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Like other industries, the Global Construction Industry suffered a setback due to Covid-19 as people went into isolation for many days. They could not go out for work or perform any production works in industries with vast machinery pieces. However, work from home option was available to some people, but some construction companies couldn’t facilitate this work mode as it required constant monitoring for the best output. All these left some people jobless and to some extent led to declination in incomes. Further, many construction workers had to stay home without any work that affected their income as they were unable to feed their families. Some workers even walked to distant places in search of work despite the unavailability of transportation vehicles. Out of all such effects, the five most essential results are highlighted here for a more straightforward outlook on the situation.
Fig: Tractor in work
Some of the most important effects that created havoc around the world are –
1. The decline in import and export – Some construction firms mainly import raw materials from countries like China. The figure is estimated to be around 80% worldwide and 30% in the US. Due to the lockdown in China, many businesses had taken an exit from the construction industry, which became a matter of concern to engineers, contractors, and other professionals related to this industry. Prices of materials like copper and aluminum went high as demand increased in the market compared to supply. Other sectors of the construction industry include sealants, adhesives, waterproofing, mortars, and so on.
2. Reduction in Manpower- In places like Dubai, many laborers are nomads who settled just for the sake of earning a handsome amount of money by working. This pandemic made them unable to travel to distant places in search of work. Many big projects came to a halt due to travel restrictions imposed by the government. Even site owners and contractors implemented travel bans to reduce infection anomalies. Thus, health became a primary concern overwork. Also, as soon as the workers, laborers, etc., heard about the complete lockdown, they went to their native places, leaving the work at mid-way, which affected the costs and materials of the owner’s construction. Even if the engineers were able to work from home, monitoring work and its implementation could not be done from the comfort of their homes. Thus, the construction industry suffered a setback.
Fig: Manpower in concreting work
3. Declination in Income- After the ‘Black Monday’ in 1987, the stock market of The United States of America underwent the most remarkable decline that led to the prediction of recession globally in 2020. Investors continuously canceled long-term and short-term projects as they didn’t want to risk their money-losing. However, some companies like China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited, Lauren and Turbo Construction changed their strategies. They tried to maintain their grip in the market, which later on proved to be successful.
Fig: American Dollars
4. Burden of paused construction works – Almost all the construction companies temporarily stopped the activities due to incomplete authorization by the high authority or bill payments. The contractors who were in charge of site activities could no longer manage the time of completion. This situation impacted the clients who were in a hurry to shift to their new home due to the pandemic. Moreover, the management activities were significantly affected due to the increase in virus infections. This primary concern was unavoidable globally. Moreover, civil engineering is one field where practicality played a significant role. The virus outbreak hindered this practicality.
Fig: Signboard implying closed for construction work
5. Deduction in the budget – Many employees have globally reported that they were handed over less salary or been fired from work due to their inability to offer services. Despite not being their fault, they had to pay the price, which caused them depressions, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses. On the other hand, prices of goods increased, making their lives even more challenging as they could not fulfill their needs. However, when the cases started to reduce, some construction industries successfully revived almost 60% of their lost employees. But many other companies were unable to revive that much percentage of losses, so they had to abandon their abode completely.
Fig 6: Pilled up coins
Although efforts are being made to accomplish the delay due to Covid-19, some construction industries suffered a major breakdown in their activities, which might take a year or two for recovery. Apart from this, major leading industries like Bechtel Group, Balfour Beatty, and Skanska Construction are taking a step forward towards economic growth and a healthy economy by reducing activities, projects, and many more. In the future, it can be hoped that a digital construction layout can accelerate the growth of the construction economy, leading to more opportunities for the next generations. In countries like India, the construction industry is gaining momentum, but the full swing of the work may take a year or so. In states like Mumbai, Kerala, Gujrat, and many more, have started their construction work and are recruiting engineers. However, work from home is not facilitated as curfew hours have been relaxed. Because of travel restrictions, local engineers and workers are hired. Also, companies are trying to spend less and taking precautions in case other lockdowns are imposed because of various virus variants.
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SNC Lavalin, “Possible Impacts of COVID-19 on Construction Markets”- https://www.snclavalin.com/en/beyond-engineering/possible-impacts-covid-19-on-construction-markets
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ForConstructionPros.com, “Construction Industry Has Recovered 60% of Jobs Lost in Early 2020”- https://www.forconstructionpros.com/business/press-release/21174200/associated-builders-and-contractors-inc-abc-construction-industry-has-recovered-60-of-jobs-lost-in-early-2020