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AGC Releases Survey on Project Halts

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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The Associated General Contractors of America recently released a survey researching the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the construction industry.

A main takeaway is that 39% of the contractors surveyed report that project owners have halted or canceled current construction projects.

“The abrupt plunge in economic activity is taking a swift and severe toll on construction,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist, noting that only 18% of respondents have been ordered to halt work by elected officials.

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The Associated General Contractors of America recently released a survey researching the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the construction industry.

“The sudden drop in demand stands in sharp contrast to the strong employment levels this industry was experiencing just a few weeks ago.”

The Survey

In the survey, conducted March 23-25, 45% of the 1,640 respondents reported experiencing project delays or disruptions.

Other findings include:

  • 23% - report shortages of material, parts and equipment, including vital personal protective equipment for workers such as respirators;
  • 18% reported shortages of craftworkers;
  • 16% said projects were delayed by shortages of government workers needed for inspections, permits and other actions;
  • 13% said delay or disruption had occurred because a potentially infected person had visited a jobsite; and
  • 35% of firms said suppliers had notified them or their subcontractors that some deliveries would be delayed or canceled.

On the flip side, 8% of firms did report they have added new work expanding health care and other facilities needed to respond to the growing health crisis.

Along with the survey results, the AGC warned that while coronavirus relief measures will provide some immediate help for construction workers and their employers, “Congress must do more to protect high-paying construction jobs.”

“The steps firms are taking to protect workers from the coronavirus unfortunately won’t be enough to save many of them from the economic damage the pandemic is creating,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, the association’s Chief Executive Officer. “Construction workers and employers need more than a lifeline, they need a recovery plan.”

Sandherr issued a statement a few weeks ago saying that shutting down construction projects is an unnecessary step.

“Halting construction activity will do more harm than good for construction workers, community residents and the economy,” he said. “Construction firms are already acting to ensure the safety and health of their employees in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. These new measures, which include increased hygiene and halting group gatherings of staff, are in addition to the fact construction workers already wear protective equipment, including gloves that will help protect them and their co-workers.

He went on to say that, because of the protective measures already put in place for construction workers, halting construction would only undermine the economy, depriving more people of wages and risking the firms who are under contractual obligations to stay on schedule.

“In addition, halting construction projects will undermine ongoing, and future, recovery efforts in regions hit by natural disasters, and will also undermine any future efforts to expand hospital capacity,” he said.

“In the unfortunate event construction is halted, we urge construction owners to consider continuing their scheduled payments to contractors as a down payment for work to be completed on the project. These payments will help mitigate some of the potential economic impacts of construction shutdowns.”

View all of PaintSquare Daily News' coverage on COVID-19, here.


Tagged categories: Associated General Contractors (AGC); Associations; COVID-19; Good Technical Practice; Industry surveys; NA; North America

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