Construction work to slow down in Ramadan

Working on an empty stomach with temperatures forecast to reach up to 50 Celsius, it's going to be tough for construction workers this Ramadan.

Working on an empty stomach with temperatures forecast to reach up to 50 Celsius, it’s going to be tough for construction workers this Ramadan.

Several construction companies will suspend work on their projects this Ramadan owing to labor policies which do not permit working for more than four hours a day after breaking of the fast and in view of the long duration of fasts of more than 15 hours a day this year in unusually hot weather conditions.

The holy month of Ramadan coinciding with the hot summer this year coupled with the mandatory midday break for workers coming into effect, will result in construction activity being confined to only three hours from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. forcing several contractors to suspend work.

The main problem facing the construction sector is that it cannot extend construction activities beyond a certain time as it would disturb the peace in areas adjoining the project sites.

Abdullah Radwan, chairman of the contractors committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said: “About 30 percent of construction firms will halt day-time work as most workers fast during Ramadan and they cannot be exposed to the summer heat. So we can only operate from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. but the nights are too short in summer for any significant productivity.”

Speaking to Arab News, he said: “We let our workers do limited construction work during Ramadan like preparing construction material and removing debris. We do not like them to be involved in tough construction activity in Ramadan.”

“However, there are construction companies which continue with their building activity during Ramadan without bothering about the residents living near the construction sites owing to factors like meeting the completion deadlines which influence operations,” he added.

At the same time, the Ministry of Labor has imposed the mandatory midday break to offer some respite to laborers who work in the sun during the summer. All construction companies are expected to follow the restricted timings during summer, but with Ramadan coinciding with the harsh weather conditions this year, the problems of construction companies have compounded.

According to Article 236 of the Labor Law, individuals and companies that violate the midday work ban could be fined up to SR10,000 per violation.

The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) said the heat wave could prevail over the western regions of Makkah, Madinah and the Red Sea coastal cities on Monday. The PME has also forecast that Saudi cities can expect the mercury to touch 50 degrees Celsius and beyond in the month of Ramadan.





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