5 Ways the Oregon Demolition Industry is Adapting to Changes Due to COVID-19

Train moving through Union Station in Portland, Oregon.The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to have to adapt in one way or another. The Oregon demolition industry and commercial demolition contractors are not exempt. From increased vigilance around worker safety, to changes in project timelines, today we will look at five important ways that demolition companies have adapted to the changing landscape of the industry.

An Increase in Construction & Demolition Work Stoppages 

The latest Demolition Industry report from Construction & Demolition Recycling Magazine found that the pandemic was the number one factor impacting projects, from completion timelines to how many workers were allowed on site at a time. 

They found that only 18 percent of their survey participants did not experience any stoppages or delays during 2020. The majority of participants experienced project stoppages or delays between one and four months, with some experiencing delays eight months or more. 

In 2021, it’s more than likely that a glut of projects will need to be completed in a timely manner. The impact on project backlogs reflected this, with the majority of survey participants reporting that they would have their backlogs extended between one and six months. Only 36 percent said that the delays had no impact on their backlogs.  

Despite the increase in stoppages, many Oregon demolition contractors actually experienced a brisk pace of development. Governor Kate Brown exempted construction from the “Stay Home, Save Lives” order due to the essential nature of the industry’s work. As the construction industry continues to put up new buildings, the demolition industry must be ready to help clear the way for new construction.

Enhanced Employee Safety

Employee safety was a primary concern for every major Oregon demolition contractor. Extra safety protections were put in place in worksites across the state. The federal government created guidelines for construction and demolition sites that state:

  • Workers must engage in social distancing
  • Personal protective equipment must be used when necessary
  • No more than 10 people in an enclosed space
  • Soap and running water or hand sanitizer must be provided at a worksite

The impact of these measures was seen in the participants’ responses in the Construction & Demolition Recycling Magazine industry report. One participant said that they changed their hotel room policy for out of state jobs from two to one. Staggered breaks, smaller carpool groups, and face masks all became commonplace. All of the participants who provided feedback indicated that they believed the precautions were working to keep their employees safe and the work continuing. Only six percent of the surveyed companies were forced to shut down their operations 

Changes in Investments from Demolition Contractors

Many demolition companies in Oregon had to rethink how they were investing their money. The changes wrought by COVID-19 mean that long term plans needed to be reconsidered. For some companies this meant investment in new equipment. 

For 58 percent of responders, the investment made sense, with their investments remaining steady over the past year. Roughly 18 percent actually increased their investments while about a quarter scaled back their equipment investments. 

High Employee Retention

The majority of respondents either increased their workforce or kept it the same through the pandemic. More than a quarter said that they had to shrink their workforce but, overall, layoffs were not something the majority of demolition contractors had to think about during 2020. 

This will likely continue as more projects start up again as the pandemic begins to recede. Between project backlogs and an increasing demand for construction, demolition companies are poised for continued growth through 2021.

Increase in Work for Construction and Demolition Contractors

Despite the many rapid changes the Oregon demolition industry experienced in 2020, for many there was an increase in work in the past year. Most of the respondents to the survey said that they experienced an increase in work in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Going forward, the respondents seemed less sure about how much work they’ll expect to see. Forty-two percent expect work to increase over 2021, while thirty six percent expect less work, and twenty one percent expect work to stay the same. If anything, the predictability of how much work there will be and when has become a lot harder to gage as the world slowly creates a new normal.

One thing is certain, Oregon demolition contractors will continue to provide great value to land development companies and housing developers in the Pacific Northwest. 

Our Commercial & Industrial Demolition Company in Oregon

Elder Demolition offers a wide range of services that help land development companies and housing developers as they build new commercial and industrial buildings. Our signature precision deconstruction service allows for asset recovery to help divert waste from landfills and offset the cost of demolition. We are proudly serving Portland and the states of Oregon, Washington, and Montana. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.

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