AEC and Pandemic: Response and Impact - June 2021 Update
This series of monthly reports is meant to help the AEC practitioners understand the COVID-19 impact on the industry with identified short- and long-term trends. Equally the reports provide the information about the industry’s response from month to month in form of a systematization and analysis of observed challenges and solutions specific organizations offer and/or have adopted. The systematized references listed in the last section allow a deeper dive into specific topics.
Categorization of the observed issues & Trend analysis
This report is based on our observations of the post-peak pandemic transitional period in AEC in June ‘21 (June 1 – 30) with reflections on the previous 15 months. In June 2021 the pandemic’s impact continues to be one of the most important discussion topics in the AEC industry, while the discussions about sustainability and climate change follow closely. The most important news are optimistic vaccination rates in the developed countries and economic rebounds, though looming highly contagious Delta variant and high numbers of infected and deaths in some countries have become a new normal. Travel is resuming, though mostly leisure, and restrictions remain.
Overall, the AEC industry is in a recovery trajectory and optimistic about the future. The intensity of the pandemic’s impact on the industry continues to be correlated with the health emergency and economic recession/rebound in a specific country. All countries expect China experienced GDP contraction in 2020. The June AEC data and statistics are around pre-pandemic positive levels and show that the AEC industry recovered, with growth expectations, although challenges remain, such as soaring materials prices, ongoing coronavirus measures and worker shortages, leaving many contractors unable to confidently move forward with major projects.
The volume of communication and collaboration in AEC returned to pre-pandemic levels already in December ‘20 and the AEC community is discussing its usual topics including continuing pandemic induced supply chain issues with construction material/ input prices jumping, reopenings, hybrid workspace re-entry, construction projects going forward, infrastructure investments, labor shortage, vaccination of employees and pandemic related guidelines/ regulations. The June trend analysis is based on 556 selected references (out of 663 analyzed publications). The categorization of the observed issues in June remained the same as in the previous months, including 12 categories and 22 subcategories.
1. (Advance) planning: short- & long-term strategies
- Strategic planning remains among the 3 most discussed topics in June ‘21, due to a higher interest in Sustainability/ Green future – opportunity to address climate change.The subcategories of Individuals and Businesses (economy sectors)have stayed at the same level of interest as in March.
- Some companies are using their COVID-19 plans as the basis for complete strategy overhauls, while others are using strategy inserts or short interventions.
- Over 35,000 mergers, acquisitions and partnerships have been announced this year, as part of strategic plans for expansion, digitalization and sustainability.
- Financial managers are stretching the definition of green in how they deploy investors’ funds. Time is running out for business leaders who don’t have a net zero strategy.
4. Health and Safety (of all, including employees)
- H&S has been discussed 17% less in June than in March mostly due to vaccination success and reopenings.
- Vaccine rollouts and the Delta variant are the major topics. Delta is wracking the reopening plans, and initiating lockdowns in countries that have smoothly sailed the pandemic till now. Travel resumes slowly.
- COVID-19 tested the world’s ability to monitor and respond to an outbreak of a deadly infectious disease. More people have died from COVID-19 already this year than in all of 2020.
- Workers are quitting their jobs to put their mental health and wellbeing first. The movement is called Great Resignation.
7. Buildings & cities for a next normal
- The industry’s positive recovery trends influenced a 15% increased interest in this category in comparison to the March data.
- 5 of 7 subcategories are seeing interest increase; e.g., Offices due to increased discussion about office re-entry, hybrid methods and reversal to sustainability/ green future discussions; Residential buildings due to roaring residential market; and Renovation/ Revitalization (adaptive re-use projects) due to increased focus on how to transfer existing buildings into healthier and sustainable environments.
- Community discusses H&S, wellbeing and comfort, smart sustainable buildings and cities, “agritecture”, neurodiversity and biophilia, circular economy, off-grid and anti-high-rise buildings, social responsibility of design, beyond human-scale, and modular and digital technologies such as holography and holograms.
10. Official Strategies / Guidelines // Rules / Regulations
- The discussion about this category slightly increased in June in comparison to March.
- Vaccination guidelines for employers, (temporary) COVID-related standards and revisions in line with reopening plans, and global cybersecurity and privacy regulations and implications are discussed.
- The long-awaited vaccination regulations for employers in the US have been published on May 28.
- Remote work policy is a crucial part of a hybrid employer handbook.
- School leaders are using the WELL health-safety rating to bring back in-person learning.
- Cybersecurity organizations and regulations are becoming common.
AEC and Pandemic: Response and Impact - All Updates
April 2020 PDF • May 2020 Update PDF References
June 2020 Update PDF References • July 2020 Update PDF References
August 2020 Update PDF References • September 2020 Update PDF References
December 2020 Update PDF References • March 2021 Update PDF References
June 2021 Update PDF References
Lead Researcher: Natasa Mrazovic
Prinicipal Investigator: Martin Fischer
Website: Junwen Zheng, Marc Ramsey, Andrew Peterman
Comments or Questions: firstname.lastname@example.org