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Client perspectives on tackling the post-COVID-19 construction challenge

Most construction sites have reopened following the initial disruption of COVID-19. As recovery accelerates, the pressure is on to find a balance between securing the best deal on new projects and strengthening trust and resilience within the supply chain. Following a series of interviews with clients across the public and private sector, we look at how to navigate this new landscape. What are the long-term implications of the challenges they are facing and what will be the consequences of lockdown on investment decisions?

“We should use this ‘COVID opportunity’ to rethink the art of the possible.”

In a recently published report ‘Come together, right now: addressing short term challenges for long-term change’, we reported the findings from consultations with some of the UK’s leading contractors. The result was a series of recommendations on how to turn the ad-hoc interventions made as a result of COVID-19 into long-term best practice.

However, the picture would not be complete without input from across the public and private sector. From the immediate impact that COVID-19 has had on productivity, to the emergence of new working practices and how to build resilience for the future, our latest survey has revealed an appetite for wider industry transformation amongst all participants.   

Crucially, the way projects are procured and delivered is likely to change. All of our survey respondents experienced a productivity drop in the delivery of their projects, yet encouragingly almost three quarters continued to progress with more than half of previously planned work, despite the unfavourable circumstances.

The ability to successfully deliver projects is clearly a top priority. Yet while clients are not reporting an immediate cessation of activity, one third will most likely delay investment decisions – either to revisit commercial objectives or get a better understanding of the market and see how values and prices will play out in the long term.

Looking ahead, implementing new technologies will help to address capacity issues. Equally, developing stronger relationships and creating an environment of trust throughout the project ecosystem will be key.

Our ‘Six Priorities’ help to identify a roadmap for success. Based on our survey findings, they bring together a number of recommendations that will help to ensure clients can play a central role in future industry transformation.

Download the Arcadis Client Survey to read the results of our survey and find out more about our Six Priorities for Success.  



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