It is hard to believe that just two months ago, things were business as usual. Now the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees, bringing about socioeconomic repercussions that rival that of historical financial crises of the 1930s and 1997. Businesses that used to be commonplace are now desperately clinging to life as community quarantine measures are enforced to combat the spread.
The construction industry is one of those that suffered a lot during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is hard enough that it carried the stigma of being one of the most dangerous industries to work in, but now even the people in it are struggling. Workers are risking their and their family’s health to help them survive in a quarantined world. The related companies usually operate on a ‘no work no pay’ basis for their builders. Given the contagious nature of the virus, major projects are forced to be put on hold (either by their owners or by law) until the pandemic subsides.
Curbed recently published an article detailing the effects of COVID-19 on the US Construction Industry. Its content shows dilemmas similar to that of the rest of the construction world. It also asks the question of whether or not the industry is considered to be essential, or at least, as essential as food and medical aid.
Some projects can easily be deemed necessary if they concern the construction or maintenance of public welfare structures such as medical facilities and temporary housing. In support of this type of initiative, some countries like Australia even produced guidelines that focus on ensuring safe working conditions. These, however, can only go as far as to tell people that physical distancing is the key. If a worker is suspected of illness or was in contact with an infected, then 14-day quarantine measures must be enacted by the management and its people.
Keeping projects alive is a financial and moral dilemma for many in this business. Construction projects require immense team effort, and the threat of the coronavirus undoubtedly cripples its progress severely. With this global health crisis nowhere at its end, industries can only do so much to thrive while waiting for the world to go back to normal.