We Unpack the Construction Sector’s Problems & Talk Solutions
The past three years have been quite a rollercoaster, so it’s nice to return to a new normal. But for many South African businesses and industries, the post-pandemic excitement is short-lived.
Everyone feels the impacts of loadshedding, global supply chain issues, and extreme weather conditions. And the South African construction sector was hit just as hard.
The Energy Crisis
South Africans feel the sting of loadshedding no matter what stage we’re on. The ongoing energy crisis is causing massive setbacks in the construction industry.
Companies and developers find ways to work around power outages. Quick fixes like inverters and generators keep projects up and running. Some construction projects even ask for an exemption from loadshedding to remain on schedule.
While this works temporarily, they are short-term solutions for a bigger problem. Power outages also affect manufacturing, so there is a significant shortage of building materials like steel. That increases costs and timelines. Projects experience delays, become prolonged, or worse, abandoned. International investors are pretty hesitant to finance construction projects here, hurting the industry’s growth more.
Post-pandemic Work Culture
Before the pandemic, commercial office spaces were the norm. With the introduction of remote work, the future of these spaces is in question.
Even companies using hybrid work models – having employees come into the office intermittently throughout the week – are considering downsizing.
Cost-cutting and retrenchments are ongoing following the pandemic. Businesses are now looking to rent smaller, temporary workspaces where employees can hot desk, i.e., use any work area without having an assigned desk or cubicle.
So, what does this mean for construction? In a post-pandemic world, commercial office spaces may not be necessary anymore.
What Can We Do About Loadshedding?
While our industry faces some tough challenges, we have always been a country of problem solvers.
When it comes to the energy crisis, we need actual transformation. Experts say renewable energy is the fastest, most cost-effective way to resolve the issue. Wind and solar plants are practical and can be up and running in less than two years.
The mining sector and local municipalities have already started initiatives to produce their own electricity supply using alternative energy sources like solar and nuclear. Relying on a single electricity supplier is no longer a sustainable option.
The construction industry needs to follow suit. Putting pressure on the government to explore alternative energy sources as a collective will accelerate these initiatives.
What’s Next for Office Spaces?
How we work is changing, and that means changing our spaces too. Co-working or renting out temporary workspaces may be the next step in a post-pandemic, remote/hybrid world.
For businesses and companies, the benefits are obvious. It’s cost-saving and scalable. The flexibility of these agreements works well for growing companies and smaller businesses. Built-in facilities like internet connection, printers, and kitchen and bathroom amenities also reduce overhead costs.
For the construction industry, this means building more of these spaces for the South African market. Popular workspaces like WeWork, Huddle and Workbar are good examples of co-working spaces. Short-term office rental spaces can thrive in larger cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Architects and designers should encourage the growth of these spaces, which holds potential for businesses and communities.
Steel Studio’s Approach to These Challenges
As long-time professionals in the industry, Steel Studio understands these challenges well. Local businesses like ours are fundamental to the growth of the construction sector. Despite these problems, we must find ways to do our part.
We’re committed to improving our business to become a reliable service provider of balustrades, pool enclosures, and staircases. As we work through these challenges together, the industry needs trusted partners. Steel Studio is always looking for big and small ways to make a positive impact, not just in the construction sector but also in the communities we develop.
We are fully aware of the setbacks caused by the energy crisis. As the preferred installers of mild steel and stainless steel, our commercial and private projects always take priority. As a service provider, we do our best to ensure projects are completed on time. And what’s more, we never compromise on delivery, safety, and compliance. Steel Studio always looks for practical solutions to loadshedding and power outage delays to get the job done.
As for the future of hybrid workspaces, we consider this challenge to be more of an opportunity. Steel Studio frequently customises designs for clients, small or large scale. As innovators in the industry, we keep up with the latest trends in construction. We believe in creating dream spaces for our clients, in design, building, and manufacturing. If hybrid and remote workspaces are the future of commercial offices, we’re up to the task.
Steel Studio knows that quality installation and building materials are key for this to work. That’s why we’re willing to go the extra mile, using mixed materials such as cable, wood, and stainless steel. With years of experience in the business, we’re always at the forefront of design and aesthetic trends.