Planning for the Worst ...and the Best!

Published: 5/5, 2020

First things first—whoever you are, wherever you are, we hope you and your loved ones are keeping the coronavirus at bay. It’s the rare construction business that hasn’t been affected in some fashion over the past few months by canceled projects or stay-at-home orders, but those effects can be mitigated and backlogs rebuilt. Human lives are a little different.

By the time you read this, more states will be easing gradually restrictions and allowing more types of construction work to resume, which is good news for everyone. True, some extra measures will be necessary to safeguard you and your employees. But contractors that already boast good health and safety practices should encounter few problems integrating them into their daily routines. The adage, “an ounce of prevention outweighs a pound of cure,” is truer now than ever.

But then what? Will the traditional summertime uptick in project activity help the construction economy regain its legs, perhaps with the aid of stepped-up government spending? Or are we in for a long string of wobbly months where work is scarce, and business owners have to make some difficult decisions in order to keep their enterprises going?

The truth is, no one knows. But then, no one was quite sure how the so-called Great Recession that began in 2008 would unfold. Or the aftermath of the bust. Or…well, you get the idea.

To be sure, the outlook for a coronavirus-driven downturn is shrouded by unknowns that may not be resolved for some time. But every recession has had its own defining characteristics, and the construction economy has found ways to overcome them. There’s no reason to think this one will be any different.

While there’s no one sure-fire strategy to navigating the challenges to come, there are many good practices contractors can utilize or adopt to optimize their position for whatever does happen. They begin with understanding why you’re in business to begin with and what you bring to the table in terms of skills, resources, and that “little something extra” that sets your business apart from competitors. It may make sense to explore other services or markets for new work, but due diligence will be essential to fully gauge whether such a move is truly practical, let alone profitable. 

At the same time, nimbleness as a business will be a must, as there’s a strong likelihood of recovery being anything but a smooth ride upward. When change occurs, you want to be ready to act quickly and rationally.

Implementing these and other recovery measures will require good, sound information. And luckily there’s a lot out there—in some cases, too much. To keep from being overwhelmed, some contractors have assigned topic tracking duties to (e.g., safety requirements, regulatory issues, market research) to others in their firms. Regularly sharing insights keeps everyone up to date, and will help minimize the risks of rumors.

Let’s hope that when the next issue of PDa reaches your mailbox, we’ll have a little more clarity about the economic road ahead, and perhaps some good progress on eliminating the coronavirus threat altogether. As we’ve already seen during the first months of 2020, anything can happen. Many things are beyond our individual control, but there are far more things we can influence positively than we realize. 

Let’s all do what we have to do, and do it sensibly and safely.


Jim Parsons, Senior Editor

See all news »

Cookies and Data Collection

This website is using cookies. A cookie is a small text file that the website requests to store locally on the visitor's computer. It contains a certain amount of information and a timestamp.

Cookies on this website

Temporary Cookies

We use temporary cookies ("sessions") in order to provide a functioning website. These cookies only contains a unique identifier and a timestamp, while any personal data is stored on our server. These cookies expires within one hour, and will be automatically deleted when you exit your webbrowser.

Less temporary cookies

In order to remember wether you have accepted cookies or not, we need to store a cookie containing a timestamp and a code. If you log in as a user on our website, you are also able to select wether you want to remain logged in or not. In case you decide to remain logged in, we will store another cookie on yuor device, also containing a code and a timestamp. No personal data is saved in these cookies. These cookies will expire and be automatically deleted within 30 days of your last visit, and you can delete them manually from within the webbrowser's settings.

Cookie for Google Analytics

We use Google Analytics in order to improve our vistor's experience on our website. We do not save PII (Personally Identifiable Information) using Google Analytics. To read more about the cookies stored, read more at Google Developers.

Inactivation of cookies

If you do not wish to accept cookies from our website (or others), you may turn it off in your webbrowsers security/privacy settings. You can also let your browser inform you each time a website tries to store a cookie, or choose to remove cookies that has already been stored.

See your browsers help pages in order to find out more on how to change these settings (the instructions will differ depending on what browser, operating system and what versions you are using).

Data Collection & Data Storage

The website may use Google Analytics and similar services to collect data about your visit on this website. No personal data is stored, only information about the visit itself, such as link clicks, page views, how long a certain page has been viewed and similar. The information can be used by us to analyze how visitors use our website, as well as to improve and optimize content and functionality on the website in the future. The information may also be used by Google (or an equivalent provider) to optimize information and ads, so that you receive more relevant/personalized search results or ads in the provider's other services.


This website use cookies
This website use cookies and data gathering to bring you the best possible experience.
You must accept this in order to get access to our content. - Read more »

Accept all Only necessary