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Survey suggests most construction companies maintaining productivity during pandemic

Worker shoveling asphalt
Canadian construction companies have mostly maintained their productivity during the pandemic.

Procore Technologies, Inc. has revealed the results of its inaugural How We Build Now Canada survey, which showed that more than 70 percent of Canadian construction companies responding had as many or more projects during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to before. The How We Build Now Canada survey, conducted by Procore, explores unified technology for on-site and remote workers in today's safer construction environment.

Despite the challenges created with provincial shut downs and social distancing regulations, 10 percent of the construction professionals surveyed report being much more productive than before the pandemic struck; 17 percent are edging ahead of pre-pandemic levels and 44 percent remain as productive during the pandemic. Twenty-six percent of the construction professionals surveyed were less (24 percent) or much less (two percent) productive than before the pandemic. Forty-three percent say they expect to increase projects over the next year.

"These results of Procore's How We Build Now Canada survey provide a snapshot of an industry in transition," said Jas Saraw, Vice President, Canada at Procore. "The high productivity reported is good news for construction, but belied by the continuing challenges of enhanced on-site safety protocols and external factors impacting the industry. Construction is very resilient, and Canadian builders will continue to look for, and implement, new solutions that will propel them through the pandemic."

In spite of being able to adapt to new regulations and procedures, survey results show construction organizations need to better align employees to work efficiently on-site and remotely by using technology such as a unified platform that contains all information in one place. Eighty-three percent of respondents agree they would employ a single, integrated platform technology, drawn by the benefits of more transparency, visibility and collaboration across projects.

Almost seven out of 10 (68 percent) respondents believe what could help the construction industry excel after COVID-19 is to have one platform that connects all their people, projects and tools to increase productivity and efficiency, reduce reworks and delays, improve safety and compliance and provide more financial transparency.

Other key findings:

  • More than one quarter (27 percent) of the respondents shifted between 76 and 100 percent of their staff in the months after COVID-19 arrived while most were able to move some staff to full-time remote work, some quickly with existing resources.
  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) of Canadian builders plan to maintain some or all of those new safety measures post-pandemic. Only 10 percent of respondents anticipate a return to pre-pandemic safety measures.  
  • More than half (55 percent) of construction firms say they will spend the next 12 months dealing with the uncertainty of COVID-19, with about a third of respondents still challenged by having to maintain social distancing and safe working conditions.
  • When asked what are the key success factors post COVID-19, 64 percent cited increased productivity and efficiency - issues that transcend the pandemic. However, the impact of the pandemic shows in the fact that 53 percent feel the ability to work remotely will be a key success factor, and 38 percent realize improved safety and compliance will be critical going forward.
  • Almost nine in 10 (88 percent) believe technology will either play a key role in the future of construction (50 percent) or will be the backbone of the construction industry (38 percent).

The nationwide survey was conducted by Procore in collaboration with Bridgit, DocuSign, Giatec, GoToMeeting and Multivista. It drew 340 respondents from general contractors, government, subcontractors/specialty contractors, owners and others in the construction industry, and was conducted via Typeform between September 29 and October 21, 2020.  

For more information on the How We Build Now Canada report, visit: procore.com/en-ca/ebooks/how-we-build-now-report.

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