Subcontractor’s Association Measures Profit and Productivity Impact of COVID-19

New study measures the average productivity impact and time lost to mitigating infection

The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) announced its member foundation and research entity, the New Horizons Foundation, issued a new project study tha measures the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on productivity across the sheet metal and HVAC industry.

Ken Simonson, chief economist of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), told the report reflected what he’s seen among AGC members.

“The results are consistent with what I would expect – there are multiple obstacles to maintaining productivity on a jobsite,” Simonson said. “It sounds like a substantial enough database to yield credible results.”

Through data collection focused on two key areas: 1) mitigation tracking (the added time on site access, fit-for-duty, personal protective equipment, cleaning and protocols); and 2) productivity benchmarking (lost time in actual performance of the work) of industry professionals, New Horizons Foundation and its partners quantified the magnitude of time invested in pandemic-related productivity losses. Key findings include:

  • Based on information collected from sheet metal, HVAC and mechanical contractors, 8.7% of hours available on projects to do productive work are lost due to mitigation requirements such as personal protective equipment management, cleaning and disinfection, access rules, and extra administration time.
  • There is a 9.2% average productivity impact — time lost in installation labor — and an 8.7% mitigation impact on sheet metal, HVAC and mechanical contractor productivity as a result of the pandemic, resulting in 17.9% productivity impact.
  • There are 85 minutes of lost productivity per day per employee’s eight-hour work period.
  • The financial impact of productivity losses can take as long as three to six months to fully play out in a company’s finances.

In addition to highlighting the quantitative impact of the pandemic, the report also includes a roadmap to help members adapt to the new industry landscape — noting that companies with pandemic mitigation processes in place saw lower productivity losses.

The report is a joint effort between SMACNA’s New Horizons Foundation and ELECTRI International, the National Electrical Contractors Association’s (NECA) foundation.

The Executive Summary of the report can be found here

Download the SMACNA’s Pandemic Change Order Calculator here

SMACNA is an international trade association representing 3,500 contributing contractor firms and is a leader in promoting quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry. SMACNA members are responsible for effectively delivering the clean air Americans breathe in offices, homes, and hospitals; for many of the attractive facades you see on today’s stadiums and office buildings; and for the comfortable, healthy, and safe living environments in which our citizens live out their daily lives.

The New Horizons Foundation is a sheet metal and HVAC industry initiative founded and initially funded by SMACNA.