As the Coronavirus spreads across the globe, its impact continues to disrupt many industries, including construction.
Over the last twenty years, the construction industry in the United States has substantially increased its reliance on China as a supplier for all types of construction materials including electrical and lighting equipment, elevators and component parts, plumbing fittings and fixtures and HVAC equipment.
Production lines in China are standing still while workers are quarantined or huddling in place in their homes. Shipping containers with raw materials are backed up in China’s ports and there is no transportation to deliver finished products from factories.
These supply chain shutdowns have already created increased demand for construction materials in the United States and have the potential for causing substantial construction delays and project cost overruns.
Cary Davis, an official with the American Association of Port Authorities said that “Due to the coronavirus outbreak, cargo volumes at U.S. ports might be down by 20 percent or more on a year-on-year basis compared to 2019.” An executive at national home builder Toll Brothers complained that the virus has already delayed certain lighting parts and small appliances.