Impacts of covid-19 on the middle east construction industry

  • Ahmed Khalafallah Kuwait University
  • Ehab Soliman Lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait, Tel: +965 5020-7722, Fax: +965 2481-7524
  • Khaled Alrasheed Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Kuwait University, P.O. Box 5969, Safat 13060, Kuwait, Tel: +965 9939-9977, Fax: +965 2481-7524


The impacts of pandemics on construction project management are not documented and not well understood, which leaves project stakeholders with no guiding information to respond to the pandemic threats and no lessons learned to speed up the recovery of the industry in the wake of the pandemic. Although researchers have studied the impacts of pandemics in other industries in various settings, there is little-to-no research specific to the construction industry and especially in the Middle East. To address this knowledge gap, 202 construction professionals were surveyed using a questionnaire survey to provide their perceptions of COVID-19 pandemic impact on project finance, construction materials and equipment, labor, contracts, and rental properties. Descriptive statistical analysis of the collected data reveals that construction industry stakeholders perceive labor and contracts to be the principal classes to be impacted due to the anticipated more complex procedures to hire labor from East Asia, the tightening of health and safety precautionary measures on construction sites, and the expected contract revisions to Force Majeure, Change and Claim clauses to address pandemic issues. The respondents also indicated that the slowdown of launching new government projects would have significant impacts on the construction industry, and that prolonged COVID-19 pandemic impact would be harsher than the current collapse of oil price. This study contributes to the body of knowledge in construction management by investigating the managerial impacts of pandemics and providing project management stakeholders with guidelines to response strategies that can mitigate pandemic threats.