DMCI Project Developers, Inc. (DMCI Homes) said it would offer shelter and bicycle loans to more workers amid a coronavirus pandemic.

The residential arm of Consunji-led DMCI Holdings, Inc. has expanded the barracks capacity at its building sites to 4,202 workers from 3,108 in March, it said in a statement on Thursday.

The company would also provide vitamin supplements and a loan program for bicycles that workers may use to report for work while public transportation remains limited.

“We understand the mobility limitations and health risks faced by our workers,” DMCI Homes President and Chief Executive Officer Alfredo R. Austria said in the statement.

“By increasing our barracks capacity, we hope to attract more workers and contain the spread of the coronavirus,” he added.

The company expects about 5,000 workers to avail themselves of the program. Employees can pay the bicycles through salary deductions for six to seven months. About 322 workers have already signed up for the program, it said.

Construction work was suspended for about two months starting mid-March, when the government imposed strict quarantine measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

DMCI Homes has commissioned a 180-cubic meter-per-hour concrete batching plant in Pasig City to help speed up concreting works to address the backlog.

It also started to use modularization — a method where building components are made in advance and then assembled for construction — to “allow the company to rationalize manpower deployment without compromising project turnover schedules.”

It is also investing in material handling equipment to reduce the need for manual labor.

“This pandemic has affected the real estate sector in many different ways,” Mr. Austria said. “The best way forward is really adaptation. We need to learn to live with this virus.”

DMCI Holdings, which also has interests in mining, construction, water and power, reported a 69% drop in income in the first half to P2 billion. DMCI Homes contributed P38 million to the group’s core profit, 97% lower than a year earlier.

Shares at DMCI Holdings closed 0.25% or a centavo lower at P3.92 each on Thursday. — Denise A. Valdez