The COVID-19 Pandemic has severely affected the civil engineering industry in every nation. In fact, it is the only industry that bore the worst brunt of the coronavirus in 2020, and New York in America was one of the worst-hit areas. Though activities relating to construction have been permitted to resume in several parts of the USA since the outbreak of the Pandemic, several projects that have been in the final planning and bidding stages have been canceled or even delayed due to the high levels of uncertainty surrounding the economy. Declined demand for new projects and safety concerns revolving around COVID-19 infections at construction sites.
Reddy Kancharla – Challenges faced by the civil engineering industry in 2021
Reddy Kancharla has served as the President, has been a former Vice President and Chief Engineer of an esteemed construction QA/QC firm in the NYC metro area. He has over 25 years of valuable experience in the field of geotechnical consultation, civil construction, and construction QA/QC. He also has played a key role in the design and construction of several commercial cum residential properties in New Jersey as well as the metropolitan area of New York.
When it comes to the forecast for the future, he says the civil engineering industry is likely to recover from 2022 to 2024. With other experts in the field, he anticipates that the output of the industry is expected to record yearly average growth of about 1.1% during this period.
The government of the USA has plans to boost investment in the construction of infrastructure, mainly in critical sectors of transportation like ports, bridges, roads, as well as in sewerage, telecommunications, and water.
Risks of the Pandemic
However, the risks of the Pandemic still remain. There is anticipation that social distancing levels, both voluntary and compulsory, are likely to remain in 2021. Even as the economy is gradually reopening, people are still cautious about consumption in the future. In the absence of a vaccine, both companies and workers will find it challenging to adjust to the new normal that is crucial for the recovery of the construction industry in 2021.
When it comes to the question as to whether the construction industry will recover on its own or will it need a stimulus to recover still remains a big question. It is really too early for even veterans of the construction industry to comment.
Reddy Kancharla says the civil engineering industry was in recession in 2020, and though the market will contract in 2021 as it gradually opens up, its output will be lower than what was recorded in 2019. He says one should hope for the better as the market trends are still uncertain, and with vaccinations underway, there is a high possibility of the civil engineering market in New York making a rebound this year. It might be late however; the future looks positive if construction and civil engineering firms in New York adapt to the needs and safety measures to fight the Pandemic. Safer practices are the need of the day, and market opportunities should be carefully assessed before projects commence. In this way, the construction industry will gradually bounce back on its feet, and workers can come back to sites without fears of infection.