COVID-19 that was once confined to a small city has turned into a global pandemic within months forcing every country to seize the entire operations. The nations have experienced complete lockdown and various restrictions that were relaxed for a few months as soon as the pandemic was considered under control.
The situation of this epidemic has influenced businesses across the globe. Construction businesses are no lesser affected in an uncertain and unpredictable situation. They had a lot to manage such as the staff, the work-in-progress, and supply chain of the raw material, etc. The challenges for construction businesses remain the same despite the variation in restrictions due to COVID-19.
The common strategies that companies followed are downsizing in poor-performing areas of projects and adopting flexible timeframes for project completion. This article discusses the impact and survival strategy of a construction business in this pandemic situation.
Impact of COVID 19 in the Construction industry
Shutting down the major infrastructure like transport and major routes of the cities proved to be a major challenge for every business. However, the construction industry was given exemption from the lockdown because of its significance in the economy. Let’s have a look at how COVID-19 impacted the industry.
Disrupted supply of construction material
The novel coronavirus has impacted the global construction industry. China is the major supplier of construction material to most of the builders in the US. It has disturbed the supply of material and its availability across the seas as the borders and airways were shut down for several months. Besides, the US, a great majority of Arab states has also faced the scarcity of construction resources as they heavily rely on China and European countries.
Depressed labor and contractors
Every country has a state that is dealing with Covid-19 to minimize it, however, it rises as soon as the commute opens and a new wave attacks the people. With such an uncertain situation of closure and opening. The uneven closure between states and countries is also creating hurdles for them to decide to work on the projects. The supply may delay material supplies after lockdown days which may reach the contractor on the days when they are not required to work. As a result, the project deadlines escalate despite the presence of labor.
The labor community is impacted by the lockdown decisions because the local and intercity transport is not operational so how could they reach the construction site. The female labor often leaves their kids in school and daycare, which are also closed. They are left with no option to leave their kids with.
Uncertain economic conditions
The sudden increase of virus after every three or four months is putting the business on haul. Seemingly, the retailers seem to be affected the most. However, the loss surpasses the wholesalers and production units accordingly. In such a chaotic condition, every economy is facing a situation no less than a recession. Most of the mega projects are either canceled or postponed till further notices. The closure of such opportunities is likely to make the contractors and labor idle or seek projects with competitive pricing and below-average wages.
With the widespread of a novel coronavirus, every construction company turned to the internet for managing projects of remote locations. Reliable and well-established companies have a complete cloud-based project management application in place. However, they do not heavily rely on them in their usual work routine. The lockdown made them rely on it. All the sensitive and confidential data was processed and dealt with in the system, which posed threats like cyber attacks and lost or stolen data.
Survival Strategies for Construction Businesses
Though the pandemic situation was chaotic and challenging, the construction companies have dealt with it with effective strategies. A single survival strategy may not work well as the continuous situation can only be handled by different policies and tactics. Following are some of the key strategies you can plan to struggle against the odds of the global and industry-specific impact of this pandemic.
Examine Work-In-Progress Sheet
The work-in-progress sheet is the face of every construction project. As a COVID-19 survival strategy, you must keep an eye on it and review it regularly. Have a look at the schedule and find if the lag in construction material supplies is affecting a delay or you can manage it from a nearby warehouse until the major supplies are reached from abroad. Review the financial and non-financial key performance indicators (KPIs) so that better decisions can be taken in time. KPIs exist to signal you about a negative trend. A close review of these factors can help you understand any alarming situation.
Analyze labor force
Labor analysis greatly depends upon the WIP report of your construction project. A company shall always look into the workforce available despite the transportation shutdown and running projects. You can only retain the senior staff and professional engineers if the projects are going seemingly profitable and the suspended projects are expected to cover the cost when started. You will never want to lose highly skilled labor as finding them later is often near to impossible.
Have a financial overview
A construction business can successfully survive the impacts of COVID-19 if it is efficient in managing finances. There are various tools and theories to review the financial stability of your organization. Set a benchmark to see which project is bringing the highest cash inflows so that the poor and lagging projects are stopped immediately. Have a clear picture with the cash flow statement to tally the estimated inflows with the real ones.
Diversify and innovate
Any construction business that sticks to one service or expertise had found it hard to survive the uncertain situation in this pandemic. For ultimate survival, it is necessary to diversify the business model and expands by innovating within the industry. Many businesses have tried different ways of continuing their operations despite epidemic restrains. For example, the construction sites were required to minimize the number of staff. They did it well, by minimizing the staff of the morning shift and introducing a night shift for them. It helped various construction companies meet their deadlines and retaining their labor as well.
Collaborations and partnerships
Every spell or wave of the COVID-19 is uncertain. We never know the moment it may rise again and reach a higher death ratio. An impressive survival strategy is to collaborate with manufacturers, suppliers, and other governing bodies. The virus is affecting us all without any discrimination. It is time to recognize our duty by keeping the construction sites open and extending the gratitude of helping partners, unions, and collaborators. A company that is doing well in a project can share the workload with the one that is free and available to finish the task. Get affiliated with companies similar in your niche to share the goal. Be united to achieve the goal.
The decision you make today is going to impact your business in the coming years. For every problem or challenge, there is a viable solution that has a cost attached to it. Choosing between the cost-saving benefit or surviving with the business is the most difficult part. COVID-19 is a pandemic that is not impact you alone. It has engulfed people and corporations around the world. Choosing the right strategy and implementing it with your vision can help you successfully thrive and survive.