How COVID-19 Is Affecting Construction Bidding & Jobsite Activity


[ Article was originally posted on ]

By: Kendall Jones,

It’s been 23 days since the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In the U.S., as of April 3, there have been approximately 245,000 cases and over 6,000 deaths due to the virus.

Note: This article was originally published on March 23, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.

Last Updated: April 6, 2020 at 6:30 a.m.

The situation is really starting to worsen as we’re seeing more states, counties, and cities choose to close nonessential businesses or issue some sort of “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders. These include states like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania.

For the most part, construction activity has been included as essential activity that can continue with business as usual during these orders. Workers should try and maintain a 6-foot separation from others as much as possible and follow the CDC’s guidelines for protecting themselves from being exposed to the coronavirus.

Construction Bidding Activity

Here at ConstructConnect, we are still seeing a healthy number of new bidding opportunities (public and private) coming in, both in the U.S. and Canada. For the U.S., new public opportunities during the week of March 16 were down -3.62% and new private project bids were down -8.62% compared to the same time last year.

We also looked at projects that were currently bidding within the next 60 days with a mandatory pre-bid meeting scheduled for March 18 – 20, 2020. Of those:

  • 63.1% of the meetings were as scheduled
  • 14.1% of the meetings dates were extended
  • 16.5% of the meetings were cancelled

Bid dates were also verified on the projects mentioned above:

  • 80% of the bid dates are currently scheduled to open as originally advertised
  • 10.3% have been extended
  • 9.7% have been cancelled

Note: The above data is current as of March 24, 2020.

We will continue to monitor and update information on bidding opportunities as they come in.

If you want to know about specific project bids being delayed or canceled, please check out our FREE Delayed Projects reports.

delayed projects reports

Jobsite Activity

As more state, county, and city agencies issue orders to “shelter in place” or “stay at home” in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus and flatten the curve, we are starting to see some construction activity halted and jobsites being temporarily shut down.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) recently released a survey of their members regarding active projects and those expected to start in the next 30 days. For those projects, 28% of respondents said that they had been directed by an owner, government agency, or official to halt or delay starting on those projects.

For projects with start dates more than 30 days from now, 11% stated they had been instructed to halt or delay any work on those projects for the time being.

Delays and disruptions are also occurring due to a shortage of materials and equipment (16%), craftworkers (11%), government workers to issue permits, perform inspections, and award contracts (18%). Another 8% responded they had disruptions due to an infected individual entering a jobsite and possible infecting it and 14% stated they hadn’t had any delays due to any of these reasons.

Getting materials and building supplies is also starting to potentially affect construction schedules with 22% of respondents acknowledging they or their subs have been notified that deliveries will be delayed or cancelled.

Timeline of Jobsite Delays and Disruptions  

While it appears that construction is continuing across most of the country, that could quickly change if stricter guidelines are enacted or if government agencies decide to make adjustments to what they consider essential work.

Also, if county and city building and planning departments start shutting down, it could put a halt to current and upcoming construction projects because permits aren’t being issued and inspections aren’t being conducted, regardless of whether construction is allowed to continue.

Here’s a timeline of what we know so far regarding construction stoppage as a result of the coronavirus:

March 16, 2020 – PennDOT closed all district and county maintenance offices until March 30. All construction projects have been suspended until further notice.

Week of March 16, 2020 – The South Dakota DOT offices are closed until March 30. Construction was halted on all but two high priority projects and March 18 bid lettings were postponed until March 25. DOT staff are expected to be working remotely to perform essential functions and construction projects were expected to resume this week.

March 17, 2020 – The City of Boston was the first major city to shut down all construction activity, except for emergency work. Employers have until March 23 to secure their jobsites after which only skeleton crews will be allowed on sites to ensure safety until the suspension is lifted.

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