COVID-19 Pandemic’s Impact on the Global Engineering & Construction Industry

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The world has been wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unexpected immediate disruptors have been created for any industry around the world, whereas the engineering & public building sector is one of the few industries that has been maintained to a certain level.

However, in several of the countries that have gone under full or partial lockdown/shutdown (many countries such as China and Italy have slowed down or shut down their production sectors) and or curfew over the long term with numerous COVID-19 retractions, such as travel bans, etc., Any construction project has been heavily adversely affected due to various relevant problems, like the following key factors:

  • Provision of Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) protection and additional requirements for employee’ (Safety first), in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Contract administration issues, including liability issues, lack of insurance coverage, etc.
  • Termination of contracts to control expenses
  • Demand and deterred financiers
  • Travel restrictions and less welfare support availability of workers
  • Cost overruns and delays
  • The Legal and administrative issues, and Government mandate, etc.

Steps for companies to overcome the situation

The following measures can be advised for the engineering and construction industry to effectively manage and overcome this challenge and crisis.

  • Make health, safety, and well-being a top priority.
  • Evaluate the safety program/policy in place and ensure everyone’s health & safety.
  • Create an Executive Committee to study, train, and track the current position and the appropriate advance planning for the future; Perform scenario planning.
  • Assess your cash credentials.
  • Review your backlog and plan accordingly.
  • Utilize business interruption insurance, as necessary.
  • Communicate regularly with the stakeholders (Particularly with employees, client, subs, and vendors)
  • Track, revise, and re-evaluate all preparations on a daily basis until COVID-19 has been solved.

Safety is a top priority
As all construction workers and professionals are well aware of, the well-known motto of “Safety First” using in the Construction industry is a priority over all others as the construction activities always remain at the high level of potential risks with a wide variety of safety hazards.

In general practice, the main contractor of the project must be responsible for all health and safety steps, but it is not only the responsibility of the main contractor but also of all the other stakeholders involved in the building projects, to ensure a secure and a stable working atmosphere for all, including on the worksite team.

At this stage of the current high-stress situation, it is very important for all concerned parties to re-evaluate the health and safety program/policy that has been developed and enforced to provide the appropriate health and safety measures and to expand the ongoing safety program/policy to ensure the welfare of all those working for the project and to the general public from the whole COVID-19 pandemic.

The leadership of each and every company/group should be performed and should be responsible for promoting the required health and safety policies and for developing the means of supervision/monitoring. They will need to keep up to date of the unfolding situation to ensure that all workers on the team are up-to-date with the current scenario, are mindful of what needs to be accomplished personally and as a group, and eventually ensure that everything is secure, thus actively handling potential delays and other business losses.

Otherwise, without improving health and safety policies, staff and contractors feel unhappy and dissatisfied with ventures that do not take the appropriate precautions to reduce the effects of COVID-19, which would also have a direct effect on both product performance and productivity…

“Acting rapidly will definitely provide an advantage, particularly in the construction industry, ensuring that the improvements you make are more constructive – Work safely, Stay safe”

Suresh C’ Hewage

Senior Quantity Surveyor
MBA in Engineering Management

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