The construction industry is responsible for every infrastructure in the US. It’s an essential industry and one that the country relies on as a fraction of its GDP. However, this massive industry isn’t invulnerable to the pandemic.
The pandemic has caused all sorts of problems in the US. From increasing death tolls into civil unrest, it seems that the pandemic is impossible to take control of. However, this year, more and more Americans choose to be inoculated. Moreover, the economy is also recovering. Therefore, it seems that the worse has come to pass when it comes to the pandemic.
We must review the pandemic’s effects on different industries to learn from them. In this article, we will be exploring how the pandemic changed the construction industry forever.
A Massive Industry
First, let’s talk about the scope of the construction industry. As stated earlier, the construction industry is massive in the US, earning trillions of dollars in revenue every year. However, revenue streams aren’t enough to identify the size of this industry. The number of workers should help you realize the scope of this massive industry.
It’s estimated that over nine million Americans work in the sector. That’s about 2% of the overall population. It’s considered to be the largest industry by employment. The shocking part about all this is that the industry is still poised to grow in the coming years. But this growth highly depended on different factors. Sadly, the pandemic isn’t one of them.
An Industry of Manpower
The construction industry relies a lot on its manpower. Without manpower, there’s no one to build infrastructures and projects for the betterment of the country. But, unfortunately, the sector realized this too late.
When the pandemic hit, 40% of independent construction firms claimed to have laid-off workers to survive the hit. More than half of these firms reported that they needed to apply for a paycheck protection program to keep their head above water.
The industry was already experiencing manpower problems before the pandemic, and now it’s struggling to recover because it had just laid off thousands of workers quite recently. As a result, many firms didn’t know what to do until they realized that they could diversify.
The majority of projects were halted when the pandemic hit. However, some of these projects were the lifeblood of many firms, and by disrupting these projects, they are left to fend for themselves. One way they did this was by diversifying their services.
Many firms realized that they needed them to work to pay their workers. So they started to grab small-time projects. One reliable project includes fencing work. Many were looking for contractors who specialize in fencing because many wanted to increase the size of their homes and backyards. This was a lucrative project when combined with landscaping.
The diversification of services is one way many firms survived the pandemic. Another way is to invest in new methods of construction.
Modular construction received a hefty amount of investments during the pandemic. It’s a safe and efficient way to build structures since it builds various structures part by part inside factories. These factories utilize AI and other heavy-duty equipment to build parts from scratch. After the parts are built, they are then sent on the site, where a handful of contractors can do the assembly.
The assembly takes only a few days or months, depending on the size of the structure. But what makes it so effective during the pandemic is that it requires minimal contact and only a handful of workers on-site instead of traditional building methods. Modular construction is an attractive way to build structures during a pandemic.
During the pandemic, the industry was desperate for solutions. However, these solutions won’t present themselves without needing to innovate. This is why the industry started to invest in other sectors such as AI to help them avoid the same problems that the pandemic has caused in the future.
Innovation is in the construction industry’s DNA. Sure, the sector might be slower to adopt new technologies than other industries, but everyone within the industry is always willing to innovate. This innovation is the prime reason why the sector is recovering from the pandemic this year and is poised for a full recovery in the next five years.
The construction industry is huge, and there is no doubt about that. But the pandemic has shown everyone that even such a huge industry can bleed. From manpower problems to project disruption, the list of problems for the sector goes on and on during the pandemic. But through innovation and application of modern methods of construction, the industry was able to survive. Now, experts believe that it will recover in no time at all.