Construction vs COVID: What’s the New Normal for Prospective Home Owners?

Technology seems to be the primary advocate in keeping the economy running during this crisis that’s preventing most of the population from stepping out of their homes. The 2020, Covid19 Pandemic has disrupted life as we know and more relevantly has divided people into two categories; the ones who have to step out to make a living and the ones who don’t. The latter taking on a larger portion of jobs than the former. This is where one of the biggest sectors of employment in India comes into play — construction.

The construction sector employs approximately 12% of the entire population with manual labour ALONE contributing to the larger piece of the pie. This means that just ONE facet of the construction process provides income opportunities to 15 CRORE people in India. This feels overwhelming given that India had halted construction activities for more than 60 days during the nationwide lockdown.

Although construction activities have resumed with necessary restrictions in place, it was estimated that the cost of skilled labour would increase by 20-25% and the cost of unskilled labour by 10-15% in the post-lockdown period. The reason for this increase is simple; not only are the workers risking their safety by working at the construction site but the cost of living for the worker has increased as well. Basic amenities have seen a surge in price as well as healthcare and travel. The rising cost of labour, in turn, puts a strain on construction companies as they now must re-evaluate the cost of every stage involved in the construction process.

The person most affected here is the individual trying to make a home for themselves. Even if you have gone to a large construction firm for security and quality, these firms are forced to change their prices because their margins are equally affected by the other large projects they have undertaken. Because construction involves multiple teams of skilled and unskilled individuals for different purposes, any large construction firm must make price changes across their entire workforce to maintain a balance in their activities.

Though these large firms cannot be blamed for being forced to take these measures, the burden on the single homeowner is massive. There is just no possible way for one to personally contact each vendor, supplier, and labourer to negotiate on cost. This is where private firms that exclusively focus on single home building come in. Private firms have considerably smaller overheads than larger companies and not as heavily affected by disruptions in the supply chain. It helps even more when certain firms maintain an in-house team rather than relying on outside consultants and engineers.

Most private firms also focus on stage-based payment schemes that only request payment for a specific stage after completion of the prior. This relaxes the burden on the client as their payment is decided beforehand and they have no fear of extra costs. Smaller firms are able to provide this assurance for the simple reason that everyone involved is on the firms’ payroll and not an outside vendor with whom separate payment contracts need to be drawn up at every stage.

Bridges, metros, and offices will continue to be built regardless of a financial crisis thanks to powerful financial backing. It is only fair that single homeowners enjoy the same luxury with firms that are created to cater to their specific needs.

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