Last edited 04 Jan 2021

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ICPMA Institute / association Website

Construction strategies for SE Asia



Countries in SE Asia are investing in major projects to modernise societies. This article looks at two initiatives that need to happen quickly along with two other related observations.

Priority setting

The construction industry needs to be prioritised. Ramping up construction activity will increase total output and will also provide much needed employment - the industry is amongst the largest employers of labour and professionals. Consumer spending will be stimulated too, helping other sectors to recover.

Priority should be for major infrastructure and large building projects where physical distancing is possible (due to post COVID-19 measures) and easier to implement. Since the availability of many materials will be restricted due to the lockdowns, governments need to create policies that will guarantee supplies will remain sufficient for critical projects. Non-critical projects should remain inactive until the supply of materials normalises.

Companies will be reviewing their strategic priorities, and some projects may be cancelled, put on hold or re-planned for performance and profitability. Companies will want to finish projects that are almost complete, to collect the payments in order to survive.

Design factors

Professionals who can undertake quick and efficient planning, and those with proven experience, will be in high demand. I identify those with cost and time control skills as being crucial in order to complete projects successfully.

Requirements for design may slow down as some projects will go through strategic realignments; and new projects will take longer to come to light. Some pre-design feasibility work for new projects will still be undertaken.

It is crucial that construction projects are kick-started in this region in the earliest timescales possible, otherwise the long-term impacts of the corona pandemic will take years to eradicate and the progress that was once enjoyed will be lost.

The piece was first published on 4 May 2020 under the title, 'What's happening in SE Asia?' on Post Corona 2020. It was written by Brian Regalado, Ambassador for the International Construction Project Management Association (ICPMA) and architect, educator and construction project manager.


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