While Covid-19 has disrupted supply chains worldwide and across industries, the construction sector has been hit especially hard, according to Bluebeam.
Erin Flynn Jay, writing for the project collaboration software vendor’s Built blog, says the ongoing disruptions have pushed up prices for critical building materials such as timber and steel, slowing and delaying project delivery as well.
For Jay, there are three “major factors” contributing to construction supply problems: labour shortages, material price volatility and transport issues.
“For sectors where remote work wasn’t an option, Covid-19 was far more direct and damaging,” Jay agrees.
“But what few economists or forecasters saw coming was a pandemic-induced migration that spiked demand for residential construction, as homeowners decided to use lockdowns as time for major home renovations and expansions, while others indefinitely left major urban centres for more space, resulting in a demand for housing (that far outstripped) supply.”
This effect was exacerbated because many governments deemed construction “essential”, forcing companies to keep working.
According to Jay, commentators suggest more supply chain problems — including strikes — are coming down the line to affect contractors and construction.
Many may already not be able to deliver on their construction contracts, with new legislation in some cases set to create more bottlenecks, she suggests.
Bluebeam’s digital collaboration software, including Bluebeam Revu and Studio, focuses on the needs of distributed project teams, with a view to enabling greater efficiencies and savings that can help alleviate various pressures, including on the supply chain.