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Report examines COVID’s impact on U.S. construction productivity

Report examines COVID’s impact on U.S. construction productivity

BETHESDA, MD. — ELECTRI International has released a report on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the U.S. construction sector.

The report, titled Pandemics and Construction Productivity: Quantifying the Impact, studies the impact of COVID-19 on costs and schedules in the industry. The report evaluates activity from Jan. 6 to May 8, tracking pandemic mitigation activity, calculating productivity and assessing the impact on businesses and projects.

The report aims to achieve three key goals, said a May 13 release: quantify the impact on jobsite productivity; provide a calculator for contractors to measure the associated impacts; and provide information for pricing future projects.

The research determined that the construction industry’s response to the coronavirus had a 12 per cent impact on productivity, and that profitability was subsequently affected by up to 100 per cent, depending on the percentage spent on labour. The findings provide substantiation for what will likely be billions of dollars in change orders across the construction industry, said ELECTRI International.

A rule of thumb for self-performing contractors is that a 10 per cent impact on productivity results in a 100 per cent impact on profitability, the report stated.

“While the federal government classified infrastructure as essential, many segments of the construction industry shut down completely in response to COVID-19,” said Sonja Rheaume, ELECTRI council chair. “Our comprehensive study includes research data from National Electrical Contractors Association contractors, which highlights productivity and hours lost due to new social distancing, PPE guidelines and other pandemic-related factors. It will be a useful tool for contractors to measure these impacts on their projects.”

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