COVID-19 Building Industry Survey Results

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We are grateful to the more than 120 respondents that took the time to complete our survey in early April and share honest insights on the impact of the global health crisis on themselves. Read on for results, including a selection of written comments from respondents we felt captured the essence of the situation.

Respondent Roles

Our respondents were highly representative of our clients and contacts with building industry professionals comprising over 70%, homeowners about 10%, and others (suppliers, utilities, government, real estate etc) about 20%.

Financial Impact

"Due to COVID-19, how do you forecast the impact on your company's revenue through the end of 2020"? Building professional respondents overwhelmingly expect revenue to drop or have "no idea". 

Kids!

Of those who indicated they either felt "more" or "less" productive at home, can you guess how having children at home impacted those responses? You guessed right: of those without kids at home, just 58% said they feel less productive at home. Of those with kids at home, 74% said they feel less productive at home.

General Impacts on Work

"What have been the impacts of COVID-19 on you or your company's work to date?" Respondents were invited to select true statements from the viewpoint of their role in the building industry. Following are results of how many people selected each statement (it would be interesting to run this survey again to see how responses have sentiments have shifted in the last month):

Challenges + Opportunities

Not surprisingly, the overwhelming sentiment was a feeling of uncertainty and the anxiety that accompanies it. Many responses were also tinged with cautious optimism for what this event could mean for the future of both the building industry and the world in general. Although respondents were concerned about safety (for themselves, their business, their loved ones and their staff), they also saw an opportunity to focus on values and make changes (like working from home) that can have long term impacts. There were also many responses that focused on a realization of what is ‘essential,’ the need to slow down and be intentional, and the interconnection of humans.

Challenges:

Economic downturn prospects are very unclear and unsettling. 

Uncertainty of broader impact on industry, uncertainty around the best way to support others

Worrying that the contractors who are in the middle of construction projects that are stopped will go out of business and not be able to finish. 

Maintaining relationships with colleagues; productivity of staff. 

Because of the reduction in billable work (due to change / need to home childcare, schooling, etc)  it has become hard to rest, play, etc when all of the opportune times are spent trying to play catch-up or bill for the hourly time to keep up with the cost of living, bills, food, etc.

Trying to keep both spouses working full time while also home schooling full time

lack of time and focus with kids around; maintaining connections with team; creating the time required to adequately forecast, consider scenarios & create contingency plans

Completing current construction projects with new and serious challenges of social distancing. 

Some days at home I am MORE productive. Other days I am LESS productive. The challenge is that things change with every day.

Trying to forecast the unforcastable."

Silver linings or opportunities:

I'm getting 8 hours of sleep every night!

You realize how little you need to live a comfortable life 

It is certainly a chance to think about what is important enough that I should prioritize and what I miss.  It is easy to see that I work too much.

A chance to slow down, practice working more intentionally and more slowly without packing so much in. Less driving. 

Recognition that people can work effectively from home (when children are back at school)

Our quick transition to working remotely bodes well for handling other disruptions, and gives us faith in the abilities and resilience of our team.

Have everyone install an air filtration system. What a difference it makes. 

Identifying future building/design features that anticipate (and ideally help prevent) mass spread of viral infections even in densely populated situations.

Perhaps construction costs will come down. 

Being with family and watching kids grow / change in front of my eyes has been amazing! 

The maps show us how interconnected we are as a species across our habitat. They also show us inequity and underscore social determinants of health. C19 makes manifest both what needs to evolve in our societies, and how quickly change is possible when we have a shared purpose. 

I'll looking forward to what scientists find about our climate during this worldwide stop on fossil fuel consumption, etc... The world needed to adjust our daily activities to help fight climate change... #ScrewMarsSavePlanetEarth!

big picture: opportunity to rebuild the economy and respond to climate change (hope hope hope)

This year's garden will be EPIC"

We wish you well during this challenging time and look forward to seeing you in person again, someday.

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