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OCS survey looks at state of Ontario ICI COVID recovery

May 25, 2020  By Ontario Construction Secretariat

The Coronavirus Contractors Survey 2: Restart & Recovery is released as the second in a series of independent surveys conducted by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS). Between May 11 and May 15, 2020, the OCS led a Contractor’s Survey of 203 ICI (Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional) contractors from across Ontario. This survey provides insight on how the construction industry is restarting and recovering from the initial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Coronavirus Contractor Survey 2: Restart & Recovery has found that ensuring the health and safety of workers remains the top concern of contractors. More than three in ten contractors (31%) believe it will be highly difficult or impossible to ensure work sites are adequately sanitized and 83% of contractors expect worksite sanitation practices will change permanently. Other prominent concerns include the impact physical distancing has on productivity and project costs, and the availability of work, whether it be general demand and investment in construction, or quick approval of shovel-ready projects and quick rollout of government infrastructure spending.
With new measures in place to keep health and safety at the forefront, contractors now must consider the impact it will have on costs and productivity. On average, contractors expect PPE and physical distancing requirements to increase project costs by 28% and 39% expect physical distancing to have a high impact on project completion times.
It is important to note the measures, taken by contractors, to protect their workers and ensure worksite health and safety. These actions include establishing contact tracing procedures (71%), having only one trade or subcontractor on site a given time (67%), using technologies to manage the number of workers on site at a given time (48%) and checking temperatures of workers (42%).
The construction industry has taken a significant blow financially as a result of the pandemic. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of firms expect less revenue in 2020 than last year and on average, annual revenue is expected to decline by 26%. There is doubt by 17% of contractors that they will be able to survive over the long term and 9% of firms are considering mergers/acquisitions to stay alive.
Firms are ready to work as 86% of them have capacity to take on new shovel-ready projects; however, 35% of contractors expect it to take at least six months to get back to business-as-usual and 9% don’t believe they will ever get there. Supply chain disruptions persists with more than six in ten contractors still reporting the coronavirus pandemic is causing medium to high impact, leaving 62% of contractors planning to source more material locally or domestically.

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