How could Serbia cope with expensive squares and lack of construction materials?

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The crisis caused by Covid 19 led to a shortage and increase in the price of construction materials, and thus to a jump in the prices of newly built real estate.
According to the director for Southeast Europe of the company PlanRadar, Bojan Petkovic, most of these goods come from China and the Far East. The main reason for this is cheaper transportation. However, with the closure of trade channels due to the pandemic, the world faced a shortage of materials.
How could Serbia deal with that?
“We witnessed the construction material getting stuck at the borders last year. Transportation became more expensive, and Western countries began to create stocks in fear. The states in the former Yugoslavia, however, are not able to buy such large quantities. That is still the case in Serbia, more evident than in Slovenia, which, due to EU membership, better access and logistics, has a more favorable position,” says Petkovic.
Therefore, he claims, our country could be a link between the East and the West, but it is up to us to decide whether and how we will use the role of the “buffer zone”.
“There are three things to pay attention to. The first is the fact that despite the pandemic, the state invests a lot in infrastructure, especially in ‘green’ projects. Second, Serbia is focused on importing materials – steel comes primarily from foreign markets. It is not realistic to expect a reduction in prices for the state to turn to local producers until it does that,” says our interlocutor.
The third thing would be – digitization
“It is something that is already applied by foreign, western companies. They use digital platforms to optimize delivery on construction sites – providers see when their customers need some goods and then offer them, shorten the time of arrival of goods and possible delays, transport is better organized,” he explains.
However, the countries of Southeast Europe are characterized by the fact that they are stuck on the first step of digital transformation. The quality of construction, he says, could be significantly improved by using appropriate software that improves control.
“So, when someone notices a shortcoming – it is either automatically solved or permanently recorded or asking for help. Things are so much more efficient than when numerous, popular today, forms of written communication such as email, Viber, WhatsApp, etc. are used,” Petkovic.
He also cites some interesting data obtained by a study they published this year, when they examined the opinions of contractors, investors and designers.
“32.5% of those who decided to make changes did so precisely to improve communication. 95% of respondents say they are ready to use new communication tools, but at the same time 60% of them said they were satisfied with the current situation. The key reasons for this bypass are the financial situation, which does not allow many to improve their way of working, but also the inadaptability of the software to specific processes in the company,” he explains.
As one of the solutions, he cites “subscription” models that have recently become popular, and which allow clients to use them only when they really need them, which reduces costs.
“In addition, we need to work on making the software flexible enough to adapt to the needs of companies, since it is clear that it is impossible to create a platform for each company separately,” our interlocutor points out.
He notices another shortcoming in our market.
“The practice of analyzing missed opportunities has not yet taken root in our country – for every deadline or any other deviation from the original plan. Unfortunately, this is insufficiently quantified, and it would contribute to a clearer picture of business,” he concludes, Kamatica reports.