The current coronavirus situation is a cause for anxiety, uncertainty and turmoil across all sectors and construction is no exception.
Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), it had been predicted that there would be an acceleration in the pace of growth in the global construction industry, to 3.1% from 2.6% in 2019. However, given the severe disruption in leading economies worldwide following the outbreak, the forecast for growth in 2020 has now been revised down to 0.5% (according to Global Data)
As construction navigates the covid-19 pandemic, the level of disruption is going to be extremely high.
#Health/ Safety / Employment -
Work is still progressing at most sites but a handful have closed. Work in some of the worst affected areas has been stopped altogether. Hence, the industry is likely to shed jobs. The wellbeing of workers is being prioritized. Quarantines, travel bans, social distancing and hygiene regimes have been imposed.
Nationwide lockdowns saw remote working become the new normal for many project teams.
#Shift in supply and demand -
Supply chain has been impacted as restrictions have imposed many manufacturing plants and factories to slow production
#Legal Issues -
Parties to construction contracts should start reviewing their existing agreement to include but not limited to project notices for default, scheduling and adjustments; project suspension, termination and reinstatement; Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and workplace safety compliance; work force management; material, subcontractor and supply chain delays and impacts; risk management and insurance; claims avoidance or, alternatively, claims management; and the disputes process.
#Jittery clients and lenders –
Because of global economic uncertainty and with downgrades in the economic forecasts, the confidence of the funders and clients has shaken – they fear global recession.
- Industry leaders are lobbying governments worldwide for interventions to support the construction sector
- Businesses now need to plan for success through frequent and consistent communication - -
- budget for the unplanned
- prudent decision making - Firms need to be as agile as possible responding to the situation as it develops with the wellbeing of the community as the most important thing
- #DigitalCollaboration has become critically important. Project and design team meeting are happening virtually.
- Onsite IT infrastructure is now critical – now more than ever an important part of the construction industry
Technology – The saving grace for Construction Firms
Here's a glance at how utilizing technology and innovation could help the construction industry during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. Sustainable innovations aligned with rising trend of constructing smart buildings and cities across the globe can help companies in a big way. Cutting edge technologies like –
- Wearables – can help monitor workers’ health and safety and record health data of all employees
- ERP Software/Technology – this can help maintain the demand-supply chain and save costs
- IoT Connected Sites & Equipment – this can drive operational efficiency and can assist in implementing social distancing
- Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, 3D printing, drone mapping, sensors – have become a reality and can highly enhance productivity while ensuring safety and quality compliance.
- Cloud-based SaaS technology - can enhance productivity by using intelligent construction management and accounting software. BIM (Business Information Modeling) allows architects, engineers and contractors to collaborate on coordinated models so that everyone can have valuable insights into how their work fits in the overall project.
COVID-19 has hit the global economy. Given that infrastructure development is an important factor in economic growth, such disrupters transform how construction activities are viewed and undertaken. The construction sector needs to grab the opportunity to jump on to the digital transformation bandwagon.