Importance of industry to governments will help it survive further lockdowns, firm adds

A second wave of covid-19 infections would not be as bad for construction as the first, new research from Mace has said.

The report, Riding out the second wave: how construction should prepare, said the global construction industry is predicted to drop from an expected positive 3.1% annual growth rate in 2020 to 0.5% for 2020 because of covid-19.


Mace's work at Battersea Power Station was stopped for several weeks in the wake of the UK lockdown

It said that in many markets experts were forecasting a significant contraction in 2020, such as in South and Southeast Asia where a previously growing construction industry is now likely to see a 4.3% contraction by the end of the year.

But the firm said a second wave would be unlikely to have the same impact on construction as it would in other sectors.

The report said: "If a second wave of infections does occur at a significant scale, it is almost inevitable that governments will need to impose new lockdown restrictions to prevent healthcare facilities becoming overloaded.

"However, in Mace’s view there are a number of reasons to be optimistic that construction will face a limited impact compared to other economic sectors."

The firm said the fact the sector was seen as critical to economic recovery meant governments were likely to prioritise their construction sectors to drive their economies while considering new lockdown measures.

It also said new lockdowns were likely to be local rather than national, meaning less disruption for supply chains and a more consistent construction workload across national economies.

And it said supply chains are now more resilient than they previously were, enabling companies to restart operations if there are further stoppages.

Preparing for a second wave – how to minimise risk

  • Prioritise and enforce current health and safety measures
  • Proactively address fatigue and mental wellbeing
  • Encourage collaborative working with partners
  • Increase productivity across projects and programmes
  • Ensure programmes are up to date and resilient
  • Continually measure supply chain performance
  • Develop contingency plans for local lockdowns