The construction sector is in for a world of pain due to the coronavirus shutdown and industry leaders are calling for urgent stimulus measures.
The construction sector is in for a world of pain due to the coronavirus shutdown and industry leaders are calling for urgent stimulus measures.

Building boss warns of coronavirus ‘blood bath’

BRUSH STROKES

CITY Beat was so sick of staring at the baby-poo coloured walls of his humble abode during the pandemic lock down that he decided to get the professionals in from Rochele Painting to apply some good old white on white.

We hear other homes owners stuck at home also have used the down time to get the tradespeople in, helping firms like Rochele, 45-year-old family company based at Albion. (Disclosure: your diarist paid top dollar for his paint job and after weeks of working in isolation welcomed having some tradies to chat with).

But most of the building industry is set for pretty tough times ahead. Master Builders Queensland chief executive Grant Gavlin has predicted a "blood bath" in the sector unless governments at all levels step in to pump prime the economy.

Galvin has called for big public investments in social housing and regional infrastructure along with the introduction of a new home grant. "Money has never been cheaper so if the government was ever to spend money now is the time to do it," he says. He says once current building contracts have been completed the sector is in for a whole world of pain.

Plantation Homes is just one builder confirming they are already feeling the impact of COVID-19 on consumer confidence and demand.

Plantation Homes general manager Alex Raleigh says the residential construction industry has seen a swift downturn in sales following the various lockdown measures. "Traffic to display centres has dropped by 90 per cent across our business and that of our competitors," he says.

AD VANTAGE

FORMER AFL footballer and now tech wunderkind Brad Moran is one of the few Brisbane businessman with a smile on his face these days.

The 33-year-old co-founder of digital ad company CitrusAd has seen revenue jump in recent weeks as retailers move most of their operations online.

"COVIT-19 has brought the online world forward three to five years," says Moran. "There has been huge growth in online ordering of groceries, liquor and office supplies. It has placed us in a time warp so we think it time to speed things up."

Brad Moran and Nick Paech.
Brad Moran and Nick Paech.

 

CitrusAd now works with 33 retailers in 22 countries with offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. In the UK the company recently signed up catalogue retailer Argos as a client.

Not bad for a company that wasn't around three years ago. Moran says the company will soon move into swish new digs in Adelaide St and is on a hiring spree to add to its current head count of 35. Moran is even talking about a stock market listing down the track.

 MONEY TALKS

IT seems cash is king in these troubled times. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway has built up a record cash fortress of $137 billion at it sold stakes in trouble airlines.

 

 

Observers of the "Oracle of Omaha" says the cash buffer is a sign that the market is in serious trouble and even Buffett doesn't see buying opportunities. Closer to home QSuper now has 28 per cent of its assets in cash or cash equivalents from about 20 per cent a few weeks ago.

 

 

LOGAN'S HEROES

GOOD to see the folks down at Logan are being responsive in relation to the pandemic.

The Logan Office of Economic Development (LOED) has established a support team to respond to the emerging needs of the business community during COVID-19.

Experienced business advisors are providing assistance to access an array of support including government financial support, and business and employee programs. That will include mentors who are available to provide tailored support including financial mentoring and business planning.

SLOW LANE

IT seems the fewer cars and trucks getting around at the moment are encouraging the road hogs out there. Port of Brisbane says that while there are fewer vehicles on the port's local road network many of the remaining drivers are speeding. To remind drivers to slow down, the port has even has produced a car bumper and truck trailer sticker with a simple message: Coronavirus is no excuse for speeding! "We encourage you and your employees to get on board and place this sticker on your car or truck," it says.

Originally published as Building boss warns of coronavirus 'blood bath'



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