How COVID-19 Has Affected Changes In the Construction Sector

Additions and Remodels
Bathroom Remodeling
Kitchen Remodeling
By Alex Mikayelyan September 23, 2021

It is no secret that the pandemic affected pretty much every sector one can think of. The world was turned on its head as COVID-19 spread all across the world. Unfortunately, while some industries managed to thrive, most professions began to falter as quarantines were put into place. And with everyone staying home, the way in which home projects would be carried out was naturally touched by new limitations as well. The effects of COVID-19 on construction projects have become quite apparent.

Since most construction trades perform their tasks in close proximity with their teams on construction sites, in workshops, or manufacturing plants, naturally, sweeping changes have been necessary for the way the industry functions. From pricing to precautions, to how individual tradespeople approach their work, these changes naturally trickle down to the homeowner as well.

Impact of COVID-19 On Construction Industry Trades

How Specific Trades In the Construction Industry Have Changed

How Specific Trades In the Construction Industry Have Changed

While machines may do a lot of the literal heavy lifting on construction sites, the calculative heavy lifting is still primarily done by the workers themselves. Typically, large projects such as the construction of houses can have up to 34 or more workers on the same site; something many states began to prohibit as the pandemic escalated and teams of that size carried the risk of increased COVID-19 infections.

As one would imagine, construction workers, contractors, plumbers, electricians, and plenty more trades in the sector are crucial to important and undelayable jobs. While this may vary from state to state, most construction trades are considered essential workers depending on what kind of project they are assigned to. A plumber on their way to fix a local pipe burst is going to be considered essential, whereas a pool contractor looking to help redesign an in-ground residential pool may not have the same level of clearance.

On the one hand, there is a higher demand for hiring construction professionals after people had more time at home to notice or come up with new ideas for renovations, remodels, and redecorations. Naturally, this would mean an increase in demand for professionals in construction trades to handle these tasks and serve the new influx of clients. However, because of limitations on travel, supplies, and deliveries, this has not been easy for most tradespeople. Carpenters who are working locally are not necessarily going to have trouble delivering their products to clients living in the area. However, those who work from out of the city would not only have trouble delivering their product to their clientele but may not even be allowed to travel to their workshop altogether. 

Utilities and Maintenance

An Increased Need for Utility Maintenance During Coronavirus Outbreaks

An Increased Need for Utility Maintenance During Coronavirus Outbreaks

Even the most high-tech and modern homes have their limits. Regardless of how advanced standard home utilities have become, their capacity to handle a heavier load is not always cut out for the job. When the entire household is under lockdown, utilities are most likely working overtime to keep up with everyone’s power, water, and gas demands.

Putting the larger bills aside, this also means that your home’s utility systems will be wearing down at a faster rate. During a lockdown for example there is an increased number of houses producing more energy across the grid in every neighborhood. Therefore, keeping up with the demands for basic home utilities became a challenge as well and as a result, many homes experienced problems with their electricity, water, and gas. During this time, however, utility-based jobs and maintenance professionals also increased in demand, as homeowners needed more help more often for their plumbing, electricity, and everything else in between.

The more an appliance like a sink is used, the more likely it is to break. Once it breaks, there are only so many homeowners with the DIY know-how and necessary parts at hand to deal with it on their own. And if the hardware store happens to be closed due to less flexible work hours, then a plumber is really the only way to go. This is just one of the many scenarios that have brought utility and maintenance trades to the forefront of the industry after coronavirus-induced lifestyle changes.

Rising Prices

The Rising Prices of Construction Supplies and Equipment

The Rising Prices of Construction Supplies and Equipment

Construction jobs have unequivocally risen in demand as more home project enthusiasts have been more in tune with their homes and the state of their interior, exterior, and landscaping. With rising demand and the larger number of backlog orders for construction companies, the rates for construction projects have risen quite a bit. But there are other factors that contribute to the rising prices of construction projects as well.

One major factor is the materials and supplies. However, strict COVID-19 regulations, lockdowns, and quarantines, often lead to materials not reaching their destinations as fast as they used to. For example, the price of steel recorded an increase in 2020 as a result of low supplies due to slow transportation. 

Questions About Your Next Home Improvement Project In the Time of COVID-19

Is it safe to hire a contractor?

Hiring a Contractor During a Pandemic

Hiring a Contractor During a Pandemic

You should follow the same protocols as you would with anyone else coming into your home to protect yourself when hiring a contractor. While many companies follow very strict coronavirus guidelines, this does not mean that every one of their workers is as thorough to follow through. Feel comfortable asking contractors to put on a mask, making sure to put one on yourself; ask them to wear gloves, try to maintain a distance, and most importantly, remember to use hand sanitizer.

If the area you live in has high cases of the virus, it is advised that you try to avoid interior projects and call in a contractor only for landscaping, hardscaping, or taking care of external structures and utilities. Try to avoid working on indoor projects until the number of cases has significantly decreased.

What precautions to take so your home project is as safe as possible?

If you simply cannot put off starting a construction project, then you need to at least take all precautions to minimize the risk of infection for yourself, the workers, and the rest of your household.

One precautionary step is to designate a separate lavatory for the construction workers. Considering the nature of their job, they’re going to need their own bathroom where they can wash up numerous times a day. This isn’t just done to keep the rest of the house clean but can also help in isolating your household from germs and bacteria from others who may be infected. Whether it’s a small bathroom in the basement or the one near the kitchen, give your workers a separate place to wash up to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Was there any positive impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry?

As hard as the coronavirus may have been and still is for a lot of people, there are always notes of positivity that line all bad news. Despite the limitations on transportation, supply, and the reach that various construction trades had in their local area, there were some improvements in the construction sector in the past year and a half.

With everyone staying at home during quarantine, more and more homeowners became interested in ways they could spruce up their interiors and make them more liveable. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why some construction trades and projects skyrocketed during COVID-19 lockdowns. And while the construction industry did suffer to some extent, many analysts are hopeful that it will be able to recover in the near future.

Written by
Alex Mikayelyan

Written by Alex Mikayelyan