Cebu contractors turn to tech amid labor shortage

Cebu contractors turn to tech amid labor shortage
BRIDGING GAP. Kevin Sean Lim, Philconstruct Visayas chairman, says PhilConstruct bridges the gap between technology and the problems in construction. / KATLENE O. CACHO-LAUREJAS

MEMBERS of the Cebu Contractors Association (CCA) are now gradually adopting technology in their businesses to cope with the labor shortage.

In an interview on Thursday, June 20, 2024, Kevin Sean Lim, Philconstruct Visayas chairman stressed that the shortage of skilled workers continues to affect the industry in the post-pandemic environment.

“It is still a problem. It’s actually a good problem because the lack of construction manpower means people have progressed. They have better jobs. We are happy about this but this leaves us problems,” he said.

Skilled workers, including those in construction, have been leaving the country for better job opportunities and higher salaries. However, new technologies have emerged to provide solutions.

Lim said that CCA, with at least 200 members, is now slowly shifting towards investing in technology such as machinery, tools, and software.

“With the new technologies now, equipment and tools, we don’t need as much manpower as we used to before,” he said.

Lim recalled that if in the past, concreting required 200 workers, with the aid of technology, the job gets done by 10 to 12 workers.

Same with painting a condo unit. Lim said before finishing the job would require three to four workers but with the aid of spray painting machine the job gets done by one worker.

“This is what we do in PhilConstruct. This is where we help bridge the gap between technology and the problems in construction,” Lim said.

Besides manpower shortage, high inflation is another challenge the sector is facing.

“One of our problems now is inflation, which is a hindrance to development. Hopefully, we can do something about it,” he said.

According to Lim, the cost to build now is higher because of inflation. “When inflation goes up not only does cost of materials go up but also wages go up and all of these are passed on to our clients,” he said.

As a result, Lim added that clients are waiting for better timing, hoping for inflation to go down because they don’t want to wait longer for their ROI (return on investment).

Cebu’s construction is thriving

But despite these challenges, Lim said Cebu’s construction industry has rebounded well after the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The construction industry is strong. Developments are all around the city,” he said.

High demand in construction is seen in the residential and hospitality sectors. The government’s housing program and farm-to-market roads are also creating more jobs and revenue for sector.

PhilConstruct Visayas 2024

PhilConstruct Visayas kicked-off its three-day construction show from June 20 to 22, 2024, at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino on Thursday, June 20.

Anchored on the theme “A Journey of Growth, Sustainability and Progress in the Digital Era,” the Philippine Constructors Association Inc. (PCA) and CCA), the event’s organizing body, reaffirmed their commitment to holistic nation-building.

Beyond facilitating business synergies, PhilConstruct said it serves as a platform for promoting eco-conscious solutions, harmonizing progress with sustainability.

This year’s show highlights comprehensive array of offerings ranging from building supplies to innovative technology and urban solutions.

“Our pride extends beyond merely showcasing the pinnacle of technological advancements at each event; we’re equally committed to fostering a conducive environment for generating fruitful business opportunities for all involved,” said engineer Ruben Cueto, chairman of PhilConstruct.

PhilConstruct Visayas offers a lineup of seminars and discussions, including fleet management, HVAC/R, plumbing, sustainable construction and concrete solutions, among others.

“PhilConstruct continues to take immense pride in embarking on yet another year of showcasing an array of brands spanning various sectors within the construction industry, highlighting their capabilities that undoubtedly stand strong on the global stage,” said PCA president engineer Ronaldo Elepano Jr.

PhilConstruct Visayas 2024 has over 300 booths on display, representing over 750 brands, outdoor equipment showcases and over 30 seminars. / KOC

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