House Construction during Covid-19 pandemic
House Construction / Building Contracts to be widely affected during nation wide lockdown to contain Covid-19 Panademic. All construction activities would be forced to halt until further instructions from the administrative bodies considering the welfare of all.
This articles aims to look at how one could be handling the situation. You could be constructing a home by hiring waged labour, you could have signed a contract with contractor/construction company, or you could be a builder/contractor oneself.
Halt all construction activity
GOI has declared complete lockdown till April 14th due to Corona pandemic. We are used to insist our contractor and the labourers to speed up the construction process in the verge of fulfilling our dream of living in the new house. But now, lets do the opposite. Instruct your contractor to pause any ongoing activity at site. Instruct your labourers to not indulge in construction related work. We understand its important to complete house construction sooner, but lets all take a break for our own welfare.
Its tough to ignore worrying about building status and maintenance especially if you have an ongoing construction. While its inevitable to pause all construction related activities one could follow simple measures to reduce any loss of labour/materials at site.
Curing at construction site can be continued to be done. Most of the sites would general have at least one/two sheds with a security to ensure safety of materials and avoid any intrusions. One could request them to continue curing everyday until construction resumes.
Its natural to worry about stock of materials at site. One could have heaps of sand or aggregates on site, unused cement bags, steel rods, flooring materials, electrical/plumbing materials etc., One could ensure safety of cement bags to be stored in construction sheds, covered with tarpaulin sheets or gunny bags all around the load to ensure wastage of materials. While its inevitable to unstore sand, aggregates or unused steel rods, electrical/plumbing, painting/wood materials can be safely stored inside the building or in the shed. It would also be wise to instruct security guard to pay attention to stock of materials and avoid any theft of stored materials.
Welfare of labourers
Most of the construction workers are daily wage labourers. It could be a mason, helpers, electrical, plumbing, wood or painting workers are all mostly dependent on their daily wage which are usually paid on weekly basis. Earning potential of all these workers drops down since they are idle and unpaid. It would be a great way to express our gratitude if one could help them financially by making partial labour payment. They have families too and they live in our construction sheds. One could also consider helping them with food, medicines and clothes until construction activity resumes back to normal.
Most of the labourers in construction industry are migrants who seek earning by involving themselves into different construction related activities. During these tough times, if possible allow them to travel back to their hometowns where they could have more support from their families and relatives. Please also check government restrictions on travelling and guide them accordingly. If possible, one could also assure them of continued employment in future once construction activities resume.
Educate – Guide, counsel, bring awareness.
Most of our workers live with families closer to our construction sites, typically comprising of husband and wife with two or three children. We have always seen those beautiful kids playing with sand/stones etc from our site. While we struggle to safeguard our family members, let us also extend our hand to help those families. Educate them about being hygiene and safeguarding their children. Share information on covid-19 and guide them how to safeguard themselves. If possible, please share Masks, Gloves, Hand Sanitizes and show them how to use it.
While we help them what we can, we could also educate them about several governemt schemes which could help them during these tough times. (https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/karnataka/2020/mar/24/karnataka-government-announces-initiatives-for-poor-affected-by-coronavirus-lockdown-2121026.html)
To Conclude, its important to ensure welfare of ourselves, the neighborhood we live in, and of our contractors/builders, architect, labourers, engineers etc of all the teams involved in construction industry. Lets stay safe and help each other. Follow Protective measures against Novel Coronoa Virus prescribed by WHO (https://youtu.be/bPITHEiFWLc)