Coronavirus, the viral infection that causes the disease COVID-19, has had a significant impact on all facets of human life all over the world. While the full fallout of this pandemic won't be realised for years to come, it has had a startling effect on many of the world's strongest industries.

The building and construction industry has not been spared from this global health crisis. With social distancing measures tightening week after week, and an uncertain economy casting doubt over civil and commercial projects, instability is beginning to affect the confidence of business owners and investors.

All aspects of the supply chain have been severely affected by the current crisis. Labour and material shortages are beginning to impact everyone from skilled workers to engineers. Workers still onsite are needing to take extra precautions to protect themselves and others from infection with specialised Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which is also suffering a global shortage.

Stoppages on construction projects are sweeping the globe, most notably in Boston and other parts of Massachusetts — a move that may affect the state's ability to add new hospital capacity where it is so desperately needed. These measures may arise in other highly affected countries as the crisis continues to worsen.

Construction and building contracts may also be invalidated by force majeure — a clause that relieves a party of fulfilling their contractual obligations if there are forces outside of their control preventing them from doing so. Both contractors and clients will need to consider the impact that COVID-19 is having on every project.

However, the final bell has not tolled, and we all still have a role to play in helping the world adjust to the "new normal". Part of dealing with a crisis is planning for recovery — something that the building and construction industry is well versed in. Our industry has always been integral in helping rebuild communities following tragedy, and this situation is no different.

Large-scale infrastructure projects have been at the heart of revitalising affected regions following recessions. During The Great Depression, The Hoover Dam Project, employed thousands of workers, and involved billions of dollars in expenditure. This project ultimately fuelled the power and development of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

Today in Australia, residential building projects will benefit from cashflow protections granted by state and federal governments. A total of $189 billion will be injected into the economy in the coming years, benefiting around 700,000 businesses, and keeping 7.8 million people employed long term.

To mirror this government assistance, there is now great opportunity for construction businesses to support our most vulnerable members of society. Indigenous, people living with disabilities, refugees, migrants, long-term unemployed, young jobseekers, and women are particularly at-risk in this current environment, and would benefit from employment in the influx of construction projects following the virus.

As concerning as the current crisis is to all stakeholders in the building and construction industry, there is still hope. As we move through the trials of the present, we must all keep looking towards the brighter future ahead.

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Article provided by Digital360 on behalf of Policrete