Photo: Erol Ahmed

There has been a fundamental shift in how human beings live, work, and play. The built environment must shift in response.

Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and our varied responses to it, it has become commonplace to hear people talk about an anticipated “post-COVID” world or, more frequently, the “new normal.” Both characterizations seem to imply that we’ll have made the transition from one status quo to another. But it is important to remember that change was constant before COVID.  If anything, the pace of change is likely to accelerate once we move on from pandemic response mode. There will be no new normal.  There won’t even be a “next normal.” There will only be change, at an ever-accelerating pace. This acceleration will demand new applied skills for success. Paramount among these skills will be agility, which we define as not just flexibility in terms of our response, but the ability to respond quickly.


Direct Impacts of COVID-19 to the World of Real Estate, Design and Construction

To understand the future state, we conducted a research study along with Gregg Young, an experienced real estate leader and Denise Akason, a Professor of Real Estate at Kellogg School of Management, along with real estate leaders from Hines, Equity Office, Centerpoint, Compass Data Centers and more.  Insights gained focus on current & future practices during design, construction, and operations of real estate assets.

First, the numbers on short-term shutdowns of projects are not surprising. What is more salient is the number of firms, who experienced scheduling delays due to supply chain disruptions. Meanwhile, the heightened personnel safety concerns during construction prompted some different approaches.

The trend towards limiting work on-site has gained momentum, with over half employing industrialized or prefabrication construction procedures. This is a significant finding, since deploying industrialized construction methods requires early design and construction planning and investment in upfront costs. 



Over 40% of the participants in this research study have had to deal with design changes forced by COVID. When a design change is forced on a project it can be the spark that not only demands more agility, but also ignites some real creativity.


The question now is if or how the industry will revert to pre-COVID practices. While the majority share expectations of a return to normal, they are preparing for something different. And if the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the industry anything, it’s that we  cannot predict the future. And so we see 60+% of respondents willing to pay a premium for their design and construction consultants ability to successfully implement future design changes as the world adapts.


What To Expect From This Research

 The insights in this research study will be valuable for companies that are looking to not just cope, but to transcend their businesses amidst the pandemic. 

Armed with the knowledge of the current trends, the study shares ideas on potential pivots to real estate developments, necessary due to the ripple effects of the pandemic. 

  • Learn what industry leaders are projecting for the future of office, multi-family residential, data centers, and more.
  • Understand strategies to embrace an agility mindset to future-proof your organization.
  • Explore pandemic response tactics that could be deployed on your projects.



 VIATechnik is the global leader in virtual design and construction, on a mission to transform the analog world of design and construction into a digital platform, enabling efficient design, industrialized construction, and a digital real estate service model. Through this transformation, we believe we can solve the world’s housing and infrastructure challenges, deliver spaces that nurture life, commerce, and relationships. The Edge is VIATechnik’s blog where our team shares our experiences and explores ideas that create real impact on the built world.



Credits: VIATechnik’s The Edge

 |November 23, 2020 |VIATechnik’s The Edge|

Danielle Dy Buncio, VIATechnik, CEO