From retail stores to restaurants, most businesses across the country were disrupted and forced to adapt because of the pandemic. As states begin opening back up for business, the workforce, owners and customers all remain cautiously optimistic about what the new normal will look like for different industries including construction. Here are a few of our predictions for life after COVID-19 in the construction industry.
Prepare for a Spike in Projects
Experts continue to indicate that there is significant pent-up demand from the current construction shutdowns. This could result in what’s being referred to as the equivalent of a “construction tsunami” because along with the growing demand, there will also be historically low interest rates and vast liquidity that’s prepared to be invested into new projects. A growing list of governors across the U.S. have given the green light to resume building operations around their states.
New Job Site Policies
Worker health and safety remains at the forefront of new job site policies. Some recommendations include:
- Staggered shifts
- Employee temperature checks
- Comprehensive disinfections (tools, machinery, etc.)
- Enhanced social distancing protocol
- Required personal protective equipment
- Hand washing stations
- No carpooling
Contractors should be more focused on creating job sites that are cleaner and less crowded than before so that employees who are interested in construction careers feel comfortable going to work. Construction leaders are encouraged to develop written infectious disease preparedness and response plans because they could soon be required by OSHA.
Longer Completion Times
Most projects will take longer to complete given all of these new safety changes. Fast-tracking projects will become next to impossible with new construction schedules that stagger shifts and only permit one trade to work on a job site at a time. Contractors will have to plan accordingly to compensate for all of the new time constraints.
More Remote Work
Some construction estimators have even joined the remote workforce during the pandemic leaving many CEOs to review the cost benefits of offering more work from home opportunities. From reducing operating costs to improving employee productivity, there are plenty of realistic benefits to having remote employees. Those firms that opt for maintaining traditional offices may need to move away from open office space layouts to ensure greater social distancing in the workplace.
Experts are predicting that certain types of projects like hospitality, retail, and entertainment will experience dwindling demands after COVID-19. But healthcare-related projects could see more activity, along with greater investments directed at increasing distribution and warehouse space.
Experts are forecasting a spike in commercial construction demand for specific projects, longer completion times and a bigger remote workforce. Contractors will also have to juggle new job site policies going forward.