COVID-19’s Impact on Construction: The New Normal
April 13, 2020
By: John W. Hays
One of the many questions members of the construction industry are asking is what the industry will look like when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted. Predicting the future is tricky at best, particularly when you consider that few of us could have predicted where we are today just 6 months ago. With that cautionary qualification, there are a few predictions that appear to be safe bets:
- Contracts will be revised to allocate risks arising from future epidemics and pandemics;
- More employees will regularly work from remote locations, usually their homes;
- Contractors will adopt more demanding requirements to clean and disinfect work sites;
- Employers will adopt policies to better respond to employees who are ill; and,
- Social distancing guidelines will be ready for implementation when needed.
These are safe bets, because we are no longer laboring under the illusion that the “New Normal” will be normal. COVID-19 will be with us even after the shelter-at-home orders are lifted. Moreover, we should not ignore the probability that the next epidemic or pandemic will be with us sooner than later. Whether the next one is around the corner or far in our future, the construction industry must adapt and learn the COVID-19 lessons to become more resilient when the next health crisis comes.