Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building

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Construction professionals stay optimistic about post-pandemic prospects

29 May 2020

More than nine in ten construction professionals around the world (92%) remain optimistic that their business will survive the covid-19 pandemic.

That’s according to a survey conducted by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Global Construction Review.

Taken by more than 500 construction professionals from Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, Malaysia, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom and the USA, 56% of survey respondents said their organisations were keeping all or some sites open. 76% said their employees were able to observe social distancing on their way into work, and 84% said they were able to observe social distancing onsite.

But nearly 70% of respondents said a quarter or more of their organisation’s projected revenue this year had been jeopardised.

Some 20% said more than half of planned projects had been delayed or cancelled.

Nearly 40% said staff were being asked to take pay cuts, while lay-offs were occurring among employers of nearly a quarter of respondents.

Caroline Gumble, chief executive of the CIOB, said:  “Firstly, many thanks to everyone who completed our survey. It’s a busy time for most people in our industry so the responses are much appreciated. Secondly, it’s good to hear that there is so much activity getting underway and much hope and positivity in the industry. While it was necessary for some sites to temporarily close their doors, we are glad to see that the majority of construction workers are optimistic in their outlook and are able to maintain a safe environment whilst working. However, we want to remind everyone that it is imperative to stay safe and follow the appropriate guidelines, including, for the UK, the latest CLC Site Operating Procedures.”

Most respondents worked for larger companies, with nearly half (48.8%) working for companies employing more than 500 people. Of those, 37.3% work for companies employing more than 1,000 people. In terms of employer organisations, most (37.4%) were main contractors. The main types of other employers were project manager/QS (14.2%), public-sector client (10.9%), consulting engineer (10.4%), private-sector client (9%) and specialist contractor (5.7%).

Among the personal stories from the survey, many CIOB members have been stepping up to ensure that vulnerable people – in construction and in society at large – are protected during this pandemic. The survey found that 44% have volunteered to help people in their community, such as shopping for the elderly, 42% have volunteered to support essential workers and 36% have donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to front-line health and social care workers.

Comments

Yes, changes will come into our industry post pandemic, however; we will remain optimistic on the economic growth of the industry. Evaluating changes and Identify Controls, the post pandemic may significantly change the project scope, budget and schedule. On evaluating the impact these changes may have on safety, quality and production and identifying appropriate controls which may also impact project labor, material and PPE availability, and site security needs. The potential challenges will be on external forces such as markets price on building materials and the contingency in planning material transportation logistics. Mostly, Site Safety Plans and Documentation of Emergency response plans will be very much in details with accurate information. To help prepare the industry for success, a develop robust plan as mentioned will have to be an implementation mechanism for evaluating conditions and hazards and identifying necessary controls.

AFOLABI ADESANYA, MBA, MCIOB, C.BUILD E. FCABE, 1 June 2020