The UK Construction industry was been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, mainly due to strict guidelines imposed on movement, work, health and safety. Whilst the vast majority of construction was encouraged to continue to work within these restrictions, projects have been unavoidably delayed and disrupted.
Exploring new opportunities
For many businesses working within the construction sector, they have not only had to look at how they protect themselves from further disruption, but they have also had to review the viability and profitability of future projects.
For many, only the most appropriate and profitable sites have been reopened. Alternative projects within new sectors have also had to be explored. For example a construction company working mainly within the hospitality sector, may now need to seek community or commercial projects. Construction firms are additionally being forced to consider working outside of city centre locations, seeking projects in rural and suburban areas.
Supportive supply chain
Construction businesses are fostering stronger relationships with suppliers to ensure there is flexibility, understanding and support in the event of delays and disruption. Many businesses are also seeking and building new relationships with different suppliers to mitigate against supply chain liquidations.
Increase in tech
Moreover there has been an increase in the use of technology to support the continuation of projects. Video technology has been embraced to support virtual site walk throughs and to update clients on project progress. Meetings have also been moved on-line where working from home is feasible.
In terms of safeguarding construction staff on-site, many of the safety measures being implemented are in fact now commonplace across many sectors. Companies are reducing the numbers of workers on-site to support social distancing. They are implementing shift patterns to reduce the numbers on-site at any one time. An increase in hygiene facilities and the wearing of appropriate PPE such as face coverings is also now the norm. Indeed these measures are paramount in order to protect the workforce against the spread of the virus and to ensure minimal disruption due to COVID related staff absence.
Many analysts are predicting that UK Construction will not return to 2019 levels until 2022 due to the continuation of various localised restrictions. The sector however has been resilient in its efforts to continue to build whilst supporting and protecting the workforce.