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A ugust 2020: From the Good News Department – In spite of COVID-19, the A/E business overall is surprisingly strong. Firms seem to be doing better than most anyone would have predicted when everything had to shut down in March. Why is that? A/E firms are doing surprisingly well
Firms seem to be doing better than most anyone would have predicted when everything had to shut down in March. Why is that? I think there are a number of contributing factors: 1)Demand was high before COVID-19 and most of it is still there. Backlogs were strong going into this thing. Projects were already funded. And some infrastructure projects just can’t wait any longer. So the fact is – with many firms entering the post- COVID-19 period having six to 18 months of work on the books – this thing has had little effect on workload (so far). 2)New client needs are evidencing themselves. Better HVAC for more air exchange and filtering. Office spaces that support social distancing. More new warehousing and distribution facilities. Rethought retail with big box stores facing increasing demand at the expense of small retailers.
Changes in anything involving a queue where people have to line up. More automobile, truck, and rail travel. New technologies and spaces needed for virtual meetings. More renovation and repurposing. I could go on but for some firms, COVID has lead to new demands for what they do. 3)Firms already had the systems and technology to accommodate remote workers before COVID-19, and have refined it since. So for this industry, it wasn’t a huge deal to have everyone work from home, especially when compared to some other industries that weren’t prepared or don’t have that luxury. 4)Firms cut their overhead more quickly than they normally do. I have to say I was impressed with how the companies we work with acted quickly to shed any unnecessary costs. In the past, we tended
See MARK ZWEIG, page 12
THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 17, 2020, ISSUE 1357
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