Contractors in quake zone struggle to find workers

Contractors in quake zone struggle to find workers

Aysel Alp - ANKARA
Contractors in quake zone struggle to find workers

The Public Contractors and Businessmen’s Association (KAMİAD) has called for equipment and human resources for the construction of 650,000 houses in the earthquake zone, which covers 11 provinces.

The call stated that a large number of additional construction equipment and construction workers are needed in the reconstruction process, noting that wages have already increased several times due to the labor shortage in the region.

The statement called for an urgent mobilization of training for a healthy construction process.

Mehmet Bülbüloğlu, vice-president of the Construction Contractors’ Association (İMKON), said, “We can’t even find personnel for renovation. The government should take action.”

Ali Adıgüzel, president of KAMİAD, said there are problems in the earthquake zone.

“After the meeting on Feb. 25, the prices of construction materials have stabilized, but the rental fees for construction equipment, towers, cranes and labor have increased by up to 200 percent,” he added.

“The operator I hired for 30,000 liras a month has moved to another company for 50,000 liras. The rent of a tower crane increased from 70,000 liras to 225,000 liras per month, and the rent of an excavator and bucket increased from 50,000 Liras to 100,000-120,000 liras. The square meter of tunnel formwork production increased from 250-350 liras to 750 liras.”

Adıgüzel stated that they increased wages in order to find workers in the region, but they are still facing difficulties and said there is a race among contractors to grab workers.

“There are already 40,000 housing tenders, and if this number increases to 100,000-150,000, the sector will be blocked,” he said.

“For this reason, vocational schools and colleges should be activated as a matter of urgency, and the buildings that people entrust their lives should be built with trained, qualified workers.”

Bülbüloğlu also noted that no operating permits were issued for private buildings.

“We cannot even find workers for renovations,” he said. “Most of the people have migrated, and those who didn’t leave either live in containers and tent cities or villages. Our government should take action. Intensive earthquake housing work will begin in the region, and the supply of materials and the increase in the price of materials will make the region unmanageable.”

The government plans to build thousands of new homes in the 11 quake-hit provinces, namely Adana, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır, Elazığ, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Şanlıurfa.

On March 23, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the first groundbreaking ceremony for 17,902 disaster and village houses in Kahramanmaraş.

“We have rolled up our sleeves to build 77,057 disaster houses and 30,310 village houses in Kahramanmaraş after the damage assessments,” he said at the ceremony.

The 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes on Feb. 6 claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people, affecting over 13.5 million in Türkiye’s south.