Construction sector in need of clearer Gov’t pandemic

Construction companies have asked authorities for clearer instructions on whether the construction sites can resume operations, with many sites still having to suspend their work due to the lack of clear instructions, a construction industry insider told Macau News Agency today (Tuesday).

Starting from June 29, the construction sites must stop work if a confirmed case is reported at the spot, Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) and the Public Works Bureau (DSOP) announced last week.

The construction industry insider – who chose to remain anonymous – indicated to MNA that this measure has affected the construction schedule of many sites, however, the SAR government still has not issued any instructions on when these affected sites can resume construction.

“The discovery of confirmed cases has led to the shutdown of many sites,” he said, “this situation will impact the construction duration of many projects, but we can’t do anything about it because the government never provides guidelines for resumption of work.”

The industry insider also stressed that he wants to see clear indications from the government, as the “chaotic” situation now is harming the interests of both the contractors and the workers.

“The economic impact caused by this order can be huge, especially for some large construction sites,” he said, “even if the suspension only takes one day, it will still impact the contractors and bring issues of how to deal with the calculation of workers’ wages.”

According to the sector businessman, the government never stipulated the number of days that the construction sites have to remain closed after a confirmed case is recorded, the disinfection measures that these sites should take, and how much area needed to be shut down.

“Maybe the government doesn’t bother to manage these matters, they just simply require that once a confirmed case is recorded then we have to stop work. We feel very helpless, and many construction companies have called me and report about these issues,” he added.

The industry representative revealed that some members of the sector have already submitted views to the government, expressing their hopes for the authorities to provide clear guidelines on the conditions required for the resumption of construction.

“We as businessmen are definitely concerned about the economic impact on us, even if some construction sites have not been shut down, I still worry every day when it will be closed”

Meanwhile, the sector representative indicated that many construction materials were imported from the mainland, but now only very few transport trucks can go across the border each week, causing a huge decrease in materials supply.

“For the construction sites that can continue to operate, the efficiency still remains low, many workers just sit on the ground and have nothing to do,” he claimed.

The anonymous source also expressed that the previous 48-hour nucleic acid test requirement imposed on construction workers and casino staff was “a waste of time and resources”.

The SAR government had required every construction worker and casino staff to present a negative nucleic acid test result taken in the previous 48 hours before going to work, but the measure was cancelled before the day of its implementation due to the “unexpected” crowd gathering caused.