According to an Associated General Contractors of America survey, contractors face materials and labor shortages, delivery delays and cancellations. In 2020, the industry hit a high-water mark in January and February just before COVID-19 caused widespread business closures and disrupted construction projects.Infrastructure Finance Attorney Rudy Salo told Forbes, “There is no crystal ball that can predict what our world will look like in the next six, twelve, or eighteen months. One thing for sure is that COVID-19 has and will forever change our world, and it will likely forever change the future of infrastructure, transportation, and commuting.”
We decided to conduct our own survey to find out how COVID-19 has impacted our customers—owners, designers, contractors—and their operations. The results were interesting. We asked them about their business, project flow, supply chain disruption and educational opportunities.
- 25 percent stated it was business as normal
- 50 percent were under stay-at-home orders
Stay-at-home orders included working online and a combination of stay-at-home and mission essential personnel. We were surprised at the large percentage of individuals that indicated “business as normal” since the majority of our audience are engineers and government agencies.
- 60 percent believe construction projects could be delayed anywhere from one to three months.
- Impact to completion of design phases has been minimal since this work can be conducted at home and supported by web conferences.
- Delay in the release of future projects for procurement indicated the biggest disruption.
- 50 percent expect a delay of one to three months
- 25 percent expect a delay of four to six months
Supply Chain Disruption:
- 42 percent said disruption was minimal
- 39 percent ranked disruption as moderate
- When disruption was severe, the primary issue was lack of personal protection equipment (PPE)
From our perspective, the supply chain has worked hard to meet the requirements of businesses and has been effective.
Finally, a number of survey takers—more than 50 percent—said that educational material distributed via email would be helpful while stay-at-home orders are in place. Thirty-six percent said they would prefer educational material to be provided via web conferences.
At this juncture, the biggest issue I see is that construction work could take a nosedive in four to six months. Current projects will likely be completed in a timely manner without much delay. But new projects will probably experience longer delays getting started; leaving contractors without enough work to do to support their workforce. It remains to be seen if a federal infrastructure stimulus will really materialize. State budgets are already being cut so that will not be a source for economic assistance.
We plan to provide educational material through several different channels on how fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites can work in different applications. The ability to gain knowledge is a strong tool in economic recovery.