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Better preparedness helping real estate, construction industry

The second wave took all businesses by surprise but preparedness on the part of real estate and construction industry has made sure that the impact on the stakeholders is minimal.

Measures like planning of supply chain, procurement of materials in advance, adapting to digital tools for sales, keeping costs under control and making in situ arrangements for construction workers have helped the industry in coping with the current situation.

In situ labourers:

The biggest issue which has been plaguing the construction industry in the last one year has been labour exodus and this hit the industry the hardest. What the industry learnt as a lesson was to stop this exodus by retaining labourers. This time around the state government has also cooperated and permitted construction activity if the labourers are at site. Hence civil construction work is progressing unhindered.

“We have invested in basic equipment and oxy meters, thermal thermometers and oxygen concentrators.  We have also made a quarantine quarter for any one showing symptoms.  Besides, CREDAI has Helpline Number which our members can call to obtain ambulance services, doctor on call and a medical kit. CREDAI in co-ordination with the Labour department has also organized vaccination camps on site,” explains Errol Fernandes, Secretary, CREDAI Bengaluru.

Even individual real estate and construction companies are ensuring good facilities for labourers at site. “We have provided them good sheds at our sites with basic amenities of water and electricity. Even if there is no work at site, our inhouse team of project managers and site engineers visit the sites and make sure they have enough food, mask and medicines. We also started tracking their payment which used to come from their contractors and started ensuring they get the same by cash or online,” explains Priyadarshi Mishra, CEO & Founder, Design& Construct, a prop-tech company offering end to end construction solutions.

Another advantage of keeping labourers in situ is that it will prevent them from going to their hometowns which will in turn prevent the spread the Covid.

Planned procurements:

Another issue during the last lockdown was shortage of construction materials. This time industry players have been smartly procuring weeks in advance anticipating any eventuality.

“We planned our supply chain and procured materials in advance that would last about 6 – 7 weeks. This will ensure that there are no delays and we stick to our construction timelines,” avers C N Govindaraju, Chairman & Managing Director, Vaishnavi Group, a leading construction company based in Bengaluru.

Going digital:

The pandemic also accelerated the digital shift.  Real estate and construction companies have been investing heavily in going digital for the past 1 year and therefore were better prepared when the second wave caught them unawares.

“We have developed our website during the pandemic to provide relevant information to our prospects and to enable them to reach us in a seamless manner. We have also been posting regularly about our business updates on our social media handles to keep our customers informed, and to receive feedback or concerns. For the primary customers, we have developed an app in-house for smooth order processing and making information related to SKUs readily available,” explains Dr Prashanth Reddy, Managing Director, Fundermax India, a subsidiary of Austrian company into sustainable facades for buildings.

Concurs Govindaraju, “A majority of our projects cater to young, first home buyers. Therefore, we have actively invested in our digital presence. Today we are able to close on sales entirely on digital platforms. From marketing to a potential customer on digital assets, to taking them on a virtual tour and finally close a sale and receive the payments – everything is done virtually. What has also changed this time around along with preparedness from our end is a shift in customer behavior and openness to explore homes virtually.

Digital tools make customers happy too. “Digital tools are also making our business development team more efficient as we can now track-develop-and close sales better than ever and customers are happy since they get live updates,” concludes Priyadarshi.

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