Assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the emerging local construction firms in Kampala, Uganda.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been the largest global health crisis leading to economic declines, widespread business disruptions, and significant hardships worldwide. This study focused on assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the emerging local construction firms. The study objectives were achieved through a review of relevant literature as well as questionnaire survey from 73 construction professionals representing different construction firms around Kampala. The respondents were qualified professionals in the construction industry. The respondents offered information according to their experiences during the pandemic on the positive and negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on local construction firms as well as measures that should be employed to manage the effects of the pandemic. The negative effects that were analyzed in this study are, labor shortage as a result of some workers refusing to turn up for work due to fear of contracting the Corona Virus disease, delay in material delivery and shortage of materials, additional costs due to new safety and health requirements like hand washing equipment, temperature guns, sanitizers among others, reduction in productivity rates due to social distancing of workers and restrictions bygovernment, transport challenges due to government restrictions, price escalations, general increase in operating costs, delayed payments and other financial constraints, suspension or slowing down of ongoing projects and delay of start dates for new projects due to lock-down and suspension or postponement of works due to an outbreak on site whereas positive effects include; new opportunities for the construction industry like construction of health facilities, new innovative ideas were developed during the COVID-19 pandemic period, adoption of working from home for non-site personnel helped the company reduce on expenses for office equipment, enhanced site organization for example regulation of access to the site, and opportunity for the companies to improve the technology infrastructure for example establishment of a local area network connection. The findings indicated that the negative impacts had an average RSI of 0.865 which was higher than the one of positive impacts 0.746, implying that to a greater extent, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was negative. The study findings will be useful to industry stakeholders interested in understanding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the construction industry. Industry stakeholders may also build upon the reported findings and establish best practices for continued safe and productive operations.