The Effect of COVID-19 on the Restoration Industry
By Space Coast Daily // August 18, 2021
Since the beginning of 2020, contractors all over the United States have been forced to acclimate to rapidly changing conditions brought about by the international health crisis. The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic have altered the world in many ways, forcing the construction industry to rethink its approach to work and the traditional workforce.
Long-term closures and lockdowns pushed companies to close their doors for several months, some of them permanently. According to recent statistics, as many as 975,000 jobs were eliminated during the pandemic, a number that reflects more than 13% of the construction workforce.
Job losses and a diminished workforce have led to a difficult road ahead for contractors and subcontractors reliant on robust staffing and resources to complete large projects.
The effects of COVID-19 have also reached more niche construction verticals, including the restoration industry. Commercial building damages, accidents and other disasters have continued to take place over the course of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Still, obstacles prevailed as restrictions and capacity limitations prevented larger work crews from collaborating on the same project. Guidance related to social distancing, as well as masking requirements, has made it difficult for restoration crews to mobilize large numbers of their workforce.
In spite of these challenges, the restoration contracting industry did not see a significant decline in work due to COVID-19. In fact, many businesses saw an uptick of calls and requests due to the nature of Coronavirus.
Buildings and facilities sanitation concerns and requests continued to grow, and the restoration industry leveraged its capability to meet the need. Like so many other construction verticals, the restoration industry was deemed an essential service for hygiene, sanitation and cleaning-related programs.
The restoration industry continues to prove its resilience against recessions, falling stock markets and economic regressions. Even as the effects of the Coronavirus continue, many companies are confident in their ability to adapt to change as new circumstances arise.
Some businesses believe that COVID-19’s effect on the restoration industry will continue far into the future. One of these businesses includes BluSky Restoration Contractors, a company focused on disaster relief and building reconstruction.
In an exclusive interview, the company discussed their views on both the temporary and permanent fixtures of this new normal. “I believe the restoration industry has always changed to meet the needs of the consumer,” Mike Erekson, Chief Operating Officer for BluSky Restoration said.
“The Coronavirus is no exception. This pandemic has taught us that restoration is much more than aesthetics, or the tangible, physical way that something looks.
Instead, it’s about bringing each building up to code for people, customers and employees. It’s about disinfecting and cleaning a space to make it livable for everyone and helping folks sleep better at night. Realistically, that’s what the restoration industry has always been about.”
As the restoration industry continues to progress into a post-pandemic world, considering operations and new approaches is vital to growth. Three primary suggestions are offered: digital contact, improved customer services and streamlined workflows.
Industry experts recommend that contractors look to reduce the number of contact points between clients and their workforce. Not only is this better for easing fears related to disease spread, but it can also speed up the timeline for cleaning and restoring business and buildings.
Less logistical time equates to more money saved, creating an economical solution for companies and their customers. Clients are more apt to contact companies who offer virtual and online appointment options and prefer to make digital contact before committing to any contracts.
Other experts and professionals suggest restoration subcontractors should focus on the customer service aspect of their business. Customers rely on restoration work more than ever before as sanitation concerns grow. These less experienced clients may be skittish about construction work in or near their buildings or homes.
The successful restoration group will set customers’ minds at ease by providing online, phone and personal touchpoints at all stages of construction. Do what you can to answer customer calls within 24 hours or less. Success will include being receptive to customer requests for additional cleaning or sanitation practices.
One of the biggest effects of COVID-19 on the restoration industry relates to disjointed workflows. Research suggests that the supply chain related to industrial goods has been significantly impacted and will remain this way for years to come.
This has serious implications for restoration subcontractors and their workflows, as well as their response time to commercial facilities and home disasters.
To combat this, innovators recommend that contractors streamline their workflows well in advance. Companies should consider updating their tech stack to match current customer needs or rely on new solutions to help close leads in a timely manner.
Although the effects of COVID-19 will be felt long into the future, the restoration industry is positioned to overcome these odds. Contractors and subcontractors alike are encouraged to take an active stance in company management, especially as the pandemic begins to draw to a close.
In time, it is hoped that the industry will continue to thrive and find new footing in a hygienically-minded culture.