NASHVILLE, Tenn.Michael Rankin, Crain Construction president/CEO, recently participated in a panel discussion about the lingering effects of COVID-19 on the construction industry. Following are some takeaways from this discussion.

What permanent changes might the industry see after COVID-19?

  • There will be a renewed emphasis on safety and employee health. Jobsites will be cleaner and safer.
  • Virtual meetings and inspections will be the norm.
  • Project schedules will extend due to loss of productivity and staggering shifts.
  • Working remotely is not an option for construction sites, but administrative remote working will increase.
  • The supply chain will recalibrate. With a significant amount of construction products manufactured in China and other countries, some manufacturers will bring manufacturing to the U.S. to reduce or eliminate supply delays.
  • Prefabrication and modular construction will increase offering the ability to control the environment and increase productivity.

What are some new wants/needs coming out of the industry due to the pandemic?

  • Demand for data centers and warehouse/distribution centers will increase. Office and retail space demand will decrease.
  • Office layouts will allow for more separation.
  • Technology will enable fewer touches in office and hospitality structures.
  • HVAC will be designed for increased ventilation and filtration.
  • Parking design may adjust for less occupancy and shared parking.

There could be a major reset in the commercial real estate industry, especially in hardest hit areas like the Northeast. With the increased availability of office and retail space, creative property owners are the ones who will come out ahead.

The COVID-19 protocol for jobsites Crain Construction implemented will continue, including handwashing or sanitizing stations on every floor, daily tool, equipment, ladder and stairway sanitizing, social distancing, wearing masks, and buck-hoist separation.

Honest and frequent communication with clients, architects and partners has always been a hallmark of our company. That won’t change.

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