The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected the construction industry. Can it recover in 2021? Let’s find out more.
Let’s be honest; 2020 wasn’t a great year for the construction industry. When the Coronavirus pandemic first hit in March 2020, the industry all but shut down. In the summer, when the Government began to loosen the restrictions, constructions sites were allowed to open again, but things could not ever return to normal. The industry is still facing a multitude of problems.
In this article, we’ll look at the obstacles in the way of a recovery in the construction industry. Will the industry be able to return to normal in 2021?
Supply chain issues
Construction relies on the successful supply of materials from across the world. The right materials need to be in the right place at the right time, or it can cause delays with associated costs.
Because the pandemic affected every sector of the global economy, even when UK sites reopened, the supply chain was not necessarily ready to go. In many cases, suppliers had gone out of business.
Managing the workforce
Even while sites were reopening, the pandemic was still going on and the virus was still dangerous. Managers faced the challenge of getting their people back to work while safeguarding their health. They may have to provide new equipment and formulate new ways to work.
If workers came down with the virus, their tasks would have to be reallocated while people they had been close to may have to self-isolate. On large sites with hundreds of workers, administrating these changes is a huge undertaking.
Adapting the site
Protection for workers, clients and site visitors has always been the top priority, but after COVID-19, it took on a new dimension.
The aim was to keep workers two metres apart wherever possible. To achieve this, construction managers would have to completely change how their sites were run, implementing new ways to work and adapting their site. This would include one way systems on sites.
Many constructors found that technology could help them, including wearable alarms that would alert workers if they came within two metres of someone else who was also wearing an alarm.
The upheaval caused by the pandemic has affected many construction companies’ finances, with many unfortunately going out of business. If companies were running on tight cash flow to begin with, the drop in output and demand might be the final straw.
Delays to projects
The logical conclusion of everything we’ve talked about so far is delays to the completion of projects. If constructors cannot work in the same way they were doing before; their productivity will decrease.
A study from Turner & Townsend found that construction in the UK saw a productivity decrease of around 35%, leading to project delays of up to 32 weeks. With delays come financial costs, which causes more stress to firms.
This is where we are, but what can construction firms do to try and recover? The two most critical pieces of advice for is plan for eventualities and look after your people.
Audit your projects and your finances, so you know exactly where you stand. If you are struggling, you may qualify for help from the Government, who are attempting to support UK businesses through the pandemic. Talk to your suppliers to assess their situations. If you think you a supplier may be about to go out of business, be proactive in finding a replacement.
Make sure you do everything you can to protect your staff during this challenging time. Once the economy begins to bounce back (hopefully), you’ll need your best people to help you.
Find out more from Joshua Robert
If you’re in the property industry and looking to build a relationship with a committed, forward-looking recruitment agency, talk to the Joshua Robert team on 0121 582 0877, or visit our site today.