As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, all aspects of life from how people live, socialize and work are being impacted. Companies in every industry are working to implement business continuity strategies as they try to navigate this unprecedented crisis.
In the construction sector, projects have been slowed and, in some areas, even halted as state, county, and city agencies issue shelter in place orders to inhibit the spread of the virus. A recent survey by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) found that 28% of respondents have stopped or delayed work on projects that are either active or expected to start within the next 30 days. The survey also found that 18% of respondents are experiencing project delays or disruptions due to a shortage of government workers (whether to issue permits or certificates of occupancy, or to conduct inspections or lettings, or to make project awards), and 16% are experiencing delays and disruptions resulting from a shortage of materials, equipment or parts.
Even with all these challenges, construction firms are finding ways to safely keep projects going. They are ensuring worker safety by enforcing social distancing, providing masks, wipes, and hand sanitizer at job sites, and prohibiting tool sharing unless they have been sanitized between users. They are also leveraging technology as part of business continuity strategies to track contract and financial issues impacted by the coronavirus, to ensure a high level of communication and collaboration as the virus causes project teams to become even more dispersed, and to document all aspects of project delays and disruptions resulting from the pandemic.
Contracts and Financials
Project management platforms – designed to help firms create and manage contracts and construction financials in a normal operating environment – become particularly critical in a crisis situation. With the disruptions and delays fueled by the coronavirus, firms will need to be able to quickly access and review contract documents to determine payment obligations resulting from force majeure delays. They will also need to review contract information/ notice requirements related to safety and impacts to project cost and schedule. Project management technology that acts as a “single source of truth” can make this process easier by housing all contract documents on a single platform.
The business impact of the virus in construction will also be felt in cost overruns resulting from schedule delays and increasing material costs. Firms will need to closely monitor project financials to track these overruns and assess cost-saving measures that might help mitigate them. Platforms that integrate project management with accounting are effective in helping with cost control, allowing construction and accounting teams to collaborate effectively online at all stages of a project as well as manage all project-related documentation.
RedTeam has integrated with Levelset – a construction payment SaaS platform, to help save time generating, tracking, and collecting important payment documentation. RedTeam users are able to create a project in the Levelset software platform directly from RedTeam’s construction project management software. Users can generate a lien waiver request routed to vendors ready to be signed, and once executed, will automatically be loaded into the Levelset project and available for access anytime from RedTeam. This helps to provide GCs with data integrity while reducing the time spent tracking critical documents. You can learn more about this integration here.
Communication and Collaboration
As social distancing measures are put in place to help slow the spread of the virus, remote working is the new norm for many workers. In construction, this might mean that the office team is operating from a variety of different locations, making construction project teams even more dispersed than they already were. This, coupled with the rapidly changing nature of the crisis, makes effective communication and collaboration even more vital. Construction firms can leverage project management technology to connect all project stakeholders wherever they are and ensure they are updated in real-time, not only on day-to-day project details and reports but on fluid pandemic-related safety and government information.
Documentation – always important for construction projects large and small in the best of times – is crucial in the worst of times when projects are impacted by forces outside a firm’s control. Documentation takes on added importance as the coronavirus impacts the construction sector with project delays, material shortages, increased costs, and other issues. Digitizing document capture can help firms easily create and access detailed reports of the impact of the virus on projects. The technology can also help firms keep bonding and insurance companies updated on impacts to projects.
There is no playbook to help companies navigate the devastating impact of the coronavirus. Businesses across the globe are working to weather the crisis by developing business continuity strategies aimed at keeping operations going. Construction firms, too, are focusing on business continuity strategies and leveraging technology to keep their business running and projects on track in a rapidly changing and challenging environment.
Be well and stay safe.