Editor's letter: The need to stay calm and carry on

Coronavirus has impacted every aspect of the GCC’s economy but we must rally on and stay positive

Construction Week editor Ashley Williams
Construction Week editor Ashley Williams

The pandemic COVID-19 outbreak has undoubtedly shaken the whole world and businesses are feeling the brunt of the virus.

With multiple sector events being cancelled and several Middle East markets almost in lockdown, it has been worrying times for the construction sector with travel bans, material delays, legal issues, jittery clients, and most importantly, health and safety all causing headaches for developers.

While the coronavirus pandemic was unforeseeable, contractors may still be contractually responsible for delays or cost overruns on current projects, which is drying up finances until the uncertainty passes.

Following the outbreak, construction companies are putting in place rigorous travel guidance for employees, as well as shutdowns and bans meaning that firms are turning to teleworking and other technologies to keep businesses running smoothly.

As you will see later on in our magazine issue, lawyers are also getting involved on how to rectify the issues being caused by coronavirus, including taking note of any force majeure provisions that allow work to be suspended or terminated when certain extenuating circumstances arise.

The impact of COVID-19 has also left Construction Week having to make short-term repercussions to maintain its reputation.

As many of you may already know, the fear-factor of the virus has led to us having to postpone all of our March conferences and awards – Leaders in Construction KSA Summit on the 4 March in Riyadh, Dispute Resolution Dubai on the 25 March, and Construction Week Oman Awards in Muscat on the 30 March.

This decision was not taken lightly, but we needed to prioritise the safety of our delegates and high-profile speakers, as well as to enable Construction Week’s events to deliver the best possible coverage for our industry.

As promised, these postponed events will go ahead this year.

Dispute Resolution Dubai will now take place on 30 June, Leaders in Construction KSA Summit to co-incide with our awards on 30 September, while the Oman Awards will take place on Wednesday 24 June.

With this in mind, the outbreak has also resulted in Construction Week’s magazine issues to be published on a monthly basis for the next three months, and will return to its bi-weekly edition from July.

Times are certainly tough, but despite the challenges, we must not forget that we have gone through similar struggles and construction businesses have overcome them in the past.

Let’s stick together and remember that this storm will blow over.

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Construction Week - Issue 765
Jun 29, 2020