Construction sector faces total paralysis

 In News

Portugal’s construction industry is faltering as building site workers are failing to turn up to work.

According to Público, developers and construction company owners are saying that work has stopped on many projects up and down the country and admit that the sector is facing total paralysis.
There are already situations of shutdowns, failure of workers to turn up on site, delays and problems in the supply chain and even defaults.
Portugal’s real estate construction sector is responsible for 17.4% of the country’s GDP and 50.5% of investment.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic is likely to seriously affect the sector with real estate investment expected to disappear in the coming weeks according to Hugo Santos Ferreira, Executive Vice-President of the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Developers and Investors (APPII).
In the public works area, Reis Campos, President of the Association of Public Works and Construction Industries Association has also confirmed that some subcontractors who do not have contractual bonds have already not been turning up to building sites because of a lack of workers.
Albano Ribeiro, President of the Portuguese Construction Union says that there are “still lots of building projects continuing normally, but that workers want to be able to go home.”
“Public works employees should be the first to set an example and initiate a stoppage. Construction workers are also exposed to risks and want to down tools,” said the union boss.
“While the Government had made no decision for workers to go home, works will continue, putting the health of workers at risk. I have already received telephone calls from worried workers asking if they have to work” he said.
“We don’t have teleworking in this sector and two have already told me that they have a cough and so I told them to stay at home. What else could I do?” He said.
Albano Ribeiro is also worried about the Portuguese workers who are working on building sites overseas, especially Europe where the pandemic has reached critical levels and who have been lately returning home.
“The vast majority are continuing to work, some have begun working here in Portugal again and the Government should take measures and lead by example,” said Ribeiro.
Real estate developers in Portugal are demanding support from the Government including tax exemptions, a suspension of the three year deadline on property tax exemptions (IMT), credit lines, a suspension on interest rates on capital loans or even the capital repayments for real estate projects for a six month period.
Hugo Santos Ferreira of the APPII says “developers will be saddled with significant costs, losses and delays on projects and even when activity gets back to normal they will face delays in getting supply and more product on the market”.