How is COVID-19 Affecting the Construction Industry?

How is COVID-19 affecting the construction industry?

As more and more states begin lockdown and social distancing procedures, many are issuing shutdown orders for those businesses that are deemed non-essential.

In this article, we’ll look at the affect the corona virus is having on construction, where construction is essential/non-essential in the US, and the overall outlook for the industry itself.

How is COVID-19 Affecting the Construction Industry


Since the beginning of March, the corona virus has had a huge impact on construction.

Businesses across the board have become concerned with employee well-being.

Both larger construction companies, and smaller general contractors, have faced these issues with growing support and tools for preventing the virus’ spread.

The Associate General Contractors of Washington, has organized a Toolbox Talk for members to discuss the issue with their crews.

They are also looking at the mental health of their members.

Construction Drive Survey

A recent survey by Construction Drive, a leading industry publication for construction and building, discovered that 70% of respondents were anxious about the situation, citing concerns about material shortages or government shutdowns.

The risk of transmission for those outside of the healthcare sector is relatively low, however construction companies still worry about an outbreak happening near one of their jobsites or offices.

As business, schools, and colleges begin to shut down, local governments have implemented shut downs of non-essential businesses, including construction in some states.

Management software company Construct Connect created a construction activity report, showing which states currently have no restrictions for their construction and which states are deeming construction non-essential.

Construction Activity Report

As of this publication, Washington, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania have deemed construction to be a non-essential business, with an exception for public infrastructure, housing, and healthcare projects.

Other construction companies have placed rigorous restrictions or guidelines when it comes to international travel.

Another concern is legal repercussions.

With delays occurring on projects, contractors may still be contractually obligated to the terms of the project’s contracts.

Overall Outlook for Construction


While the labor force is seeing possible layoffs, especially in states where construction has been deemed non-essential, construction companies are doing what many other businesses are – creating remote work forces.

Though construction is usually thought of as a hands on industry, there are aspects that can be done remotely.

Architects for instance can create or change design elements while remote and meetings can be held using a variety of teleconferencing tools.

COVID-19 is having an adverse effect on the construction industry, however associations and companies are doing their best to support their field workers.

Construction companies who have had to layoff workers are eager and hopeful about hiring their employees back once the shut downs have been lifted and are helping their employees receive benefits while not at work.

The AGC has argued for continued work for the construction industry, especially for the essential building of hospitals, housing, and other buildings.

The slowing of construction projects has given way to finding alternative methods (like shipping containers) to build urgent care facilities, testing areas, and quarantines.

For example, a new project called CURA (connected units for respiratory ailments) is currently being built in Milan, Italy to provide ICU units to coverage the shortage of intensive care space in hospitals.

CURA - Connected Units for Respiratory Ailments

These units can be quickly deployed to cities around the world.

Other organizations, such as Hospitals of Hope’s Clinic in a Can, offer mobile units to areas that may not have adequate health care facilities.

These projects are using shipping containers, making them easy to convert, customize and move to areas that are needed.

Southwest Mobile Storage is dedicated to keeping both our customers and staff safe during this time. We have upgraded our cleaning procedures and are practicing social distancing with staff and clients.

If you have any questions on cleaning shipping containers or our procedures, please give us a call at 800.686.9114.