Although we’re still in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be using your stay-at-home time to think about how you’ll function in a post-COVID world.
If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Everyone in every industry is thinking about what things are going to look like once the crisis abates. Most importantly, we want to figure out how our lives and work will be fundamentally transformed so we can be prepared for the future. The construction industry is no different. Here are some questions that you, as a contractor, may be asking yourself:
- Will there be a shortage of resources once we come out of this? How will that impact my ability to deliver on back-scheduled or new projects?
- How will job sites work with new social distancing recommendations?
- Will projects continue at previous pacing or will we have to come up with new timelines for everything?
- How will a post-COVID world impact our risk analysis? What will be the additional costs?
And most importantly: what can you do right now to start preparing for these changes?
Here are some of our answers to those questions, to help you and other contractors prepare for a post-COVID world:
Expect significant changes out of the gate
While there’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, one thing is certain: when we all go back to work, there will be significant changes.
Just as some are suggesting that handshakes become a thing of the past (hard to believe, right?), there will be long-lasting repercussions to the way contractors plan and execute projects.
For example, construction firms should prepare for a shortage of available materials once the stay-at-home order has been lifted. This is especially true for the roughly 30 percent of all building projects that rely on Chinese-made goods.
A lack of tools, equipment and even labor poses a serious threat to your ability to meet back-scheduled demands. While many factories and manufacturing warehouses may relocate to the U.S. after the crisis has passed, any benefits from this move will take time before you can take advantage of them.
So for now, focus on how you’re going to adapt to immediate changes planning for locally sourced and immediately accessible resources to keep your projects running on time.
Another expected change will be multiple shifts on projects, both to offset extended procurement periods and also to keep in line with current or future social distancing recommendations.
Make sure to conduct an updated risk analysis for each project, including and analyzing the additional costs and risks associated with extended schedules and shortage of materials.
Decide on whether to engage in competitive bidding
Lower supply means higher demand, which means costs are going to go up. This applies not just in terms of supplies, but in the availability of contractors to accept both back-scheduled and new projects.
Bottom line: you’re going to have more people knocking at your door, asking to work with you.
You should give serious thought as to the projects that you want to take on, and whether you want to engage in competitive bidding to get the most value out of each job. Making an informed decision on which projects to give your energy and resources will be crucial for your business at this time.
Get on the phone right now
Once the stay-at-home order is lifted and work begins again, it’s going to be a mad dash to catch up on lost progress and time. You don’t want to be trying to get a hold of owners, suppliers, and developers — because they’re going to be barely keeping their heads above water to keep up with calls!
Instead, go ahead and start communicating with them now. We’ve made some predictions in this post about what we anticipate happening, but no one knows better about your customers and vendors than, well, your customers and vendors.
Everyone’s at home. We’ve all got time on our hands. This is the perfect time to pick up the phone and call them. When you’re ahead of competitors in preparedness for the post-COVID season, you’ll thank yourself for making those calls.
(This post is part of our COVID-19 response series. Click here to read the full series.)