Bush and dogged downfall impact construction industry

The construction industry in the UAE took a beating last week due to heavy rain and US president George Bush's visit to the country.

Pain in the rain: Civilco workers go back to work
Pain in the rain: Civilco workers go back to work

The construction industry in the UAE took a beating last week due to heavy rain and US president George Bush's visit to the country.

Last Monday was declared a public holiday and all major roads in the city were closed, bringing construction to a complete standstill.

According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, the country's GDP was US $163 billion (AED599 billion) in 2006 with the construction sector bringing in 15%.

 

With that estimate it would mean the sector would lose around $67 million per day if work on construction sites across the country is stopped.

According to Aju Sharfuddin, safety manager of Abu Dhabi-based Civilco, the loss of a day on site means around $136,000 is lost in workers' salaries.

"Also, we've lost a lot of production due to the rain," he said.

"We have about 1,200 workers unable to go to work because of the safety hazard. Formwork is so slippery and wet that everything has been stopped."

Sharfuddin added that damage has also been done to protective clothing and materials.

"In order to avoid further losses we have to invest in waterproof boots and raincoats so that we can work in the rain.

"And materials that weren't protected carefully, like cement, have been damaged.

"We'll know the full effect of the damage at the end of the month when are accountants get together."

The rain has also damaged machinery and construction equipment.

"The holiday won't really affect us that much but the disruption due to the rain is going to hurt us," said Paul Austin-Price, sales and marketing manager for Al Bakhit Construction Equipment.

"January is normally a good month for us, but now we'll have to write it off. On the hiring front, no one requires anything because no one's working.

"Quite a few of our machines have also been damaged due to them getting waterlogged.

"The rain makes us vulnerable. Drainage needs to be sorted out. It rains every year so there's no excuse for not being prepared."

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