Sources: Associated Builders & Contractors, Washington, D.C.; CP staff
Supply chain disruptions, prolonged municipal permitting processes, and delayed inspections due to office closures are among factors contributing to an increased rate of construction project postponement and/or cancellation, according to a new survey on Covid-19 impacts by Associated Builders and Contractors’ Construction Executive.
Many contractors have not yet seen drastic impacts to their businesses, as construction was deemed “essential” service in many areas and not subject to full lockdown constraints, yet survey findings’ long-term implications are nevertheless concerning, ABC contends. Seventy percent of respondents do not expect the construction industry to stabilize until at least 2021; an additional 10.4 percent say they believe it may never reach pre-pandemic levels.
“While respondents’ concerns about market viability and the health fears of the virus itself will remain in place for the duration of 2020 and into next year, contractors report bright spots, such as a widespread adoption of technology after the outbreak of Covid-19,” says Construction Executive’s Lauren Pinch. “As the pandemic continues to change the landscape of the U.S. construction industry and state and local economies, contractors are continuously trying to assess near- and long-term effects.”
While an uptick in office renovations to meet social distancing guidelines and to implement other Covid-19-related precautions was expected, more than three-quarters of respondents stated that they have not found this to be the case. Concerns over indoor air quality and proper ventilation may have also led people to believe there would also be a large increase in HVAC upgrade projects, but only 32 percent of respondents state this is the case. Looking toward economic recovery, three-quarters of contractors believe that there will be more interest in construction education programs as people seek out new types of work. Specialty trades, apprenticeship programs, project management training, and more tech-focused construction jobs are all listed as areas that contractors believe will see high levels of interest.