The industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) construction industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) surveyed 200 Ontario ICI contractors between April 22 and 29.
“The Coronavirus Contractors Survey: Impact and Actions” found that 98 per cent of contractors have been impacted by coronavirus to some extent, with more than half reporting that most of their work has stopped altogether.
Existing work has stopped completely for 64 per cent of those polled, and 65 per cent of their upcoming projects have been delayed. In addition, 63 per cent of contractors are affected by supply chain issues at a medium to high level.
The leading concern by contractors is ensuring the health and safety of their workforce, followed by global recession and productivity. Disruptions to supply chains, keeping firms in business, and the ability to meet contractual deadlines, are also prominent concerns.
Most contractors – 63 per cent – agreed with the province’s decision on April 3 to shut down parts of construction, and 22 per cent were opposed. The provincial shutdown affected 63 per cent of construction activity.
Under the April restrictions and current government levels of support, 16 per cent of construction firms expect they would go out of business within three months and 28 per cent would go out of business within three to six months.
On average, contractors report their revenue is down 42 per cent compared to the same time last year.
Contractors took steps to protect their workers and lower the risk of spreading the virus by encouraging more frequent hand washing, making hand sanitizer more available, and establishing procedures that allow workers to call attention to unsanitary conditions. The survey showed that 74 per cent of contractors have laid off construction site workers, while 42 per cent have laid off office staff.
Essential construction projects were allowed to reopen in Ontario on May 4 as long as they comply with strict public health measures and operate safely during the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, please visit www.plumbingandhvac.ca/ont-reopening-construction-projects/.