What does the future hold for construction in a Covid19 world?

The construction industry is bracing for what the future may hold as social restrictions expand in the effort to fight the coronavirus spread. In the early days of the virus the fear was the impact on supply chains as industry ground to a halt in China, now the question is how much of the industry will be able to pick-up tools in the coming weeks and months. So far, the industry which employs 9.0% of all Australians, has been exempt from most of the shutdowns and restrictions aside from social-distancing.

Thankfully to date, only a handful of building sites nationally have reported positive coronavirus cases amongst their workforce and only few have had to down-tools for more than a couple of days. Employment aside, construction and engineering firms are frantically reviewing commercial contracts to identify any exposure to liquidated damages and failure to meet delivery deadlines.

Given the nature of the industry it is unlikely, even under stage 3 restrictions, that a total shutdown would be imposed. Infrastructure projects in particular are delivering an essential service and the current pipeline of health projects must proceed if not be expedited. Top of this list is the new Footscray and Frankston hospitals.

In an effort to shore-up the industry the CFMMEU has proposed allowing construction sites to operate 24 hours allowing workers to split shifts although this would require agreement from councils to waive noise restrictions.

For the moment it is business as usual, but there will inevitably be broad changes to the way we build over the coming months.

Read more at The Age here.