Four Emerging Construction Best Practices in a Post-COVID-19 Environment

As the U.S. continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, some critical government and private sector construction projects cannot be put on hold. Construction industry leaders have been forced to act swiftly, expediting new safety and continuity measures as a result.

Several best practices have emerged for conducting construction projects successfully while reducing health risks and liabilities associated with the pandemic. But even as they mitigate these short-term challenges, construction firms are looking for measures to strengthen their financial positions as they move beyond the current crisis.

New best practices are being developed for successful construction beyond efforts to deal with the pandemic. The researchers at Alliance have conducted their own analysis of these procedures with these goals in mind. This article features an in-depth look at the four most important emerging best practices.

Taking Stock of a New Construction Industry

It’s clear the construction industry will function differently after COVID-19. For example, employers will retain health-crisis response plans designed to protect workers from the novel coronavirus in anticipation of similar events in the future.

But the virus has impacted the industry in other ways that will shape its future in terms of ongoing success. There is a new urgency for smart construction practices that increase efficiency, improve design processes, overcome environmental challenges, and replace outdated techniques. New perspectives on employee management are central to this new approach as well.

4 Emerging Best Practices for Future Construction

Although a return to past production levels will take time, leading companies are defining and preparing new strategies to help ensure profitability — and even to respond to other potential crises. Alliance has identified four best practices for future success in our industry. It’s our hope that the following best practices will help members of the industry advance together.

1. Increase investments in remote capabilities

Telework has become the new normal

Shifting employees to mobile or remote work environments reduces on-site risks associated with the spread of disease. As Engineering News Record (ENR) describes, “construction firms must turn to mobile technologies to help them protect employees’ health and to complete projects safely, timely and profitably in an environment that imposes unprecedented constraints on day-to-day operations.”

Fortunately, designers can use digital collaboration tools like BIM, 4D and 5D simulations — and other tools compatible with remote work. Companies will be limited in this new best practice in terms of the number of jobs that apply, but it is a logical first step towards their future success.

2. Expand safety oversight on job sites

Added safety oversight helps mitigate unnecessary contact between workers

Maintaining documented safety measures, strategies, and track records will become a competitive factor for new construction projects. Companies will respond by designating “safety and health officers” to individual job sites whose sole purpose is to assess health risks and implement measures to protect against them while also optimizing project efficiency.

This approach is about more than just disease prevention. As these roles evolve, they will become integral to factors equipment allocation, sick leave management, and gathering insights about risk and safety at individual worksites to supplement companywide plans and documentation.

3. Adopt prefabrication and off-site construction methods

Prefabrication allows for minimal cross contact and reduces amount of material waste

Off-site construction has already had a huge impact on the industry. Given the risk-averse nature and both cost and efficiency benefits of this method, it also has a clear place among post-COVID-19 industry best practices. Prefab construction can reduce the vast majority of waste from conventional construction methods through the use of intelligent digital tools as well.

As part of their recommended “vital actions” in response to COVID-19, Construction Dive suggests companies “conduct more work off-site with prefab”: “Offsite construction will undoubtedly help with on-site crew sizes, and prefabrication will force teams to think about what materials are absolutely necessary, and their sequence… This will boost trust and reliability in the workflow now and in the future.”

4. Implement advanced analytics

Advanced analytics provides details that allow better and more concise decision making

Big data strategies driven by artificial intelligence are more accessible than ever. These will be essential to anticipating and preparing for the macro-level disruptions of the future similar in scope to COVID-19.

What’s more, these tools can be applied to individual projects, factoring in any number of risk, cost, logistics, and efficiency factors to improve outcomes. “It’s all about achieving on-time, on-budget projects with high quality and safety standards and a new level of real-time project transparency.,” says ENR. “Predictive analytics can be done at the pace of operations. These tools will be critical to managing project volume once latent demand breaks through after the industry-level limitations imposed by COVID-19 subside.


Many of us have spent 2020 in a “damage control” mindset. But this is also an opportunity to take stock of your company, develop a rational future outlook, and start planning for success in that new environment. For more insights into the future of the industry or to discuss your next project, contact Alliance today.