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Jul 20, 2020

Rick Steger, head of JLL’s industrial project and development services group, marks his first return to the podcast since Episode 3. In this installment, we discuss the state of the industrial construction market during COVID-19—including safety features clients are requesting in buildouts, and opportunities in e-commerce, manufacturing and medical/biotech. We also examine how a few trends have evolved since Rick discussed them back in 2017.


2:50: Before COVID-19 hit, U.S. construction was projected to be flat in 2020.

4:17: Project times have lengthened due to government shutdowns, productivity declines, labor shortages and delayed equipment/material deliveries during COVID-19.

7:26: Construction hit its bottom April 22, when 60% of U.S. projects were put on hold or canceled, but began bouncing back by May 20, with many projects back up and running early to mid-June.

11:48: The construction industry is predicted to be down 10-15% overall in 2020 vs. 2019 – not bad considering how much it’s grown over the past few years.

13:18: Opportunity: Growing use of e-commerce, specifically grocery e-commerce, during COVID-19 is driving demand for new distribution centers in urban centers, multi-floor downtown warehouses, dark-store conversions, and more.

16:54: Opportunity: During COVID-19, many manufacturers have been rethinking their supply chain operations, seeking to de-risk by building more facilities stateside and relying less on overseas operations.

18:22: Opportunity: Some of medical and biotech also will move manufacturing back stateside following problems faced overseas during COVID-19.

19:23: Ensuring safety on the job site: From temperature checks and questionnaires to HVAC systems and UV light.

22:20: Preassembled components and automation likely to rise in use in the construction process due to COVID-19.

23:34: Revisiting topics from Ep. 3: Precast supplies, 40’ clear and LEED/energy efficiency programs.