Rising costs and staff shortages threaten construction sector
Construction companies and others in the industry continue to face ongoing challenges from rising domestic inflation, as well as the adverse effects of disruption to the global supply chain and the war in Ukraine.
The President of the Cyprus Construction Contractors Association (Oseok), President of Land Management, Stylianos Gabriel, echoed these thoughts during the round table discussion. The discussion was part of a design and construction conference that took place on Wednesday in Nicosia.
Gabriel warned that if the above issues are not resolved, they will set off a chain reaction with dire consequences for both the construction sector and the Cypriot economy. In addition, President Oseok did not rule out that projects would remain unfinished, and a number of employees would be left without work.
“Inflation has risen to 9 percent and rising unemployment will cause additional financial problems,” Gabriel said.
Moreover, he also emphasized that the main goals of the industry remain the same, and this is nothing more than the implementation of projects, based on their original timing and budget. “It is enough that the industry adapts and adopts innovative practices and technologies, and the state modernizes the laws and conditions regarding the construction projects that it carries out in cooperation with the private sector,” he explained.
Gabriel reiterated that persistent staffing shortages continue to plague the construction sector, which he attributes in part to young people’s aversion to manual labor and the shift to technical positions and other corporate occupations. However, he concluded by defending the construction sector as a chosen field of activity, saying that “our industry is promising and there are prospects for the development of young people.”
Meanwhile, Cyfield Group CEO Despina Chrysosou spoke about four trends observed in the Cypriot construction sector and the real estate market.
The first is the increase in the number of high-rise buildings, which is a reflection of the high demand from some companies looking for high-quality services and views from such buildings. Hrishokhova also talked about the importance of technology as clients now offer cutting-edge solutions as a minimum requirement, and noted the strong demand for green buildings.
“Our customers are demanding buildings with less energy consumption and less heat loss,” Chrysohu said. Moreover, Chrysohu noted the return of office staff back to city centers, which she attributed to people’s inherent need for communication. She added that the return of employees to the office has proven to be good for the economy.
The president of the Etek Technical Chamber, Constantinos Constanti, said the industry should look at the challenges it currently faces as a vehicle for development. “We have to use technology,” Constanti said, explaining that “this is not the time to burden the environment or be weighed down by bureaucracy.”
He went on to say that the construction industry, which has suffered a number of blows since 2013, needs drastic reforms to offset all the negative impacts it is experiencing. “Licensing should be faster and time should be used more productively for the convenience of citizens,” Constanti explained. “On behalf of the chamber, we are calling for the use of technology in all areas that offset the costs of building for citizens,” he added.
Constanti also said that the plans currently in place encourage piecemeal development and do not promote either taxpayers or sustainable development.
“During a crisis, there are opportunities and measures to eliminate the negative impact of external factors,” he said.
“Local projects should encourage new, better developments and be more friendly to compact and beautiful cities that are tackling new challenges,” Constanti concluded.