How Covid-19 Continues to Impact the Building & Design Industries


August 2021

It started in early 2020 – Covid-19. Who would’ve guessed that we would still be in the grasp of a pandemic in mid-2021?

We’ve all had to adjust our schedules and our lives to stay as safe and as healthy as possible through the unknown. Kids taking classes online instead of taking classes on campus. School sports and other school activities on the back burner. Restaurants have adjusted their hours and limited their menus. Some restaurants eliminated their indoor seating, or even closed permanently.

Retail shops have forever been changed. Some temporarily closed at the beginning of Covid and luckily have been able to re-open. Others haven’t fared as well.

Online shopping is the new normal for many individuals and families. The ease of shopping for virtually anything at our fingertips has eliminated the need to leave the comfort of our homes. The more we shop online, the less need there is for brick-and-mortar stores. Even grocery stores are seeing more and more delivery services take the place of regular customers. Life as we know it has changed.

One thing that hasn’t changed through all of this is the desire to build!

In the past year, we have seen a large uptick in remote working in numerous industries across the Country. As a result, and with people being home much more than normal, the desire to remodel and/or build onto existing residential space is on the rise Nationwide.

Besides residential – commercial projects are on the rise too. Apartments, and condos as well as infrastructure projects like bridges and roads. Almost everywhere you look, you see cranes, general contractors, and construction companies out and about on the roads and at job sites.

At the beginning of Covid, no one knew what to expect. Actually, we still don’t. Just about everything shut down with the exception of essential businesses. There was a “grey area” as to who/what was considered essential around the Country. Many states had differing ideas as to what was considered an essential business.

While a total shutdown was expected, that didn’t actually happen. Unfortunately, sawmills and lumber facilities ceased production and distribution of lumber in anticipation of this shutdown.  That had, and is still having, a direct affect on the construction industry.

Due to the high demand and low inventory of building supplies (like lumber), the United States saw the cost of lumber soar. The shortage of lumber and other building materials caused extended delays and abrupt halts in some new construction and remodeling projects – for both residential and commercial. This is a considerable problem for the construction industry.

In these uncertain times, architects and engineers should be aware of the importance of reviewing contracts they are considering signing. In order to protect themselves, they should negotiate any contract wording that holds them responsible for delays in the completion of a project. As we continue to grapple with this pandemic, we all need to continue to protect ourselves and our businesses the best that we can.


By Gwynne Wright, Architects & Engineers Practice Leader

[email protected] | 727.873.7920