As we continue to navigate a world in which social distancing and stay at home orders are the new normal, we are often asked if major construction projects are still taking place. The answer: it depends on the nature of the project. Vital construction such as that required for the public health emergency, hospitals, long-term facilities, public works facilities, and housing construction can, and are, still taking place albeit, in limited circumstances. For example, schedules have inevitably taken a hit due to the inability to conduct onsite inspections, timely material shipment, lack of personnel, and social distancing guidelines.
What does this mean for companies and employees in construction?
Right now, companies and workers should remain flexible as contract extensions and modifications are inevitable. In some states, like Washington, for example, construction is set to resume after a month-long shut down due to COVID-19. While here in Massachusetts, Mayor Marty Walsh isn’t comfortable reopening the construction industry (except for emergency projects) until strategic guidelines to protect contractors are in place. Additionally, waste management and nuclear power construction and decommissioning are being impacted.
In other instances, however, major construction on bridges, roads, and railways are happening and will continue to do so as states like Florida and California are doing what’s called fast-tracking to improve infrastructures during low traffic volume. By the numbers, 29 states are allowing all construction projects during COVID-19, 15 allow some, one allows none, and six are undecided. To check in on the regulations set forth by the state, we encourage you to visit mapping the coronavirus impact on U.S. construction.
Who is hiring for major construction projects?
For those states that are allowing major construction projects to occur, remote work is encouraged and includes various roles such as project and construction schedulers, construction managers, and project administrators. In other situations where projects are on hold, teams can continue to plan for how they will return to projects when the time comes. In contrast, construction projects that are already underway will remain that way as cancellations can lead to penalties and fees paid to contractors.
How will this impact the future?
As our society moves forward with phased re-openings, the demand for resources and personnel in major construction will be urgent and yet, different. Companies will want to make up for lost time, and to achieve such a goal will call for shift changes and even tighter restrictions in an already diligent industry. Temperatures will need to be taken. There will be social guidelines to meet, clean workspaces to greet, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to wear. From a construction management point of view, there will be lessons to learn as project managers re-evaluate timetables and tasks.
On a positive note and moving forward, the need for workers in major construction projects will not only be essential but critical to maintaining the integrity of water, transportation, and energy industries. To summarize, major construction projects currently on hold will take place during phased, state re-openings, and employers will take on how to best protect workers.
As always, hiring top talent is essential to the success of your business, and our team is here to help you find the right people with unmatched expertise.
Let’s collaborate today to fill your open positions. We are ready to source your next top performer for continued business success.