COVID-19: How's the Development of the Construction Industry?
Up to date, more than 3.58 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide, with more than 251,000 deaths.
The unexpected outbreak of a novel coronavirus (hereinafter referred to as COVID-19) has seriously damaged the dynamism of the global economy, especially the labor-intensive construction industry.
Confirmed patient of COVID-19
The construction industry is special with strong population mobility and a high degree of crowd gatherings. And the specific construction design, building process and organizational arrangement are totally different from other industries.
Coupled with the confined construction space, the prevention and control of the pandemic have great limitations, so the construction industry bears the main brunt impacted by COVID-19.
Construction site comes with high risks
Adverse effects from COVID-19
The latest report from Moody's Investors Service, Inc., said that business conditions and revenue for construction companies worldwide are deteriorating rapidly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
"The spread of COVID-19 and the corresponding anti-pandemic measures (such as safe social distance regulations, activity restrictions and logistics disruptions) have led to the suspension and delay of construction activities," said Shu Su, Vice president and senior analyst at Moody.
"At the same time, oil, gas, and mining-related construction activities will also be delayed or canceled due to weak commodity prices. Construction companies in Europe and elsewhere, including the United States and Australia have suffered a blow."
Many well-known construction companies have been hit hard by the outbreak, causing irreparable damage to the economy in 2020, and many small construction companies are in danger of collapse. Among them,
Vinci is the largest building contractor in France, whose main businesses include road maintenance, electricity, public infrastructure and building, etc.
According to its first-quarter financial report, the Vinci group's revenue in France fell 6.3% from January to march and is expected to fall further in the coming months. Due to the spread of COVID-19, the financial impact of the construction project stagnation is immeasurable for the full year 2020.
L&T is India's largest construction company. And according to people familiar with the matter, SN Subrahmanyan, chairman and chief executive of L&T, announced in a network seminar with staff that the company's losses in the first quarter were more than RS12 million, less about 25 percent than the same period of last year due to the nationwide lockdown caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Terex Corporation is a global construction company in the United States.
Since April 2020, the company has temporarily reduced the salary of the CEO by 50%, the salary of the executive leadership team by 20%, and the salary of other team members by 5%-10%, as well as carried out layoffs to maintain the normal operation of the company.
The construction development trend after the pandemic
The sudden outbreak has exposed the shortcomings of countries in responding to medical emergencies. The lack of advanced medical sites and facilities in many countries has caught the outbreak off guard.
As a result, there are three potential changes in the construction industry after COVID-19 pandemic:
First, the traditional building mode will be replaced by the prefabricated building mode.
Compared with the traditional construction model, prefabricated construction mode saves a lot of time and costs through the building design in the early stage, the building parts production in the middle stage and the assembly in the post-stage.
In addition, through the optimized design in the first stage, the building is improved in its design accuracy, reducing the rework and delay caused by drawing errors and construction errors. Also, material waste is saved, and construction efficiency is improved.
Huoshenshan Hospital built for COVID-19
For example, China has shown “China speed” in building the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital in 10 days and nights in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, using a prefabricated building model that has caught the world's attention.
Second, the main center of construction shifts.
Public health buildings are the main part of the social infrastructure that plays a huge role in the country facing a major pandemic disaster.
Different from ordinary buildings, public health infrastructure should meet the needs of prevention and control of major pandemic diseases. The ventilation, power supply and other facilities of the public health infrastructure are different from ordinary civil buildings.
Inside of Huoshenshan Hospital
Therefore, after the COVID-19 outbreak, the huge demand for public health infrastructure construction may bring more opportunities for the development of the construction industry.
Third, construction equipment will be more intelligent.
With the strengthening of the Internet, smart devices permeate every aspect of our lives. In this pandemic, the advantage of intelligent equipment is also increasingly prominent.
On the one hand, intelligent equipment can greatly save manpower and material resources and improve production efficiency. On the other hand, it can reduce personnel contact and guarantee the health and safety of employees.
In large construction sites, many enterprises organically combine PLC+ automatic operating system and sand aggregate production equipment, which not only ensures the adequate supply of building materials but also guarantees the safety of operators.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the world economy and social operation: the economies of various countries are under great downward pressure, and a large number of construction enterprises are faced with multiple risks, such as increased rework costs, safety risks, and construction costs and reduced corporate profits.
However, in the long history of human development, the pandemic will eventually pass, the impact is negligible. It's like driving a long way and having an accident and being delayed for half an hour.
If the target travel is 100km, the impact of half an hour is large, and if the target travel is 10,000km, the impact of half an hour can be ignored.
Unity is the antidote to the COVID-19
Therefore, the author holds the view that the impact of the COVID-19 on the global economy and the construction industry is: negative but we should treat it positively. It makes us aware of our shortcomings and prompts us to reflect and correct our mistakes in time to avoid greater losses.
The potential of human is limitless. People have met with countless difficulties in the past, but have overcome them all. The author believes people will soon overcome the COVID-19 and usher in a bright future this time.