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Majority of Contractors Fear Long-term Business Implications of COVID-19

More than 85% of contractors have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, according to the results of an August reader survey conducted by Construction Executive magazine, which is published by Associated Builders and Contractors. Supply chain disruptions, prolonged municipal permitting processes and delayed inspections due to office closures are all factors contributing to the increased rate of postponement and/or cancellation of construction projects.

    

While many contractors have not yet seen drastic impacts to their business, as construction was in many areas considered an “essential” service, the long-term implications are concerning. Seventy percent of contractors did not expect the construction industry to stabilize until at least 2021, while an additional 10.4% say they believe it may never reach pre-pandemic levels.

    

“While the survey respondents’ concerns about market viability and the health fears of the virus itself will remain in place for the duration of 2020 and into next year, contractors did report bright spots, such as a widespread adoption of technology after the outbreak of COVID-19,” said Lauren Pinch, editor-in-chief of CE. “That said, as the pandemic continues to change the landscape of the U.S. construction industry and state and local economies, contractors are continuously trying to assess the near- and long-term effects.”

    

While an uptick in office renovations to meet social distancing guidelines and to implement other COVID-19–related precautions was expected, more than three-quarters of respondents (76.12%) stated that they have not found this to be the case. Concerns over indoor air quality and proper ventilation may have also led people to believe there would also be a large increase in HVAC upgrade projects, but only 31.79% of respondents stated that this was the case.

    

Looking toward economic recovery, three-quarters of contractors believe there will be more interest in construction education programs as people seek out new types of work. Specialty trades, apprenticeship programs, project management training and more tech-focused construction jobs were all listed as areas that contractors believe will see high levels of interest.

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