COVID VS THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY By Brian Kow
The Covid pandemic continues to spread uncertainty into many sectors including the construction industry. With Indian Nationals and Bangladeshis making up a large percentage of the construction workforce across the board, coupled with flight bans and tightened measures the industry is facing a labour crunch. The result of this entails on-going project delays, less room to take on new projects and even increased labour costs. All these factors in turn affect both businesses and homeowners.
Switching to another affected perspective is the plight of the foreign workers themselves. Just before Covid conquered the world, some of our Nic & Wes workers returned to India to visit their families as they would usually do once every two years on average.
If you have embarked on a home build journey with us, you will be familiar with one of them – Sami, our in-house painter and long-term staff. He was part of a group that returned for vacation. Sami, like many other foreign workers come to Singapore with the goal to work and support their family in India. They leave their wife, children and parents to come to Singapore where their days are spent building the homes that are sheltering us through this pandemic. When Covid spread its roots onto various parts of the map causing the inception of heightened restrictions and lock-downs in 2020, Sami together with our group of workers ended up stuck in India.
Throughout the months, we have tried to get them back to Singapore but with no avail. For a year now, our foreign workers remain in India with their families however, are stuck without a job. A job that has helped support their families these past years.
Maria, our electrician supervisor, returned to his hometown fortunately on a happier note. He recently celebrated his nuptials. We received some photos of his special day. Even during dark times, happy events like this are always welcoming.
While most of our men are safe in Singapore living in our privately owned dormitory, being apart from their families also has its challenges.
Mani, one of our masons, who is in Singapore, recently received sad news of his father’s passing to Covid in India. Like Mani, our workers and project managers including Somu, Rajan, Arul and Sudha have faced worry, uncertainty, sadness and tragedy being away from family in India which during normal circumstances would allow them to return, whether it is to pay their last respects and/or assist their families but are now unable to because of the pandemic.
If you have met any of our workers or Project Managers, they usually possess a friendly demeanour, you would have possibly shared a chat or two and even remember some of their names. Our workers are a special lot of men who have left an impression on many homeowners and neighbours alike. In fact, it is very touching to hear our clients check in on us and our workers, express gratitude to them for the work they have done on their homes and even sympathise with their plight.
We are a blessed company to have experience unity both internally and externally throughout this pandemic and we thank the people who make up the team for still working together to bring your lifestyle homes to reality.