From the news broadcasts to internet research materials, social media and newspapers all showcase headlines of the adverse effects of the pandemic. The economy has been hit quite hard with other sectors, such as leisure and hospitality, food and agriculture, and real estate, experiencing the most effects.
However, there were different circumstances in sectors such as health and construction as they were more overwhelmed with the demands from all corners. Often, their supplying capacity couldn’t meet the demands on board. There was a need for new hospitals for more medical services, rooms for isolation for the affected individuals, and sad enough morgues for those who passed away.
So how did things turn out?
Construction vs. Corona Virus
The pandemic resulted in a global financial crisis, with significant building and construction players on the receiving end. These parties include;
• Architecture, construction, and engineering firms
• Building materials manufacturers and distributors
• Construction equipment manufacturers
• Insurance companies.
The real estate market was booming before the pandemic hit as people were buying, selling, and renting property. However, the pandemic resulted in multiple job losses, hitting the worst unemployment rate ever recorded in history. In turn, this slowed down developers as there was a reduced workforce due to the spread of infections, and some rules restricted the proceedings (you can’t work from home when it comes to building and construction).
Furthermore, the market experienced some forced changes as the needs altered. Safety and health measures were to be met, which would also dictate the designs of projects and the construction approach. On the other hand, some notable trends are critical soon as construction is crucial once we have passed the pandemic.
Several notable changes in the construction sector have developed into both short and long-term trends. These trends include;
1. Increased digitization – The need for digital tools has increased
2. Re-balancing supply chains towards resilience vs. efficiency – Contractors seek to secure critical materials, identify alternative suppliers, build inventory, and get long-lead items
3. Augmented consolidation – This is to support investments in talent, technology, IT, and R&D and establish economies of scale
4. Vertical integration – A move to increase efficiency to control and standardize designs and execution
5. Further investments in innovation and technology of building systems – Addressed the need to increase skilled labor
6. Increase in off-site construction – The thought of building in a controlled environment for close management
7. Acceleration towards sustainability – Designs for healthy living.
The New Normal
The pandemic has registered multiple changes, and the construction sector has to adapt to these alterations to be as effective. In that case, there are some necessary actions that all major players should take to ensure they are successful. These actions include;
• Accelerate the adoption and roll-out of digitization
• Invest in skills needed and culture to operate in the new normal
• Build a control tower for the industry’s portfolio
• Bolster the supply chain resilience
• Redeploy resources and capital
• Identify the opportunities to shift work off-site
• Draw closer to customers.
Role of Construction
After the pandemic, there is a need to improve the construction sector as multiple changes are expected once the conditions are favorable. Some of the key roles include;
i. Setting up places for reviving businesses
ii. Completing the stuck projects
iii. Meeting the “new normal” needs
iv. Maintaining the current health and safety culture driven by the pandemic
v. Providing a good transition from the current situation to another
vi. Becoming the bridge between the present and expected construction needs
vii. Pushing for the industry’s evolution.
As much as the industry got the ugly side of the pandemic, there’s still hope that things could work out well in construction. With the changes in developers’ needs and the different calls made by major game players, the construction sector foresees a critical role in rebuilding the world after the pandemic. And the work starts now!