It's undeniable that the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic was more than just a healthcare concern. Across numerous countries, its negative impact led to a massive decline in employment due to the danger of contracting COVID-19. Unlike natural calamities like typhoons and earthquakes, it's an obstacle that many nations were unprepared to handle.
The Philippines experienced cumulative losses of P3 billion across key sectors in the country, causing major economic setbacks in tourism, international trade, construction, and more. Although the past few quarters have been difficult, to say the least, there is potential to adapt for the better on how the country is slowly recovering from the pandemic's effects. F8Works’ Founder and Managing President, Peter Robert Roy, believes that the potential for growth isn't far from being a reality, even with the current difficulties that the Philippines is facing now.
The struggle of the construction industry with COVID-19
The impact of COVID-19 on the Philippines' construction industry resulted in a stop of most works in Luzon and other parts of the country, with a 22.4% reduction from 39,762 projects to a staggering decline of 30,838. PSA data shows that this resulted in P21.6 billion in losses of construction activities. The present difficulties of construction workers' mobility, together with limited movement of construction materials, make it a troubling setting during the first few months of the pandemic.
The impact of COVID-19 can be seen as a struggle to return to the status quo. However, many nations overcoming this healthcare issue are seen to go beyond the "new normal" by discovering opportunities that can benefit their countries for the better. Not unlike the Philippines' current struggles, Peter Robert Roy's career is an answer to choosing between sustainability and opportunity.
Comparing the advantages of sustainability vs opportunity
It's not uncommon for people to find a sense of sustainability by being a part of a larger business entity. A steady career progression and the sustainability of a 13th-month pay have their benefits. However, Peter Roy realized that he could develop his career with his own path as long as he matched it with an unwavering desire and dedication to reach for higher goals.
A graduate of BS Mechanical Engineering in the University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City, he came from a family of mostly civil engineers. He started with humble beginnings by working as a dining crew at Jollibee during his formative years. After graduating college, he began work in former senator president Arroyo's office for the Mt. Pinatubo Rehabilitation Mega dike.
Afterward, he had the chance to work at several big-name companies such as MIESCOR for their Air Liquide Plant in Taguig, the Research and Development Department of Ayala Land on their developments in Makati and Ortigas Central Business Districts. Eventually, he landed a position at Empire East Landholdings Inc. where he was a Project Development Assistant in Corporate Planning and Land banking Division. Although he was experiencing the benefits of a relatively successful career, he found that there was still potential for him to grow as an individual. It was at this point in his career that he considered the value of starting his own business.
The initial idea of F8Works conception was a time for contemplation in Peter Roy 's career path. Risking the comfort of employment was the most challenging obstacle for Roy to make. Nevertheless, he chose to pursue his own aspirations by resigning in 2006 and starting F8works Construction Corp.
Understanding F8Works' secret to success
"When you're into business, you may not have the comfort of your monthly salary. But there is no ceiling as long as you work hard for it."
Peter Roy 's simple albeit ambitious formula for success began with aiming for P100K worth of projects when starting his construction company. Eventually, by using the Power of Tenths, he strived to reach for a million, then ten million, then a hundred million, to project his goals in line with his company's reach. Peter Roy states that "Dreaming big is free; and if some people can do it, you can do it too." Although his dreams may seem ludicrous at first glance, he backs them up with an outstanding work ethic and the willingness to risk it all.
Besides his goal-oriented mindset, he points to three key principles that drive his company's success: Experience, Trust, and Confidence.
Similar to the Philippines' adaptation to COVD-19 responses, it takes a gradual learning curve to overcome difficulties in starting a business. Like any young entrepreneur, he needed to utilize his Experience to make the right choices for his company. With his 20 years of industry experience, he was able to break through these hurdles with his previous knowledge of handling a diverse set of clients. This also allowed him to service several sectors to make a name for his own brand.
Next comes Trust. Peter Roy believes that aspiring business owners must work with people they can depend on. This allows him to be hands-on in learning from mistakes while also discovering his team's strengths. Most of his staff has been with him since 2008, from foremen to painters. By curating a strong bond with his team over 12 years, he can now entrust them to be his right-hand people in every project. Besides his technical companions, he also recommends developing a good relationship with your financial partners. Creating good credit gives you the chance to secure loans from banks to provide for your logistical needs.
Finally comes Confidence. Peter Roy states that "In construction, sometimes you acquire projects that are not always a win. But you should always keep in mind that once you enter into an agreement and you signed that contract, make sure you finish and deliver that project at 100%. Part of giving your all is presenting yourself as a capable contractor." He adds that, "You need to be confident in communicating with your client and building your networks. Your courage will set you apart from fellow entrepreneurs and even long-time players in the industry." He recommends utilizing your technical advantage in establishing yourself as a reliable service.
Dreaming big and paying big
Peter Roy handled minor development projects such as interior improvements, residential renovations, expansions, and landscaping. As of date, he has built around 20 branches of Ministop and Warehouses. Their wide variety of projects include Sun Cellular Shops, BPO at Digitel, branches of Southstar Drug, various houses including Laguna Belair, townhouse projects in Paranaque and Las Pinas, and several Megaworld Projects.
More recently, F8works acquired projects with Prime Global Corporation's Offices, which consists of two floors in The Currency, Ortigas, along with San Diego Mactan Inc. for two of their towers, Tower A and B at 81 Xavier Residences, and various residential and commercial projects.
Peter Roy 's recipe for success translated well into his work ethic and willingness to service his clients' vision. "I really enjoy it whenever I see the plans come to life. It gives me and my team fulfillment seeing what we have accomplished and the quality of work we have delivered." said Peter Roy on why he continues to serve his role of being in the construction industry. Being able to deliver his collaborator's vision from the broadest perspective to the smallest details is a most rewarding experience for him and his team.
Just as he found success with his own career path, Peter Roy is hopeful that Filipinos can match up to the industry standard of foreign architects, engineers, and contractors. He believes that our local engineers and architects can aspire to build structural feats that can be famous worldwide in construction and architectural design.
Currently, the company's goal is to align with Hotel and Resorts Developments. Peter Roy sees the Philippines' potential to flourish in the coming years with the coinciding deadlines of numerous infrastructure projects in highways, airports, expressways, and more.
Making adaptations in management and design
Change is an inevitable part of running a business. The COVID-19 pandemic was one obstacle that many were unprepared to face. Since May of 2020, many businesses have had to make adjustments to ensure their staff and customers' safety with the start of a series of lockdowns throughout the nation. For example, malls had to reinforce strict social distancing protocols by providing sanitation areas and strengthening occupancy numbers to avoid overcrowding. Logistics providers, restaurants, and even hospitality sectors all had to implement numerous adaptations to maintain their operations – the construction industry is no exception to these changes.
F8works had delays during construction and difficulty in collections as with any other establishment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Adjustments in construction led to cutting down productivity to 50% with a limited staff to adhere to safety regulations. Included in these changes are implementing other guidelines like the necessity of having face shields and facemasks in work areas. Regular testing is necessary for all employees, with regular check-ups to see if there are any workers displaying symptoms of COVID-19. Besides following these healthcare protocols, Peter Roy goes the extra mile to provide his staff with a shuttle service from their house to and from their offices regularly and assigning only local workers to participate in nearby projects. These practices create an extra layer of security in maintaining the well-being of his operations and staff.
Prime Global Corporate Office Project at The Currency Tower, Ortigas Central Business District
"There's no need for a 'slow-down' in construction during or even after the pandemic because the construction industry is one of the prime movers in our economy. After delivering a project, these structures will create a whole new supply of jobs."
Beyond changes in management and operations due to the pandemic, architectural projects will also face a shift in design preferences. Peter Roy believes that concern over COVID-19 will open the market for contactless fixtures in construction projects. This includes biometric scanners, motion sensors, centralized air purifiers, UV sanitizers, and other contactless features that are the norm in countries like Japan. He sees this as an opportunity to develop smart homes and commercial establishments that contain these additions.
Projecting the potential direction of the construction and development industry
Peter Roy has a positive view of how the tourism industry will soon make a substantial comeback to boost the economy. He states that "There's no need for a 'slow-down' in construction during or even after the pandemic because the construction industry is one of the prime movers in our economy. After delivering a project, these structures will create a whole new supply of jobs. It will range from contractual workers, salesmen, office/ restaurant employees to executives. Thus, we can help each other's
With his hometown in Bicol showing potential as a prime tourist hotspot with the ongoing development of the Quezon-Bicol Expressway, he believes that its variety of natural locations for natural and pristine beaches like Catanduanes, Caramoan, Sorsogon, and more can topple the popularity of Palawan and Boracay within 5 to 10 years. Its closeness to Metro Manila will be one of its strongest selling points once infrastructures are in place to make travel easier for locals and tourists alike.
Besides advancements in the tourism sector, he's hopeful that future engineers will consider serving clients in the agricultural sector. One of the many insights he learned during the pandemic is the importance of farming and livestock for food provision. It was a necessity for everyone. He sees it as a potential market that up-and-coming entrepreneurs should see as a valuable benefit to the Philippine economy.
Megaworld's Greenhills Heights Condominium Clubhouse at San Juan City (top), Suntrust's Treetop Villas Clubhouse at Mandaluyong City (middle left), Megaworld's Forbestown Showroom at BGC (bottom left), Megaworld's Pinecrest Condominium Clubhouse at Resort World, Newport City
Answering COVID-19's obstacles by going beyond our comfort zones
After facing the ramifications of COVID-19, the Philippines is one of the many nations that must answer the call to learn and adapt to its surroundings. Unlike the physical impact of natural disasters, the pandemic's long-term effects will signal a potential for growth and advancement unlike ever before.
In line with Peter Roy 's projections, The construction industry is estimated to reach a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 18.2%, which will reach P2,221.2 billion by 2024. Although the COVID-19 outbreak led to an economic down term, there's significant evidence that points to medium to long-term positive outcomes for the next 8 quarters.
Additionally, revitalizing the tourism industry in the new normal will also be in sight by realigning existing business models to curb apprehensions about travel in general. This means business owners must implement safety as their priority by promoting digital travel, customized experiences, and refurbished facilities that will fit in observance with healthcare protocols.
Residential Fit Out at at West Tower, Serendra BGC
"Instead of returning to our comfort zones, it's necessary to look forward to what adaptations and innovations we can develop by facing new challenges."
Peter Roy is hopeful that the construction industry will look at these troubling times as an opportunity to focus on what matters in the Philippine economy. Besides the hospitality sector, he believes that there's a need to prioritize the welfare of the Filipino people. There must also be an initiative to spend more on disaster risk prevention in all construction projects, including biological calamities like the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of returning to our comfort zones, it's necessary to look forward to what adaptations and innovations we can develop by facing new challenges. By recognizing the opportunities that will come ahead, it's not unlikely that the Philippines will bounce back stronger than ever before.