While the immediate impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on the construction sector has been severe, the crisis may ultimately prove to be a catalyst for radical change. That was the hope shared by an industry leading panel, convened last week to consider the near-term effects and probable legacy of the crisis.
Recapping the results of the RICS Global Construction Monitor for Q1 2020, the Institution’s Chief Economist, Simon Rubinsohn, cautioned that the macro-economic picture remains fluid.
“There’s certainly going to be a bounce back as construction sites return to activity. But in terms of output beyond that, there’s a lot of question marks about demand, funding and just how sustainable the economic recovery will be.”
Domenico Campogrande, Director General of the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC), concurs. The FIEC is currently conducting weekly surveys of its membership in order to gauge industry sentiment across the EU27. The findings have thus far made for sobering reading.
“The situation across Europe is very diverse. There are countries where activity has continued more or less as usual, and others where everything has stopped completely. It’s difficult to give an overall picture, but we expect a decrease in activity for this year 2020, compared to 2019, of around 20%. It’s a big number, and the figures for 2021 also look quite bad at this stage.”