Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Construction Industry: A literature review of academic research

Journal article


Ghansah, F. and Lu, W. (2023). Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Construction Industry: A literature review of academic research. Construction Management and Economics. 41 (9), pp. 781-803. https://doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2023.2205159
AuthorsGhansah, F. and Lu, W.
Abstract

Over the past 3 years, the global construction sector has been severely affected by the noxious coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Visionary construction stakeholders, including governments, practitioners, and academia, all have been actively devising strategies to deal with the crisis caused by the pandemic. Despite the rich contributions by academia, an in-depth review of their research works to understand how the pandemic has been handled to position the construction industry for post-pandemic actions and future pandemics is hitherto lacking. Hence, an up-to-date literature review is conducted in this study to better understand this terra incognita. It does so by adopting a six-step thematic analysis of 159 empirical peer-reviewed research articles in relation to COVID-19 on construction. The review discovered a growing research interest from different countries from 2020 to 2022. The existing studies can be put under four major topics, namely the COVID-19 impacts, challenges and opportunities, responding strategies, and post-COVID-19 interventions. A framework consisting of four categories of responding strategies, namely vaccination, personal responsibility of workers, government-instructional practices, and organisation-based approaches, is proposed through the lens of the socio-technical system theory to handle the pandemic crisis in construction. Limitations of the existing studies were further identified. Four pertinent research directions were finally proposed: building upon and testing the proposed COVID-19 response framework, adoption of more advanced innovative strategies to increase productivity amid pandemics and survive the risk of future pandemics, beyond the technological response to COVID-19 in construction, and post-pandemic view of the construction industry. This study contributes to the knowledge body by providing a candid evaluation of the knowledge contributed by academia to deal with the risks of future pandemics in the global construction industry.

KeywordsConstruction, construction industry, COVID-19 pandemic, academic responses, literature review
Year2023
JournalConstruction Management and Economics
Journal citation41 (9), pp. 781-803
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1466-433X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2023.2205159
Publication dates
Online15 Apr 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted03 May 2023
Deposited19 Jan 2024
Accepted author manuscript
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