Planning authorities must adapt if construction sector is to survive COVID-19

Staff reporterApril 8, 20200 min read


The property development sector has so far proven to be more insulated to the broader economic chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with developments pressing on where possible.

But the reality is it is only a matter of time before development itself starts to feel the pinch. The normal processes of business are being disrupted and even disabled. This will become fatal to some businesses if action is not taken rapidly.

It’s critical that developers and other industry stakeholders work together now to find mutually beneficial solutions that allow our industry to keep moving in these difficult times.

Planning approval authorities like local Councils in particular need to come to the party.

As supply chains become increasingly disrupted, materials that are critical to meet development compliance are becoming harder to acquire.

If compliance can’t be met, and subdivisions are not completed then titles are not issued – stakeholders don’t get paid and work ceases. It’s a simple domino effect, and all parts of the industry will feel it.

One idea would be to implement a sort of “remaining works schedule” – the idea being that any remaining works that that aren’t complete, as a result of missing materials, can still be issued with an amended statement of compliance – this way settlements and payments keep moving and the industry keeps turning.

If we don’t rise to the challenge presented by this pandemic then we might not have an industry in the foreseeable future.

Our industry has always been renowned for its innovation and agile thinking. It’s needed now more than ever.

FRANCO BEVACQUA is the Managing Director at Charles Lloyd Property Group

Staff reporter

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