BUS-DUBAI-CONSTRUCTION13-(Read-Only)
Workers at a construction site in UAE. Construction companies in the UAE and Gulf experienced a sharp contraction in first quarter, with the process accelerating in March, according to a poll conducted by dmg events, the organizer of The Big 5 trade show. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Construction companies in the UAE and Gulf experienced a sharp contraction in first quarter, with the process accelerating in March. That month, more than 60 per cent confirmed they saw a drop in revenues, according to a poll conducted by dmg events, the organizer of The Big 5 trade show.

They don’t expect an improvement in the second quarter either. “Constrained revenues are expected to continue,” the poll finds. “A majority of respondents (61 per cent) believe the second quarter will end with a reduction.”

And there are those who still expect an improvement this quarter – 23 per cent of respondents agreed with this thought.

Construction activity has continued in the UAE through the weeks when restrictions were put on most commercial activity. But project sites and contractors had to ensure strict guidelines were followed at all times to combat any risk of COVID-19.

But April was the toughest month, going by poll findings. “Of those surveyed, 64 per cent expect to see a further reduction month-on-month - just 16 per cent were forecasting an increase,” the report states.

In an industry that was already facing severe financial constraints, COVID-19 has added to the worries.

Despite projects continuing in most cases, 12 per cent of those polled said the construction industry seen redundancies, and 26 per cent confirmed there had been pay cuts.

As was the case in other sectors, enforced leave with pay (22 per cent) and unpaid (18 per cent) was taken up by contractors as well.