Americans are emerging from the COVID-19 cocoon wrestling with the new normal and how permanent the changes will be. Businesses, whether essential or non-essential, felt the impact of the efforts to quell the spread of the virus. The day-to-day policies and procedures on the worksite have seen a transformation of business-as-usual. Workers are wondering how long these newly implemented and, at times, inconvenient changes will last. That revised job site safety protocols are protecting workers, clients, vendors, and collateral personnel is undeniable.
The new reality of COVID-19 has impacted the construction industry far beyond the physical work site. The novel coronavirus has shaken the foundations of the entire sector. These economic challenges are gargantuan in comparison to initial job safety modifications. The financial adjustments and re-calibrations could signal the end of construction companies and general contractors who lack the financial means, workforce, and technology to adapt and move forward under new guidelines and constraints.
Conditions under COVID-19 are compelling many contractors to re-think and refine their processes and project performance. Contractors Reporting Services, a company that provides help with Florida contractor license requirements, provides some examples.
Expansion of Technology
The pandemic has undeniably accelerated the proliferation of technology and its use in helping people perform tasks that were usually or only done in person. Though construction does not immediately appear to be an industry where zoom meetings or tech tools could be as widely adopted as they have been in other industries, developers and construction workers will likely see increased use of technology – from more clearly defined procedures and project phasing to the most routine work tasks.
Some of the technological advancements being tested and implemented in construction include:
- Web-based video tools that enable virtual meetings to discuss estimates, proposals, and project management
- Remote technology processes to help inspectors conduct inspections.
- Worksite health-monitoring technology tools that remotely take workers’ temperatures
- Equipment and safety gear integrated with technology such as hard hats with social distancing alerts
Longer Project Timelines
The safety overburden and the inconvenience and inefficiencies of revised work methods and patterns translate into elongated project timelines. A reduced workforce, the additional time required for disinfecting, and the demand for proper PPE and preparation may eliminate project fast-tracking by making it so expensive. Labor is a significant cost component in the construction industry. The impact of labor costs inflated by the significantly longer timelines is to be seen, measured, and evaluated.
Elevation of Union Influence
Since World War II, the percentage of unionized construction workers has declined. During the pandemic, trade unions have assumed more influential advocacy roles for workers’ interests, while keeping worksites operational and safe when possible. As the work and business environment morphs to adapt to shifts in policies and procedures, the prominence of unions will evolve to meet the challenges.
Broader Remote Work
A robust telework strategy during lean seasons can help a general contractor manage costs and shift the savings into safety measures that keep onsite workers safe.
Supply Chain Disruptions and Prefabrication
Sourcing and construction supply chain concerns are real. Solutions include the construction industry increasing domestic manufacturing and tapping nearby sources such as Mexico.
Recalibrating supply chains while improving workplace safety may foster the use of processes that rely on offsite construction and prefabrication. Factory production is attractive because it is efficient, economical, and safer for workers.
Demand for different project types will evince some fluctuation in the future. Retail, entertainment, and hospitality building projects may decline in this season of social distancing, sheltering in place, and lockdowns. Demand for medical supply factories and health care facilities could proliferate. Construction demands for innovative workspaces that shift to a more private, segmented environment can enhance social distancing and ease worker concerns.
U.S. companies may remedy supply chain obstacles by increasing inventory. Construction for distribution, warehouse, and manufacturing facilities may see a growth in demand. The public sector seems to be responding to the pandemic by allocating monies to modernize facilities and infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.
General contractors and construction will need to reach deep into their tool kit to find innovative solutions to the ongoing challenges of COVID-19. New technologies in different applications seeking better outcomes, remote working, production and supply chain adjustments, and the agility to shift with construction demands will be necessary to survive and thrive. Contractors Reporting Services brings administrative, licensing, permitting, and regulatory solutions that provide competitive advantage and ROI to general contractors and construction companies pursuing efficiencies that create value, improve production, and keep everyone safe and healthy.
To learn more about how Contractors Reporting Services offers their help through innovative solutions and help general contractors, and construction companies thrive amid the challenges of the COVID-19 epidemic, visit the website at www.activatemylicense.com. Contact the office by phone at (813) 932-5244.