Without Ukrainian workers, construction sites in Slovakia may face difficulties

Uncertainty hits the Slovak construction industry.

Stock image.Stock image. (Source: TASR)

Construction industry companies have warned of uncertainty over prices and the availability of materials and products in the coming months as suppliers struggle to guarantee both prices and deadlines.

This comes after many announced price rises of about 10 percent from April.

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According to Tomáš Surovčák, project department director at the Žilina-based company Reinoo, the increases have largely been for basic building materials such as cement, brick, steel, and plastic products.

Critical shortage

"Estimating further development in the construction market is very difficult at the moment, because of several external factors, such as the availability of materials and [whether there is] a sufficient workforce," said Surovčák, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

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Development will also be dependent on banks' mortgage provision policy.

Jan Krákora, a construction manager at the Czech company Metrostav, added that there is currently a critical shortage of metal materials, especially rolled steel and concrete reinforcement. Because of shortages, suppliers have stopped taking orders and the price of goods in stock has soared.

"For example, deliveries of autoclaved aerated concrete blocks take almost three to four months, while it is four weeks for plasterboard," said Krákora.

Meanwhile, shortages have been reported of construction plywood produced in Russia and Ukraine, and transport costs have risen significantly with transport capacities lacking.

"Virtually all manufacturers and suppliers have updated their business conditions to minimise their liability when delivering goods," added the Metrostav construction manager.

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Thousands of workers needed

In the first two months of 2022, construction output in Slovakia increased by 7.1 percent year on year. However, production volumes were significantly down on pre-pandemic levels.

In order to maintain growth, the number of workers in the industry needs to increase by about 8,000 a year, according to the Alliance of Sectoral Councils.

However, some Ukrainian workers have left Slovakia because of the war in their country. These are mainly construction workers who make up a significant proportion of the workforce on construction sites. It is expected this could lead to disruptions in construction production.

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