A typical workday on a construction site is anything but these days. Construction workers have to start their days with temperature checks and hand sanitiser application. 

Workers do their best to maintain social distancing; however, the nature of construction work often requires close contact between labourers to complete tasks and unload deliveries and supplies.

Most seem to welcome the safety precautions, as they have kept sites virus-free. Yet some principal builders bemoan the fact that, as they now work five to six-hour days because of the extra activities required to prepare for work, construction workers still are being paid for eight-hour days. 

They say that these practices, along with the competitive environment of today’s building industry, is costing principle builders money. 

In many cases, the principle builder invests a 10-12-hour workday, opening and closing the work site. And these days, tradespeople are taking on excessive workloads and working weekends. 

Some principle builders are threatening to resign. These problems must be solved, as a recession looms over the Australian economy. 

Already in Australia, the economy is now slowing—although the housing market remains strong.

During previous recessions, we saw interest rates elevate with the Reserve rate at 18%, with bank margins added, encompassing the case of the Bank of Melbourne rate to 22.5% paired with a 3-month penalty payout.

Now the Reserve rate looms beneath 2%, a reversal, but many fear that the high unemployment rate, floundering businesses, and high general anxiety form the harbingers of a recession. 

Many fear that the false sense of security formed in the past three decades has resulted in an atmosphere of greed—and, perhaps, in a crowded building industry where some lack essential skills. 

This is why, in the minds of many, some recent structures have been delivered with severe defects.

They feel that a stronger regulatory regime is needed overall, and that the COVID-19 pandemic may serve as a strong wake up call to the industry and country as we face both illness and recession. 

They hope, finally, that this situation will come to foster an industry of caring in the near future.