By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW
A Spring 2021 study by Autodesk, Inc. sheds light on the construction industry’s health one year after the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Autodesk’s “Construction Outlook 2021: Risks & Opportunities” study tracks five industry trends – growth, health and construction safety, labor, supply chain and design – and analyzes how each of these has been affected as the compounding effects of the pandemic and resulting economic instability and uncertainty manifest.
According to aggregated product data from the company’s preconstruction platform, BuildingConnected, in January 2021 real-time bidding activity surpassed pre-pandemic levels and reached an all-time high.
Construction Analytics Economist Ed Zarenski said increased levels of bidding activity, paired with a consistent level of construction project volume, signals the industry is getting back to work and breaking ground at an energetic pace.
“While it’s not an indication that we’re entirely out of the woods, the real-time bidding data from BuildingConnected suggests that delayed or rescheduled projects may be coming back online,” said Zarenski.
Also according to the study, while bidding activity was initially on the rise at the beginning of 2020, it dropped roughly 34 percent in the 60 days following the first U.S. stay-at-home orders in mid-March. Bidding activity slowly began to recover between March and October 2020, hitting a high for 2020 in November.
Compared to a three-month pre-pandemic average, total bidding activity was up 15 percent in November and 36 percent in January 2021. The rate of new projects being added to the Autodesk platform remained constant, indicating increased bidding activity may be related to project restarts, not new projects.
“In the early days of the pandemic, the construction industry turned to technology to readjust,” said Jim Lynch, senior vice president and general manager of Autodesk Construction Solutions. “Now that the industry looks to be picking up and teams are headed back to the jobsite, adopting technology, digitizing workflows and upskilling employees is more important than ever to handle the increased workload.”
To download the full report, see https://construction.autodesk.com/resources/2021-autodesk-construction-outlook/.