This crisis could not have been predicted and thus prepared for it. The coronavirus pandemic hit virtually all industries – including the construction industry – in a short time. Marek Sprengel, CEO of Awilux, a manufacturer of windows, doors and accessories, which supplies its solutions for the Polish, German, Belgian and Luxembourg markets.
The omnipresent panic and fear of how long the current situation will last, as well as the rigorous decisions taken by the governments of many countries with the right goal, have caused the construction industry to face many dilemmas.
The crisis on many levels
The pandemic brought about a completely different kind of crisis from the financial one of 2008-2012. – We are currently dealing with a psychological crisis that we have not seen before. Fear for health, ignorance of the duration of the collapse and stagnation, as well as the financial problems of many private individuals and entrepreneurs make us postpone purchasing and investment decisions for a future unknown to us. The construction industry faces the problem of potential investors withdrawing from business decisions and possible restrictions introduced by Polish and foreign governments – says Marek Sprengel, President of Awilux.
At the moment the situation does not look so dramatic. – At the moment, the construction industry is executing orders from February and early March, as well as earlier orders placed with a deferred completion date. As far as I know, many projects are running smoothly and construction sites are trying to take all precautions, including the dispersal of employees. We are currently on the timeline before the worst 3-4 weeks, during which the number of orders will fall dramatically and people will live in uncertainty, trying to answer the question – how much longer will it take? – says Marek Sprengel, President of Awilux and adds – We can see that in fear of an uncertain future the first window companies have started to reduce the prices of their products, but it seems to me that the blockade is not in the price, it is in people’s heads. And even if the windows are now sold for half the price or less, there will be no demand for them.
European markets in times of crisis
Recent reports show that the Luxembourg government has ordered the closure and the securing of all construction sites until further notice. The dynamically changing situation makes one wonder whether other countries will not do the same in expanding the pandemic.
– In Italy, in front of the whole world, the greatest tragedy is currently taking place. I doubt that someone there is thinking about investments now. There are also dangerous signals coming to us from France, where movement restrictions have been introduced. Due to the growing number of illnesses in that area, we can only hope that France will not repeat the fate of Italy. The most pragmatic of the markets is now the German market, which has already protected entrepreneurs by introducing a number of aid schemes,” adds Awilux.
A world after a pandemic – when will this happen?
This question cannot be answered even by the strongest minds at the moment, but the first changes can be expected not before the turn of April/May.
– We can expect changes in the industry as soon as we begin to receive the first information about stabilizing the number of diseases or their withdrawal. This will be a signal that our heads will stop wreaking havoc with fear and uncertainty, and that there will be a desire to return to normal and plan for the next months. Investors will then start placing orders, even with a postponed execution date, for fear of further downtime due to the inability to meet new deadlines. It can be assumed that our sales and demand for our products will be inversely proportional to the number of reported illnesses. And when that moment comes, we have to be ready to go back to our previous lives with all our energy and face the new reality,” adds Marek Sprengel.
According to current signals, the construction industry will return to its full potential, and thus to the state before the pandemic, at the end of the summer season. Marek Sprengel also predicts that once the current situation starts to stabilize, all construction companies, especially those building new facilities, will want to make up for the stagnation.
– The stagnant constructions and projects must start one day and, if possible, even make up for lost time. The world does not like stagnation, so the current state is rather temporary. After all, we will need a strong start and again “all hands will go on board”. In this difficult period, socially responsible entrepreneurs should take care of their employees first and foremost. They will then rebuild companies with them. In the Avilux, the management stopped paying out their salaries and introduced restrictions on new investments, so as to secure funds for payments to employees. We also provided financial support for the hospital in Leszno – to enable the medical staff to function efficiently – with security measures.
The temporary difficulties that we have faced may make the return to normal functioning after the crisis surprise us with many developments. Companies forced to make systemic changes – such as remote working, for example – will want to keep many of them permanent. One thing is certain – entrepreneurs from many countries that will survive the crisis will start working with double the energy to rebuild what has been stopped or destroyed by the pandemic.
More information about Awilux:
Awilux Poland offers state-of-the-art window and door solutions for homes and public buildings. The company has been on the market since 2006, basing its production on German SCHÜCO technology. This means reliability, rigorous adherence to the highest technical standards and accuracy of execution. It attaches great importance to timely and efficient execution of orders, which is ensured by modern and automated production lines and a highly qualified team of employees. The aim of Awilux Polska is to promote solutions aimed at increasing safety and energy efficiency and the use of systems that also take into account the special needs of e.g. children, elderly and disabled people. Awilux Polska operates successfully in Poland and Germany. On the Polish market the company is building a network of showrooms. All partners take part in a regular process of training in SCHÜCO systems and modern assembly techniques. Thanks to this, Awilux aims to remain an important and reliable partner in the implementation of plans and investments for many years to come.