Free Webinar with Regina De Albertis at the Alsina Italy offices
Webinar topic: Ready to begin: What can we expect for construction?
Construction works started back up again in Italy on 4 May. The construction world is wondering: What does the future hold? It is difficult to predict. In the webinar on 30 April, we tried to begin to clarify some points with Regina De Albertis, president of ANCE (National Association of Young Builders).
Many topics were covered, such as the dialogue between ANCE and the Government: “In these 3 weeks, 3 protocols have been finalised with very good descriptions of the operational procedures that must be followed on work sites (protection devices, sanitation, shifts, etc.). Specifically, all Covid safety costs must be in the project safety document. We must begin with great responsibility, which will cause times and costs to increase. But the good news is that at least we are starting to open up again”.
There is also great concern for the survival of companies and for the future in the short term: “liquidity is the biggest problem. Accounts receivable and times are a problem. And it is a very big problem, because companies have to pay workers. There is also an issue of banks taking a long time to grant loans: it can be up to three months, which is too long.
At ANCE, we have presented a Marshall Plan: the goal for the public sector is to reboot with new construction projects; and the goal for the private sector is to reduce bureaucracy. In general, I hope that public investment goes beyond current expenditures to cover investment in infrastructure as well. We need a long-term perspective that creates employment, not just subsistence.”
Speaking of the future, it’s impossible not to think about a decline in private sector investments: “works in progress will end, but there is fear about starting new projects, impacting Europe at large. It is difficult to predict when this decline will occur, so we must monitor the situation as it develops. I think it will take a while, but eventually we will get back to normal. But there will be changes in the product. For example, houses will have new and different spaces, more connections, and more air circulation technology. I think we will need between 8 and 12 months in the Milan area.”
A historic change in the design of private buildings: “all crises give companies the opportunity to look within, into their processes and products. For example, BIM lets all the players in the building process sit down together and contribute to the project. What’s more, the sector needs to be industrialised. Construction is the least industrialised sector.”
It’s a sector where young people can bring something new: “what we have to contribute as young people is the rebuilding of our way of working, demonstrating the value of our work. In Italy, we represent 22% of the GDP. If construction doesn’t get back on its feet, neither will the country. And I don’t just mean economically, but socially as well. What we do adds quality to people’s lives. We have to get rid of the negative image of builders. Our work is fantastic, and we have to wonder: Would we recommend this job to our children? If only we could be proud of our children doing this job one day.”
It’s an important message, suggesting a radical change in how we think and do business, across the entire building sector.