COVID-19 and the construction industry: It’s not business as usual

Komatsu Staff Writers

May 12, 2020

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has left few corners of the world untouched. The loss of lives has been overwhelming, and the loss of livelihood because of the stay-at-home orders aimed at quelling the spread of the virus has had significant economic impact, globally and here in North America.

While some states are have begun to ease their stay-at-home orders, how that will directly impact the construction industry and you, our customers, remains to be seen. Construction has been deemed an essential business in many states, so workers have continued working, but it’s not business as usual.

As an article from Equipment World noted, “Trying to get a job done safely has taken on added significance as contractors deal with the coronavirus pandemic on the job.”

Added safety precautions contractors are taking, many of which are in line with OSHA’s “COVID-19 Guidance for the Construction Workforce” include:

  • Encouraging workers to stay home if they’re sick
  • Social distancing
  • Continuous cleaning and disinfecting
  • Wearing masks at all times
  • Daily safety meetings (instead of weekly meetings)
  • Conference call bids

A recent survey from the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) found that 97 percent of its members’ work was considered essential by their state and local authorities; but, it depends on the state.

For example, some states like Washington still have more restrictive executive orders. According to Engineering News-Record, Washington’s Governor Jay Inslee is working with construction industry officials to allow construction projects to resume. The governor says that new projects can begin construction in phase two of a four-phased approach, but that phase won’t come until sometime in June at the earliest.

NUCA survey respondents indicated that their work backlog remains constant (44%), but 41% have experienced rolling work stoppages. The remaining 14% indicated their jobsite work had dramatically slowed down, bids were reduced to a trickle, or they had experienced large cancellations of private contracts.

In these unprecedented times, a lot has changed about daily business activities, but our commitment to you, our customers, remains the same. We know that you are probably limiting your time at work or on site, and we’re here to support you with more convenient service options.

Online solutions like My Komatsu, let you place orders anytime for your Komatsu equipment, and have parts delivered on your terms: shipped to your job site or home; curbside pickup; loaded onto your truck or left in a drop box.

To effectively manage your quarry operation, you need to know how to maintain production levels at a site if someone on your team is out because of illness and a unit (or more) goes down. Our Business Solutions Group (BSG) can work through those time-consuming calculations and help you make those determinations, all at no cost to you.

None of us has a crystal ball to predict how long the impact of this pandemic will affect the construction industry, but we’re here to support you.

For additional information, please visit our COVID-19 resource center.

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