How Has COVID-19 Impacted Construction in Lincoln?

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Construction in Lincoln?

It’s fair to say that the construction industry—from owners to developers to contractors, subcontractors, and the entire supply chain of vendors—have all been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the severity of the effects has varied from community to community, city to city, state to state.

In fact, the vast majority of construction firms in Nebraska have handled all the uncertainty quite well. According to a recent survey from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and Autodesk, most construction companies in Nebraska have managed to come out relatively unscathed.

In Lincoln in particular, the majority of big construction projects have continued through 2020, with the exception of the University of Nebraska’s $155 million football training complex, which was put on hold for now.

While the overall effects of COVID-19 on construction in Lincoln have been relatively minimal, there have been some necessary adjustments, now and for the future, that companies have had to make—particularly in multi-family construction.

Operational Shifts

Forced to put extra focus on jobsite cleanliness and sanitation, many companies say putting all the pandemic policies and procedures in place was the biggest challenge.

Securing N95 masks, a ridiculous amount of hand sanitizer (55 gallon drums!), and handwashing stations at all job sites was just the beginning. Increased focus on sanitization procedures and daily deep cleanings at all jobsites have added significantly to construction labor costs—with forecasting and budgeting indicating those added costs are here to stay.

Despite all the added rule and regulations, the construction industry in Lincoln has learned a valuable lesson: They can remain safe not only from an injury perspective, but also from a health and wellness perspective—and still accomplish work at a very high level.

Permitting Process

According to the AGC survey, 59% of state firms had projects postponed or canceled. Compare that to 62% across the entire Midwest and 60% nationwide, and Nebraska is pretty much on par with the rest of the country.

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All told, there have been big delays and backlogs with construction permit procedures, but that’s not a surprise.

Consider the process…

It starts with a meeting between the owner and architect. Then onto city planning. There are always potential infrastructure changes, and it all involves meetings, interactions, and approvals with city houses, permit issuers, and so on. COVID put all that on hold, causing significant delays to an already time-consuming process. 

Post-Pandemic Design and Building Trends

We’ve spent a lot more time in our homes this year, which is likely to have long-term housing and construction impacts.

For single- and multi-family construction alike, the deficiencies in our current spaces have been magnified. Newfound premiums on home offices, homeschooling setups, and more room in general to spread out will increase the demand for both real estate units and space.

For multi-family construction and design, owners and developers are already adapting to changes brought on by the pandemic by including features that will become more desirable in a post-pandemic world.

Some of the things multi-family complex owners are already discussing to retrofit and/or include with future builds include:

Even when the pandemic is completely in our rearview mirror, the adjustments to the way we live, work, and interact are more than just temporary. And the effects on construction in Lincoln, and around the world, are here to stay.

Economic Impact

The good news for Nebraska construction?

Smaller municipalities are getting back to business as usual, with others now following suit. Lumber prices are stabilizing after spiking 250% earlier this year, and despite all the adjustments, delays, and overall uncertainty, future projections are looking good.

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Established Nebraska construction companies like Brester Construction have attempted to take all the precautions and continue to make wise and prudent decisions through the pandemic. The result is a forecast for 2021 (and beyond) that’s poised to be very strong and profitable.

So while construction in Lincoln certainly wasn’t immune (no pun intended) to the effects of COVID, they’ve remained strong, steadfast, and are no doubt holding their own through the pandemic.

Post Excerpt: While most construction companies in Lincoln, NE, have handled the pandemic uncertainty quite well, they haven’t been without their challenges. See how they’ve adapted and how COVID-19 has impacted construction in Lincoln.

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