Challenges in the Construction Industry Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Construction Industry

It’s safe to say that life has changed for all of us, and this includes people across the entire planet. In March of 2020, we saw the abrupt shutdown of industry after industry as countries around the world began closing their borders. 

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic tightened its deadly grip on the world, choking the life out of people and normalcy. Today, as of 2021, the pandemic is still surging in many parts of the world, and its effects are still being felt across all industries.

Regardless of the pandemic, the construction industry already faced numerous challenges that have made it difficult to get projects completed in a timely fashion. Now with the onset of effects from the pandemic, there are even more challenges within this essential industry.

In this post, we’ll explore the challenges that you face in the construction industry today.

Supply Shortages

One thing that has affected businesses everywhere is the supply shortages that can be seen from store shelves that are rarely restocked in a timely manner, and the price hikes that they’ve resulted in.

Construction work relies heavily on materials. And if you can’t get raw materials delivered in a timely fashion, this delays your contracting work tremendously. Correspondingly, if you can’t acquire your materials, you can’t complete a job nor get paid. 

Supply shortages have largely been linked to understaffing due to rising infection rates around the country, particularly within the transportation space such as with OTR truckers and the like. 

Many businesses (including transportation companies) are also beginning to require vaccinations for employees, and this has resulted in a lack of personnel due to current apprehension for getting the vaccines. 

Qualified Personnel 

The construction industry isn’t just a home for those who are handy with a hammer or a screwdriver. This industry is typically full of highly skilled workers with proficiency in a variety of trades. 

To put it another way, contractors may need a qualified machinist who knows the finer points of CNC machining. These skills are usually learned through in-depth training over a long career or through schooling, and personnel who can work CNC machines aren’t easy to come by.

Additionally, qualified personnel are also needed to operate heavy equipment such as front-end loaders, backhoes, and excavators. Contractors also need qualified workers to pick up and drive equipment such as flatbed truck rentals to haul supplies and materials.

Without skilled workers, this slows the construction process considerably, and delays can cost money in the long run. 

Labor Costs

Our cost of living has risen tremendously within the last 5 years alone. Add the COVID-19 pandemic to the equation, and the cost of living has risen even more just within the last two years as of 2021. 

With the higher cost of living, comes the demand for higher wages. And workers in the construction industry are no different. 

During the economic shutdown of 2020, the construction industry lost around 2 million jobs. And though the industry has begun to see a slight rebound, the fact remains that workers are demanding higher pay in nearly every industrial sector. 

Some contractors are circumventing this obstacle by hiring cheap labor, or taking on apprentices right out of high school in order to pay a lower wage in exchange for on-the-job experience. 

But as the economy continues to rebound slowly along its bumpy road of recovery, finding skilled labor or those willing to work for a lower wage has been proving difficult across the country. 

As of 2021, there are numerous challenges to be found in nearly every industry, and much of this is a direct effect of the problems that the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has caused.

The construction industry is essential to infrastructure and to the degree of comfort that we demand in our daily lives. As such, this industry, though currently hurdling obstacles, will ultimately rebound just as it’s done in years past.