Across the world, businesses and communities have been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the Australian Construction industry classed as an essential service, this sector has certainly fared better than others. The industry, for example, has not been subject to closure at any point during the pandemic so far. But this does not mean construction has not experienced huge uncertainty and disruption, with the worst hit areas of the sector being residential building and commercial construction.
The Stats & Facts
At the start of the pandemic, Peter Burn, Head of Policy at the Australian Industry (Ai) Group, stated that ‘the fallout from Covid-19 played havoc with the […] construction sector in April.’ According to the Australian Performance of Construction Index (PCI) Survey, construction activity had dropped by 16.3 points to 21.6 in the same month. Readings below 50 indicate a contraction in activity, meaning that the industry was experiencing its lowest ebb on record since the PCI Survey began in 2005.
With a severe economic impact expected, early reports predicted a contraction of up to 40% of current projects in the pipeline. On top of this, Master Builders Australia estimated at least 82,000 job losses across the industry from 14 March 2020 to August 2020.
Health & Safety Continues to be the Top Priority
While these numbers were concerning, the nine Australian governments were mindful of setting out regulations that would promote construction activity, as keeping people on-site safe and preventing them from becoming a primary source of spread was the priority.
The construction sector was very proactive in creating Covid-secure work environments. The Making Space on Site Guidelines, produced by the Housing Industry Association, is an excellent example.
Adopted by residential construction sites across Australia, these guidelines stipulate that, for a Covid-secure workplace, employers must:
• Ensure the governments’ social distancing criteria is met.
• Ensure the governments’ self-isolation rules are met.
• Provide adequate hygiene facilities on site for all workers.
• Ensure all workers have access to appropriate personal protective equipment.
• Minimise overlaps and numbers of people on site.
• Update and consult workers on the latest government requirements.
Our Australian Industries Remain Strong
Australia’s handling of the pandemic has been commendable. As a result, a December 2020 Financial Times article announced that the country had exited its first recession in almost three decades, with the economy growing by 3.3% in the September quarter. With this growth set to continue over 2021, a Research and Markets report predicts the industry to record a CAGR of 5.4% and reach $253.1 billion by 2024.
Several infrastructure projects are bolstering the industry, including the $16.8 billion WestConnex project in Sydney. The government is also investing in further billion-dollar projects whilst the real estate and housing market are beginning to boom.
News.com.au reported in January 2021 that, according to LinkedIn, the most in-demand jobs are construction site managers, estimators, heavy equipment operators, construction workers and forklift operators, with Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane being the top locations. These findings point to 2021 being a great year for the industry, despite the economic shock of Covid.
In saying this, the increase in on-site activity also means the return of on-site health hazards. As a result of the pandemic, we are far more aware of our respiratory health and more conscious of protecting it. Therefore, now more than ever, it is vital to implement the correct risk control and hazard solutions to combat toxic airborne contaminants and keep workers safe.
RVT’s Hazard Control Solutions
A recent NHEWS survey reported that 39% of Australian workers are exposed to airborne hazards in the workplace, with 23% not provided any hazard control or protection. Now is the time to change these statistics.
At RVT Group, we believe everyone deserves to go home healthy. Our wide range of hazard control equipment can help achieve this. We offer free site assessments to determine the best solution for you, as well as a FREE 3-DAY TRIAL on all of our equipment.
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Leading Dust, Fume & Ventilation Control Equipment
RVT’s 25+ years of experience as dust control, fume control, noise control and ventilation specialists mean that we can provide 100% compliant and effective equipment for all work sites. Whatever health hazard you face, RVT’s technical team are here to support you from the beginning to the end of your project and can tailor solutions to your specific needs.
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Industry-leading Noise Control equipment to protect your workers' hearing
While reducing respiratory health risks is a primary concern, Safe Work Australia estimates that 4,700 claims are made each year for noise-induced hearing loss. Our Noise Control Equipment range boasts high-level sound attenuation. View our range below or contact us directly for more information.
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Australian Industry and Skills Committee, see here
The Construction Index, see here
Master Builders Australia, revised 2020 outlook, see here
Making Space on Site Guidelines, see here
Financial Times, Australia’s economy powers out of Covid-19 recession, see here
Research and Marketing, Construction Industry in Australia, Forecast to 2024, see here
New report reveals industries most likely to hire as Australia rebuilds from COVID-19, see here