construction worker wearing welding mask and helmet

The COVID crisis has changed the world and it will probably never be the same, even after the pandemic is over. While we tend to focus on the downsides of any event, there are always some positive impacts as well. When it comes to the current crisis we are going through, there are bound to be some major changes and innovations ahead. Every business can expect to undergo changes, and there will be great COVID-19 effects on the construction industry. Even as the lockdowns are being lifted gradually, the social distancing requirements are still in place and they matter a bit more in labor-intensive sectors like construction. Let us explain how this industry is all set to change in the post-COVID world.

Job Safety Will Be Redefined

Workplace safety has always been crucial for this domain because there are risks related to accidents on site, slips and falls, equipment malfunctions and more. Though COVID-19 is very different from the typical hazards that construction workers face, it has already become an important component of workplace safety. And this mindset is likely to continue in the future, as firms and employers have implemented several new practices for containing the virus and keeping workers healthy. These include:

  • Controlled access to job sites and increased perimeter control
  • Cleaner, safer and less crowded construction sites
  • Staggered schedules and shift work
  • Daily temperature checks for workers
  • Emphasis on hand-washing and sanitizing
  • Comprehensive disinfection policies for surfaces, tools and machinery
  • Social distancing policies including production and supply chain modifications, carpool bans and new delivery processing methods

Remote Working will be the Norm

The idea of the construction industry going remote may have sounded absurd a few months ago but it is now a norm. These businesses are ready to embrace remote working as the new normal. And this is going to continue for both the short term and long term, considering that workers’ health and safety is the top priority for businesses today. The COVID-19 situation has proved that a lot of the work in the sector can be easily done remotely. The advanced construction project management software solutions are becoming a necessity for firms in this context. They not only facilitate communication between teams and stakeholders but also serve as a unified platform that stores all of the important information related to the project. Similarly, video conferencing apps are also making virtual team meetings much easier.

Technology will be the Lifeline of Businesses

It is evident that the role of technology will become a lot more important in this domain, even after the coronavirus crisis is over. First, no business would be able to manage and deliver projects successfully and within budgets and timelines without a construction management solution in place. In addition to streamlining communication and collaboration, it can facilitate aspects like cost control, scheduling, budgeting and reporting. Obviously, this means that the stress of the project manager would be cut down significantly.

Prefabrication Will Be a Preferred Mode of Work

The construction industry will probably move to the prefabrication mode during the new normal. With this system in place, most construction activities will be moved from the construction site to a production plant. This can bring a positive change for the industry as a whole by helping reduce the construction waste, because building elements can be fabricated regardless of the outdoor conditions. Certainly, prefabrication can continue unfazed as the risk of disruption by the weather and traffic is reduced to the minimum. However, adapting the design and specification for the modular components can be a challenge that you may face with prefabrication. But, these issues can be resolved by collaborating with an experienced engineering company.

construction helmets stored on shelves in a locker

Project Timelines will be Longer

Another major change that you can expect in the construction segment is that projects will probably require longer time spans to complete. This is because the safety changes on construction sites are likely to stretch the timelines. You will probably want to proceed with a fewer number of workers on the job site at a specific point in time; or you may want them to work in shifts to ensure social distancing on site. These situations can slow down the work progress and construction schedules will never be the same as they were. Considering this fact, contractors need to bear in mind the time constraints while bidding out projects in the future, to ensure that the contract reflects a realistic construction schedule. And this is something that owners, partners, architects and sub-contractors should realize and accept as well.

Demand For Project Types Will Be Different

The outbreak has already changed the industry dynamics and the change will be visible in the post-COVID world too. You can expect retail, hospitality and entertainment projects to be in less demand. Conversely, there would be a boom in healthcare construction and manufacturing projects related to healthcare. Furthermore, the demand for distribution and warehouse space is also likely to witness a boom and businesses across the globe seem to favor higher inventory levels for the sake of supply chain resiliency.  The reliance on Chinese products is likely to decrease on a global scale. So factories and warehouses will open up in the countries and there will be a related increase in demand for construction projects in these segments.

Although nothing can be predicted clearly about the changes that the industry may experience in the post-pandemic era, one thing is clear- you cannot expect it to be the same. The best thing to do is to evolve and adapt because this is the approach that can single-handedly work for making your business future-ready. So it becomes important to embrace the right practices, tools and technologies that keep you one step ahead of all that needs to be done in the crisis aftermath.

Summary

The COVID crisis has changed the world in the most unexpected ways and things are likely to be different even after it is over. When it comes to the construction domain, businesses will never be the same. So it becomes important to understand what lies ahead and be ready to evolve. Fortunately, you can do it easily with the implementation of the right tools, technologies and practices.

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We hope you found this blog post on How the Construction Industry Will Change in the Post-COVID World informative. Be sure to check out our post on Impact of COVID-19 on Real Estate & Other Sectors of the Economy for more great information!

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