If you look back at the way you thought the year would go in January, it might be hard to imagine a different conclusion. So much has changed in the past few months that the whole world seems almost unrecognizable. Yet, work will continue, and over time, you’ll find ways to get back to the jobsite. Here are five things you can expect will be significantly different, so that your contracting business will be better prepared.
Long-Term Changes in Demand for Projects
Industry experts have wondered regularly over the last couple of years when the backlog of construction projects would finally ebb. While it seems that 2020 has tipped the scale as they predicted, most people did not anticipate the way the demand for projects would change. In most instances, the predictions included a general decrease in demand for all projects, not a sharp decline in certain areas.
In this case, demand for commercial construction, specifically hotels, hospitality and retail spaces, has significantly dropped. Large hospitality industry stakeholders like Airbnb have seen a huge decline in demand and revenue. This means that while construction may see an increase in certain kinds of commercial and residential projects, there will probably be a notable decrease in demand for projects like these.
Adaptation to Remote Work and Project Management
Although it isn’t usually possible for construction-related businesses to do all of their work offsite, you’ll probably observe an increasing reliance on remote work. This may also be a good time to re-examine your project management practices. If you’re in the habit of keeping an eye on people as they work, this will probably have to change. Instead, you may find more opportunities to give your employees greater freedoms to control their own productivity. You may also discover developments to the modular construction segment of the industry. In fact, that may offer new career fields or an expansion of existing ones.
Heavier Reliance on Technology
Just like you can plan to spend more time off the site going forward, you can expect to use more online or virtual tools to collaborate and communicate. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, of course. Using tools to get certain aspects of the job done more quickly increases your efficiency and may also improve your income. However, not everybody in the industry is excited to grab the latest app or device. This means that you may need to do more work to persuade subcontractors, clients and employees to get on board.
Increasing Project Delivery Times
Ultimately, one of the biggest hurdles that contracting business owners and clients alike will have to accept is that projects will simply take longer. The need to invest more time into safety, coupled with the importance of reducing the number of people on the site at any one time, makes it harder to accomplish more in one day. You may be able to minimize the worst of it by scheduling separate shifts. This may not be possible for all projects, or for all regions of the state at any time of year. If you want to reduce overrun in your project timelines, you will need to add in these factors and adjust your commitments as needed.
Greater Attention to Site Cleanup and Sanitation
Dropping work equipment and leaving debris at the jobsite was neither a clean nor sanitary practice. But now more than ever, people are putting their own lives at risk if they fail to clean up after themselves and ensure a sanitary workspace. The level of risk in any given area is going to depend on the state of the virus at the time. However, contracting businesses should prepare to clean and sanitize equipment and protective gear after each use. They will probably also need to provide PPE like masks and gloves, and additional hand-washing or sanitizing facilities.
COVID-19 has changed the world, and in many cases, your contracting business. The way you move forward helps determine your future. To start on your career path, visit CSLS today!