On this special mid-week episode of the Construction Record podcast, Daily Commercial News staff writer Don Wall shares an interview he recently conducted with Tamer El-Diraby, a University of Toronto civil engineering professor who led a research project on how the construction industry is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite some successes like developing new supply chains and strong advocacy that kept the sector working while much of the rest of the society slowed down or shut down completely, El-Diraby said the construction sector didn’t fare well due to a general lack of preparedness and a fragmented set of strategies to deal with COVID.
The study is called “Best Practices for Industry-wide Collective Action to Manage Pandemics in the Ontario Construction Sector” and the research is supported by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario and the Residential Construction Council of Ontario and is made up of three phases. The first phase is a survey, with interviews followed by workshops to discuss findings and develop solutions.
El-Diraby goes into detail in the interview about the challenges the industry has faced already and will face going forward, including a shift in focus from the immediate problems of health and safety protocols that allow projects to continue to the broader survival of the sector and preparedness for the next pandemic or other crises.