8 Ways COVID-19 is Changing the Jobsite

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Robison Wells

The construction magazine Construction Dive took an in-depth look at what is coming down the pipeline for jobsites in a post-coronavirus world. It listed eight things that it said will changing in coming months and years—some of which will be temporary but some of which will be permanent.

Jobsites will be safer and cleaner: Jobsites will begin staggering shifts, taking temperature checks, and doing complete cleanings of jobsites, tools, and machinery. Masks will become the norm, handwashing stations will be mandated, and social distancing will remain in place.

Distancing will become the norm, via technology: As we talked about on this website last week, there are solutions available to measure social distance and warn workers and managers about close proximity, as well as provide for contact tracing after the fact.

Projects will take longer: These safety changes are going to come at a cost, and that will be the speed at which a project is completed. Planning for jobs is going to have to include time for cleaning, staggering shifts, and working at distance—which may mean working slower.

Telework will become more common: Many construction office staff will continue to telecommute, including everyone from office assistants to CFOs to site inspectors. Many kinds of work will take place in part onsite and then completed at home.

Union influence will grow: During the crisis, unions have gained significant power in advocating for worker rights, particularly in New York. Construction Dive expects this trend to continue to spread across the country.

Demand for project types will grow: Due to changing economic climate, some buildings will shutter, and others will see a surge. There may be less demand for hospitality, retail and entertainment, but distribution and warehouse spaces will be growing as more of the economy becomes delivery-centered.

Supply chains will recalibrate: Imports will change—and already have changed—and we’re likely to see less material brought in from China, and more coming from American companies, as well as Mexico and Canada.

Modular adoption will increase: The trend toward prefabrication that has been growing over the past decade will move into overdrive, as building offsite will allow for cleaner, safer jobsites and more social distancing.

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