A construction site with equipment and birds in the sky

The Impact of COVID-19 on Construction: What Can You Do?

It’s 2021, and we are still talking about the COVID-19 pandemic? Beginning as an outbreak in Wuhan, China, the COVID-19 pandemic has gone on to have a monumental impact on the global economy. It has affected every industry and sector in all parts of the world. The construction industry is no exception.

According to a report, construction activity in Canada by 3.4% in 2020 due to the pandemic. On a more positive note, there’s a lot of potential in the construction sector to stimulate recovery. It can create jobs and pave the way for more sustainable infrastructure. Digitalization can play a vital role in supporting this. Read on as we discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector and which initiatives can help with recovery.

Lack of Worker Safety at Construction Sites

Worker safety has always been a matter of concern in the construction industry. As per a survey carried out by 360traning, 39% of people working in industries requiring manual labor expressed concerns about on-the-job safety. The survey also reported that workers in the construction sector are 27% more likely to be worried about incurring injuries at their job on a daily basis. Many of these injuries can be fatal, as well, and accidents such as unintentional contact with equipment and falls are the leading causes of death in the industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added to these challenges. The virus can spread if you stand in close proximity to an infected individual who is coughing, talking, or sneezing. This can release airborne droplets, which can enter your lungs. Maintaining a distance of 6 ft. can reduce the chances of airborne transmission. Unfortunately, the nature of construction work is such that it automatically requires dozens of people to gather at a worksite and work together to complete the project.

However, this can expose workers to health risks and increase their chances of contracting the Coronavirus. Construction workers need to observe social distancing to continue working safely and avoid physical contact as much as possible.

Shortage of Labor

With vaccination roll-outs underway, the threat of the Coronavirus has diminished a little. However, most people are still concerned about visiting crowded places for fear of contracting the virus. Most workers prefer to work from home, where they don’t have to interact with other individuals. They are searching for jobs that allow them to work in isolation. These apprehensions can create labor shortages in the construction industry.

If you are about to initiate a new construction project, you need to account for the impact of COVD-19 on the availability of labor and make adjustments accordingly.

A Decline in Worker Productivity and Efficiency

Worker productivity has been a source of concern even before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a 2017 report by McKinsey, the overall annual growth in labor productivity has averaged at only 1 percent in the construction industry for the past 20 years. What’s more, less than 25% of construction companies have been able to match the productivity growth exhibited in the overall economies in which they operate. Many construction projects struggle with overruns in time and costs.

The problem of labor shortage further impacts overall worker productivity. With fewer workers available, you can expect the pace of a construction project to slow down. Where something might have taken 6 months to complete, it may need to 7 to 8 months to finish. You can end up missing deadlines, spend more in construction costs, and struggle to provide a satisfactory experience to your clients.

Measures to Alleviate the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on the Construction Industry

Now that we understand the effects of the pandemic on the construction sector let’s take a look at some of the initiatives you can take to streamline construction work amid these concerns.

1. Observe all Healthcare Practices

If you are struggling with worker safety and labor shortage, it is vital to evaluate all the ways you can ensure social distancing at a construction site. For instance, instead of asking workers to report at a given time, you can instruct them to work in shifts. This can help minimise the number of people present at the construction site at a particular time.

You can also take other health and safety measures such as:

2. Use Cloud Solutions for Work

Workers can also use cloud solutions that allow them to store data from the construction site and monitor changes without having to conduct a physical inspection. For example, SolidSense has designed advanced, wireless-based systems that can be used to monitor the temperature, humidity, and evaporation rate of concrete. You can also use sensors for measuring concrete maturity and strength. These systems can help monitor concrete setting without having to visit the worksite.

You can use technology for conducting meetings with construction workers to monitor the progress of the project. Traditionally, these meetings are carried out in person. However, this is not safe due to the pandemic. You can use tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom instead.


A construction site with equipment and cranes

Adopting innovative solutions and introducing health and safety practices can help counter the impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry. It can allow construction firms to complete their projects despite the challenges.

If you are interested in learning more about SolidSense and its innovative technologies for monitoring concrete setting, get in touch with us today. Click here to request a free quote!