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Another impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry which we discussed with Jack Nugent, J&L Carpentry was the fall in essential materials. With the shutdown of sites and reduction in work, projects were put on hold meaning companies would not be buying supplies and materials. As projects are slowly beginning to start back up companies are struggling to fulfil the timeline of the original project for their clients, therefore increasing on already delayed project plans and potential rising costs.
Jack discusses J&L’s concerns with obtaining materials. “Safety aside, another huge barrier that we faced as a result of the pandemic was the backlog in obtaining materials. Even when the lockdown was lifted, there were supply chain issues which meant that materials which would usually be delivered next day are now taking over a week or, in some cases, much longer.”
A change in pace is certainly something companies will have to adjust project plans to however, as we slowly return to the new normal, supply companies will adapt to suit the demands of their clients. J&L have already noted an improvement, and hopefully this will continue. “This has improved over the last few weeks and it does seem that things are slowly getting back to ‘normal’.”
Construction has always had safety at the heart of what they do. As part of safety regulation construction professionals have their own PPE, but with the additional protection required, J&L Carpentry worked hard to obtain those in order to keep their workers safe. “We work with some fantastic suppliers who have assisted us in sourcing additional personal protective equipment including masks, gloves, goggles and hand sanitiser which were all included in ‘return to work PPE packs’ for our operatives.”
All government guidance for those working during lockdown, including social distancing should be followed as required by the guidance given. This is very important for projects to progress during the pandemic whilst ensuring the workers safety is most important.
Moving forward, we are not likely to see a quick ‘business as normal’. Faced with rising costs, labour shortages, more stringent requirements and limited supplies, what does the future look like for the construction industry?
“The last few months have certainly been challenging, but it does feel as though we are on the road to recovery. As long as everyone in the construction industry continues to follow the steps laid out by the government and remains flexible and willing to adapt to change, I’m confident that we will bounce back from this and continue to thrive.”
With the governments plans to kickstart the construction industry, what will a new normal look like for an industry that has long been slow to embrace digitisation? Could this be a potential route for companies to investigate in order to overcome workforce shortage. One thing is for sure, the impact on the construction industry is anticipated to evolve over the coming months forcing many companies to adapt and grow with the new normal.
We have enjoyed speaking to J&L Carpentry to gain an inside insight into how this pandemic is affecting the construction industry and ways they have worked around the situation in the small time frame. Adapting to the situation swiftly and actioning guidelines seems to be the best response in getting back to work.