Communication Effectiveness at Construction Site during COVID-19 Outbreak in Malaysia: IEEE Region 10 newsletter COVID-19 heroes series

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#COVID-19 pandemic #Communications Management #construction #IoT # communications # effectiveness

Communication Effectiveness at Construction Site during COVID-19 Outbreak in Malaysia Case Study of G7 Contractors by IEEE Malaysia section is a video as part of IEEE Region 10 newsletter committee's COVID-19 heroes video series.

Case Studies of G7 Contractors Authors: Chitdrakantan Subramaniam, Syuhaida Ismail, and Wan Nurul Mardiah Wan Mohd Rani, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur (UTMKL).

The construction industry is severely impacted due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. As a labor-intense industry contributed 7.2 percent of the annual growth rate, the construction industry is impacted by the current 60 percent decline in the annual turnover due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Movement Control Order (MCO) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has currently stalled all activities at the construction sites. The construction industry is facing a bleak future. Delays at construction sites are certain and would subsequently result to cost escalation. Many companies are unable to cope with such losses.

Apart from that, many construction workers are in despair as they have lost their jobs. Taking note of the inimical impact on the construction industry, the Government of Malaysia through being cautious has decided to loosen the restriction under the MCO and slowly allow activities to resume at the construction sites. The stakeholders affected by this intervention are apparently the construction employees who are largely involved in the day-to-day construction activities at sites and other construction industry stakeholders, namely the contractors and sub-contractors, consultants, developers, clients suppliers, and those involved in the construction industry supply chain.

Hence, effective communications management (CM) is crucial in construction projects as it is very complex and involves various stakeholders, especially during MCO, where physical meetings and discussions are limited. The use of online work environments could be the panacea for the construction industry, but even these solutions require effective CM.

The construction industry does not have the luxury of working from home, because there is a substantial need for physical presence. Therefore, the study aims to investigate the communication effectiveness at the construction site during the COVID-19 outbreak based on the CM practice in Malaysia. This study undertakes 3 case studies involving G7 contractor companies currently working on mixed development projects in Malaysia. A series of interviews were conducted with the top management at the construction site to examine each company's current CM practice.

On the other hand, a set of questionnaire surveys was distributed to the general workers to assess communication effectiveness during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, two of these contractor companies demonstrate high communication effectiveness due to the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT), morning briefing, single lingual use, and friendly communication approach.

However, the other contractor company shows poor communication effectiveness due to a lack of IoT implementation, multilingual practice, and inferior communication approach at the construction site. This study concludes that construction management practice directly affects communication effectiveness at the construction site.

The use of the single lingual practice, IoT implementation such as barcode scanning for latest instruction and report updates to keep site workers updated, and a friendly communication approach at the construction site help the general worker understand better increase communication effectiveness.

Communication Effectiveness at Construction Site during COVID-19 Outbreak in Malaysia Case Study of G7 Contractors by IEEE Malaysia section is a video as part of IEEE Region 10 newsletter committee's COVID-19 heroes video series