Survey: 36% of contractors seeing challenge backlog decreases as coronavirus influence grows

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* Survey carried out Mar. 27-Apr. 1, 2020.

Contractors are seeing deepening impacts because the COVID-19 coronavirus influence spreads all through the nation, in keeping with an Gear World survey carried out Mar. 27-Apr. 1.

When requested how their present challenge backlog has modified as a result of coronavirus, 35 % of contractor respondents advised Gear World that their challenge backlog had both “decreased” (24 %) or “decreased considerably” (11 %). (See chart above.)

Alternatively, one other 18 % of respondents say backlogs had both “elevated” (13 %) or “elevated considerably” (9 %).

“Some jobs have cancelled, different have postponed,” wrote one small excavating contractor respondent. “Now we have additionally picked up some new jobs.” Says a roadbuilding contractor: “Previous to the stay-in-place order, the cellphone was ringing. It has stopped.” And this from one other excavating contractor: “Moist circumstances are holding us from working, not the virus.”

(This survey, which had 179 respondents, is the primary in a collection of surveys that Gear World and different Randall-Reilly manufacturers are utilizing every week to gauge market sentiment. To take part within the subsequent survey, go right here.)


30-day outlook

The sentiment will get extra cut up as respondents look 30 days out, with 32 % saying they count on their challenge backlogs will both “enhance considerably” or “enhance” whereas 36 % nonetheless see both backlogs lowering or considerably lowering.  (See chart above.)

Sectors anticipating extra pronounced backlog decreases within the subsequent 30 days embody demolition (50 % of sector respondents answering “lower” or “lower considerably”); utility contractors (48 %); and business constructing contractors (48 %).

Two sectors – excavation/website prep (28 %) and roadbuilding (29 %) – had the fewest respondents anticipating a decline. In actual fact, roadbuilding respondents had been essentially the most optimistic, with 39 % saying they anticipated backlogs to both “enhance” or “considerably enhance.”

Many famous that demand might be monumental when restrictions are lifted. “As soon as we are able to resume work, we can have the most important backlog of initiatives to finish in our 32 years of doing enterprise,” mentioned one giant Pennsylvania specialty contractor. Pennsylvania contractors, besides these engaged on sure initiatives, had been ordered by Gov. Tom Wolf in mid-March to cease building.

“We had been not on time earlier than this hit,” says a bigger excavating contractor. “After we return, all hell’s going to interrupt free.”

Workforce, gear adjustments

Our survey requested a multiple-choice query about altering enterprise practices as the results of the outbreak. The outcomes are seen within the chart above.

Following nationwide developments of huge layoffs, 42 % of respondents mentioned that they had decreased their jobsite workforce, with 34 % lowering their workplace workforce.

Nineteen % of respondents mentioned that they had already cancelled gear orders; one other 4 % mentioned that they had purchased used gear as an alternative of recent. On the rental facet, 14 % mentioned that they had rented much less gear, and 4 % mentioned that they had rented extra.

“I returned my rental gear,” mentioned one smaller excavating contractor, “and I talked to the financial institution about my gear funds.” One other excavating contractor mentioned he was promoting off some additional gear; and a roadbuilding contractor mentioned he had put a few gear orders on maintain.

One respondent summed up the scenario thus: “That is critical however non permanent. As soon as the virus passes, issues will enhance quickly. The sky is just not falling.. it’s simply sagging a bit.”