The construction industry after Corona – what’s next?

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The COVID-19 epidemic also affects us professionally, in relation to the future of the industry and the security of our jobs.

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Corona – How Pandemic affects construction industry?

The corona pandemic has hit society and economy completely unprepared in recent months. One can only speculate about the long-term effects on the individual sectors. Meaningful forecasts for this will probably only be possible in a few months or even years. However, the short-term effects on the economy can already be felt. Lockdown and short-time work have left their mark nationally and internationally. Like other economic sectors, those responsible in the construction industry are now asking themselves what will happen after the Corona crisis.

Business climate index increases significantly in June

After a massive slump in April, the mood in the economy and construction sector improved noticeably in the following two months. The Business Climate Index rose to 86.2 points in June after having already reached 79.7 points in May. This is the strongest increase ever measured. Due to the corona pandemic, the index slipped to its lowest point of 74 points in April. The companies assess the current situation somewhat better. Your expectations also make a significant leap upwards.

If you look at the data for the construction industry, the picture is almost the same. There, too, the index is slowly recovering after falling to a historic low of -17.5 points in April. It rose slightly to -12.3 points in May and made it to -7.5 points in June.

Corona and the consequences for the construction industry

The mood of the construction industry is still subdued in view of the corona pandemic, as the latest company survey by the Central Association of the Business Building Trade has shown. Accordingly, the upturn in construction activity typical of early summer is not reflected in the development of demand and production, but largely remains at the previous month’s level. The surveyed construction companies report a downward trend, particularly in commercial construction and public construction. The order backlog is only described as “sufficient” in residential construction.

“As in the previous month, we continue to see the effects of the Corona pandemic, which will continue in June. The companies have an additional effort to protect the health of employees by complying with the distance and hygiene rules. There are still disruptions in the supply chains, ”explains Felix Pakleppa, General Manager of the ZDB, the survey results. “We are closely monitoring the economic trend. If the current trend solidifies, the construction industry will end significantly worse than in 2019. ”

Dieter Babiel, Managing Director of the Central Association of the German Construction Industry, is hitting the same notch: “Construction companies started the new year with a very high order backlog, but we fear that it will melt away more and more. After all, every fourth construction company reports cancellations, 45 percent of falling demand or a lack of tenders, especially in the municipal sector. ”

The main association of the US construction industry currently assumes that construction turnover in the construction sector in 2020 will stagnate at the previous year’s level. A price decline of 3 percent is expected. This picture also confirms a current survey among member companies. 37 percent of the companies assume a decline in sales of more than 5 percent, 21 percent expect a decrease of less than 3 percent and 28 percent see no sales changes. Only 14 percent of the companies surveyed anticipate an increase in sales.

Corona crisis hits architects less hard than feared

The negative consequences of the Corona pandemic are still limited for architecture and engineering firms. This is the result of the second nationwide survey by the Federal Chamber of Architects and Federal Engineers. In June, 58 percent of the engineering firms surveyed stated that they were experiencing negative effects from the coronavirus pandemic. At the first survey in April, it was 75 percent.

“Overall, the situation currently seems to be less dramatic for most of the planning offices than feared. But now is not the time to sit back and relax, ”said the President of the Federal Chamber of Engineers, Hans-Ullrich Kammeyer, summarizing the results of the survey. At the same time, however, he warns that the planning offices could hit the crisis even more late. For this reason, the Federal Chamber of Engineers demands, among other things, that public and commercial clients be strengthened. This means that construction contracts, permits and payment flows are guaranteed.

Corona will change the architecture of the future

What impact will the corona pandemic have on future architecture? From Zhu Xiaofeng’s (Scenic Architecture) office in Shanghai, architecture faces a completely new challenge: “Our current interest was to develop new spaces for communities. But from now on we have to rethink. So the architects have to answer the question of what kind of space is flexible enough for assembly and separation. ”

For Tan Gangyi, an architect from Wuhan, the corona pandemic also has a positive effect on architecture and construction: “Remote monitoring and VR technology, especially after the introduction of 5G and other technologies, not only has a major impact on design, but also also on the architecture itself. The production and distribution of knowledge will change, and the combination of online and offline in architecture education and architecture design is becoming more and more common. “

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