and safety operating protocol issued by the DEL. Businesses must consult with their associations for further guidance on how to implement this.
Further, the CMF notes that businesses must allow, where appropriate, remote working arrangements to continue and make use of digital collaborative tools. According to the CMF, this will accelerate digital transformation in the construction industry and create benefits for clients.
In addition, the CMF says it is important that employers in the sector must work together with the taxi industry to ensure safe transportation of employees to sites.
Employers should also help their employees by applying for relief money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme.
“We are urging employers to pay their employees the full amount and not deduct any monies,” states the CMF.