As the coronavirus outbreak has brought many sectors of the economy to a standstill, the construction industry faces the challenge of keeping business afloat and tight deadlines on track, while keeping employees healthy and safe. Here are some of the ways the construction industry dealing with the coronavirus.
So far, the states have been in charge of implementing “stay at home” orders and other protective measures. As a result, some firms have been allowed to continue their ongoing projects, while others have had to shut down job sites entirely. In some areas, residential construction has allowed to continue but commercial construction has temporarily shut down.
The health and safety of employees is the main priority of most construction firms. Some firms are having their employees work from home to prevent exposure to the virus. In general, construction work isn’t as suited for remote work as many other industries. Many firms lack digital communication and project management tools because they’ve relied heavily on face-to-face communication over the years. Construction professionals have had to quickly adjust to remote communication, as meetings at many firms have switched formats to complement social distancing measures.
The coronavirus outbreak has also affected the tech departments in construction. The automation and robotics used in construction still require a human presence for safety reasons. But with fewer personnel on-site to monitor the technology, many of these automated processes and devices have had to shut down, too. This has made it challenging for firms to monitor construction sites during stay-at-home orders.
The coronavirus outbreak has made hospital construction the most important segment of the industry for the time being. Some governors have ordered all non-essential workers to stay home, but there is uncertainty regarding what type of work qualifies as essential. Hospital construction is one area that is essential. Hospitals across the nation face a shortage of capacity because of the influx of new patients. Firms are working to find strategic solutions for communities in need of additional space to treat and/or quarantine patients who have COVID-19.
The coronavirus poses significant challenges for the industry. Firms have contractual obligations and deadlines they need to adhere to, but safety is still the priority. Companies are rising to the challenge and doing what they can to continue working and prepare for the return to normal operations. In some of our next blogs, we’ll cover what efforts construction firms are making to help their employees, healthcare workers, and communities in this time of crisis.
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