Contractor Survey Results Examine Reasons for Increasing Project Disruptions

More than three-fourths of contractors currently are experiencing project delays or disruptions, though the reasons vary according to a new survey from the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). That’s up from 57% in June.

Seventy-five percent of respondents reported that an owner has postponed or cancelled work on upcoming projects. That’s up from 60% in August and 30% in June. Most of those postponements and cancelations impacted projects scheduled for March through September of 2020. However, 20% of respondents report that projects in the first half of 2021 have been postponed or canceled by owners.

Only 23% of respondents have begun working on new or expanded construction as a result of the pandemic. The majority of those projects have been medical facilities.

When it comes to headcount, 27% of contractors surveyed added employees, 30% furloughed or terminated employees and 49% reported no change in headcount. Some contractors’ employees have refused to work, citing either a preference for unemployment benefits, COVID-19 concerns or other reasons.

Hiring could improve in the next year as 37% of respondents report that they expect their firm’s headcount to increase over the next 12 months compared to 20% expecting a decrease.

While the construction industry is continuing to recover from business slowdowns due to shutdowns and other pandemic-related issues, 35% of contractors surveyed report that their business volume already matches or exceeds year-ago levels. This isn’t true for everyone. Ten percent of respondents expect their firm’s business volume to return to its normal level relative to one year ago in one to six months. One third expect to return to a normal level after more than six months. Only 1% responded with “never” while 21% responded that they don’t know.

The survey was conducted between October 7-19, 2020.

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