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Pros & Cons of Continuing Renovations and Construction During COVID-19 Pandemic

Are you thinking about doing a renovation project? Not sure if you should continue with your planned construction project during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Like all other industries, the renovation and construction industry is in a state of flux because of COVID-19. Some companies are in a holding pattern, others are operating at a limited capacity, and most are trying to make the best of this unique and unprecedented situation. 

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer in BC, provided Guidance to constructions sites operating during COVID-19. These recommendations have helped to ensure workers are operating safely and reducing the risk of getting COVID-19. 

Even with these worksite restrictions in place and with the economy starting to open up and get back to “normal,” there are many home and business owners who are not sure if they want to continue with their planned renovation and construction projects. 

It’s difficult to know what to do. Should you push forward or should you hold off until the COVID-19 risk subsides? Here we provide you with the pros and cons of continuing renovations and construction projects during the pandemic:

Should You Continue Your Renovation During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Whether or not you should move forward with your project depends on many factors. It’s important to consider all of your options before making a decision. Factors to consider include:

  • Project type: What type of project are you working on? Is it commercial or residential? Are there safety concerns that need to be rectified? Is the project a must complete job or can it wait for another time?
  • Scope: How big is the project? Is it a smaller renovation or a large scale construction project? Does it require one contractor or a large team of construction professionals? Can it be completed in a relatively short period of time or is it a long term project?
  • Work timeframe: Is the work you are doing time sensitive? Does it need to be completed now? Can it wait until a later date? 
  • Where you are in the project: Which phase are you in the project? Are you still planning? Have you already invested in supplies and materials? Is the work underway? Are you close to project completion?
  • Risk tolerance: What is your level of risk tolerance? Does the work being completed on your property put you or others at risk? What measures will you need to put into place to limit risk for all parties involved?

The Advantages of Continuing Your Renovation and Construction Project

There are advantages to continuing your renovation or construction project. They include:

  • Deals: There are deals to be had. You may be able to find sales on materials, get better rates from construction professionals, and even get better interest rates on money you need to fund your project. Financially you could benefit by moving forward and even lower your project budget.
  • Meet your timeline: Do you have a tight timeline you are working with? Moving forward now can help you meet your targets. 
  • Availability of contractors: There are many contractors who are available and willing to work. Smaller companies are more agile and have the flexibility to work around COVID-19 concerns. If you wait, availability will become more and more of an issue.
  • Beat the mad rush in the future: Once the economy opens back up, there is going to be a mad rush by all types of businesses and homeowners to hire contractors and start renovation projects that they have had on hold. Moving forward now can help you avoid the logistical challenges and competition for professionals, building materials, and other project resources. 
  • Preparedness when the economy opens: Rather than working on your construction project when the economy re-opens, you’ll be in a better place to serve your customers and work on getting your business back up to pre-pandemic operations.

The Disadvantages of Continuing Your Renovation and Construction Project

Here are some of the potential drawbacks of proceeding with your project during the pandemic:

  • Backorder issues: Product availability and backorder issues are a main concern for suppliers, renovators and consumers. There are shipping delays and other issues that can prevent you from completing your project on time. 
  • Increased costs: COVID-19 restrictions can affect the efficiency and operations of companies. This can lead to things like overtime, additional expenses and greater project costs related to COVID-19 protection measures. Are you prepared to take on these additional expenses and increase your project budget? 
  • Potential interruption in work if restrictions return: There is no guarantee COVID-19 restrictions will go away. We don’t know for sure how long these measures will be in place. We do know that all companies are going to have to learn to operate in this new normal situation. There could be even more delays in the future, depending on how the pandemic plays out. 
  • Risk of contracting COVID-19: There is always the risk of someone contracting the virus. But the risk largely depends on the precautions you take and those who are working on the project. If you take the necessary precautions, you will reduce your risk exposure.
  • Uncertain economy: No one knows exactly how long it will take the economy to recover from the pandemic. Now may not be the best time to borrow money or spend your resources on a project unless you absolutely need to complete the work.

Still not sure if you want to move forward with your project? Have questions about rules, regulations, and best practices for construction professionals during the pandemic? The Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) provides a great list of resources to get information about pandemic preparedness and what the construction industry is doing to stay safe and protect its customers.

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