As we close out what has been a difficult 2020, there is a lot to reflect upon. It was a challenging year for the construction industry in a lot of ways. The industry, in it’s typical fashion, engaged its can-do attitude and pushed through it though. It’s times like these that make me proud to play my small part in the construction world.
We’ll certainly take the lessons we learned this year into 2021. Since we all like lists this time of year, here are 5 predictions for the construction industry in the year ahead:
- COVID-19 will linger for at least 3-4 more months. Cold weather always brings more viruses and sickness anyway. This year will be no different; and COVID will have a chance to hang around at least until we’re all back outside in the fresh air more. The government is also not likely to reduce currently imposed restrictions until they see the numbers go down – which won’t happen until the weather turns.
- More regulation and taxes are over the horizon. The incoming Biden Administration will be able to increase regulation without much interference from Congress, so that is almost a guarantee. This also likely means more active agencies on the federal and state level. It’s likely the Biden Administration will push for a tax increase as well. If the Georgia Senate races go blue in early January, a tax increase is also all but guaranteed. Start planning accordingly, especially if you are an S-Corp.
- There will be a good number of delay related claims. They will be in different forms, including as claims for delay and liquidated damages. Many of them will center around delays on projects relating to COVID shutdowns and lack of personnel due to fears over COVID. Make sure your projects are properly documented.
- There will be more public money available as government funds come online. Whether it’s more PPP money, other government assistance programs, or stimulus type money similar to that which was prevalent in the Obama Administration, the government is already showing signs of trying to deflect the ire of business owners for costing them revenue with shutdowns during the COVID pandemic. There are few certainties in life; but politicians spending money in an effort to placate the electorate about their prior actions is one of them. Forthcoming bills on infrastructure is a safe bet for this to occur.
- The shortage of skilled labor will continue and, perhaps, worsen. This was already a difficult issue for many in the construction industry. Now that the pandemic has chased a good number of workers out of work because of COVID related down-sizing or the resulting changes for younger workers with families during the pandemic, many of these workers will have moved on to other opportunities to try to make a living. Once settled, they become less likely to come back to construction. It’s an industry wide problem that everyone needs to work on improving in 2021.
Good luck to everyone in the industry in 2021. May it bring you health, happiness, and prosperity.
ABOUT JOSH QUINTER
Josh Quinter is a commercial litigation attorney, with a focus on construction law, and an Associate Managing Principal. Mr. Quinter actively works with his clients in the areas of business planning, contract negotiation and project consulting, risk management and dispute resolution, and litigation. His client service and professionalism have earned him the distinction of being named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer, a Lawyer on the Fast Track, and a Rising Star.
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