It’s been a little over a year since the coronavirus pandemic sent the entire world into a period of uncertainty, heartache, and panic. The construction industry itself has undertaken many different challenges, above and beyond keeping their people safe on the jobsite, many of which no one could have expected.
Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) recently completed a comprehensive survey of nearly 1500 contractor members to see how the ongoing pandemic is still affecting their business. Among the challenges still facing many are supply chain constraints, rising material costs, and project delays and cancellations.
“The survey results make it clear that the construction industry faces a variety of challenges that threaten to leave many firms and workers behind, even as some parts of the economy are recovering or even thriving,” said Ken Simonson, AGC’s chief economist. “The pandemic has left the supply chain for a range of key construction components in tatters and undermined demand for a host of private-sector projects.”
The survey asked 15 questions to contractors and the results were tallied as a total and then broken down by region of the US, State, size of company, and project type. All of the segmented data can be found on the AGC’s website, but I’ll cover the highlights of the overall results here.
Survey respondents were asked what kinds of delays they were experiencing on their projects and the shortage of construction materials, equipment, and parts was the overall leader at 52%. 29% reported that they are not experiencing any shortages or delays currently. Other respondents said that their delays are caused by labor shortages, potentially infected people visiting the jobsite, shortage of PPE, and difficulty obtaining financing to cover cash flow.
90% of respondents cited backlogs or shutdowns at domestic factories, mills, and fabricators as the reason for delays. Another 51% cited backlogs or shutdowns at foreign producers as the reason.
93% of respondents said that they have experienced additional costs due to the pandemic. 81% said that these cost increases were due to PPE and sanitation requirements, 58% said that projects are taking longer, and 27% said that fewer workers are allowed on jobsites.
Some companies (31%) have achieved some cost savings due to the pandemic, including through jobsite technologies, reduced travel, and reduced office expenses.
46% said that there has been no change in headcount at their company over the past year, while 20% have added employees, and 34% have lost employees. 65% of those that lost employees said that the reduction was due to postponed or canceled projects, 45% blamed fewer projects to bid on, 37% cited that some employees have quit or refused to work because of illness, exposure concerns, or family responsibilities, and 12% said that fewer workers are allowed on jobsites.
There is a confidence among 62% of the respondents that they expect their headcount to grow over the next 12 months. Only 12% expect their headcount to drop.
Additional questions in the survey covered future project projections, total overall volume of business, political action, and demographics information. You can see the full survey results here: https://www.agc.org/sites/default/files/AGC%20Coronavirus%20Survey%20National%20Results_F_0.pdf