Construction projects schedules are getting delayed due to COVID-19, says GlobalData

Since the beginning of March 2020, the construction industry has been experiencing higher levels of project delays and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with widespread restrictions on the movement of people and enforcement of complete or partial lockdowns from mid-March 2020. For China and some Asian countries, minor disruption had begun in February, but globally, the impact of these restrictions peaked during the month of April, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Birendra Pandey, Director of Construction Business at GlobalData, comments: “Of all the projects updated by GlobalData’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) in the first three weeks of April 2020, over 15% were either cancelled or delayed due to the virus, which is around 3% and 6% normally.”

Whilst construction projects across Asia were the first to be impacted, Europe and the Middle East and Africa quickly followed in March, and delays and cancellations accelerated in South America as several countries in the region imposed lockdowns. At its peak in April 2020, over 20% of projects updated each week were found to have been delayed or cancelled due to COVID-19 in Europe and the Middle East and Africa.

Though the peak was lower in Asia as the region has generally managed to contain the virus more successfully and therefore had more limited disruption to project activity. In North America, lockdowns were not enforced until late March 2020, but the spread of the virus has led to increasing delays and cancellations across the region whilst an opposite trend was seen across the rest of the world in late April and early May 2020, as countries started re-opening their economies and projects are progressing again.

Construction activities in major economies across Europe including France, Italy, Poland and Spain have been significantly affected by the virus, as has Singapore, with a high shares of projects delayed since the start of March 2020.

Pandey concludes: “In France almost 50% of projects updated by CIC had schedules delayed due to COVID-19 or been cancelled since the start of March through to 22 May 2020.”

A moderate share of projects in China and India have also been delayed, although projects in China were primarily delayed in the earlier part of the year and increasing numbers of projects are now proceeding. Of the major countries analysed, Australia has had the lowest impact to date, as case numbers have been low due to the effectively carried-out containment measures.

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