Building Trends During COVID-19 & Beyond4 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
The pandemic has started a lot of new trends.
And it’s more than stylish new masks…
Businesses everywhere have had to adapt.
When it comes to building, there are some key trends to keep your eye on.
- How the pandemic is affecting business
- Trends to look out for under COVID-19
- Trends on the horizon
The trades under the new normal
Peter started his company 15 years ago, but he’s been working in HVAC for a lot longer.
He learned from his dad, who was in the trade for almost 50 years.
And, based on experimenting under his dad’s tutelage, he’s been able to expand his business to cover basically every type of heating system.
So, he’s seen everything in the industry… until COVID-19 when he had to adapt to the new normal just like everyone else.
Now he’s attending service calls with masks and hand sanitizer and wearing little booties.
“It’s almost like we’re doctors going into somebody’s house. But it’s necessary to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.” — Peter Watson
He’s also having to keep a close eye on his cash flow.
When this interview was recorded a few months ago, his cash flow was fine — there were plenty of jobs. And the following month, the same thing.
But his projections any further show a drop to almost zero income.
So, he’s having to really tighten spending and make sure the company only buys what it actually needs.
One way he’s achieving this is through The Reliance Builder Program.
Designed to provide builders with a solution for any development, the program provides homeowners with HVAC, water heating and water purification equipment.
In addition, the program provides homeowners with year-round service and 24-hour call support once they move in.
Peter has also relied on the Canadian government, which has offered some relief.
The government provided 75% wage subsidies for employees once sales drop a certain percentage — 15% in March, 30% in April, etc.
This allowed Peter to rehire 3 employees he’d laid off after his sales suffered a precipitous decline in March and April.
As for new trends spurred on by the virus, Peter has seen a few crop up.
On the builder side, he’s seen certain practices change in a short period of time.
Sometimes, for the better.
For instance, “Social distancing means fewer people are allowed in a house at one time and this has resulted in a slowdown of operations.”
So, the trades are having to wait their turn.
And he’s also sanguine about some latent trends he expects to see thriving as the pandemic progresses — especially air filtration.
“One thing that doesn’t get mentioned with the pandemic is air filtration for heating systems on houses — air filters, UV lamps. ” — Peter Watson
And Peter’s wife raves about their UV lamp she believes helps with reducing her allergies and asthma.
Also, pro-tip from Peter: If someone in your household has similar issues with air quality, you can cut down on the dust that accumulates by sealing the basement floor with a good concrete paint.
Try it… and thank us later.
The interruption in the world that COVID-19 has caused doesn’t apply to every trend.
And there are some long-term ones Peter expects will continue unabated.
Like a greater focus on environmentally-sound practices.
“The biggest trend that we’re going to start to see over the next basically starting out in the next 10 to 15 years is a move away from fossil fuels.” — Peter Watson
Take hot water tanks, for example.
The trend is to hit those high-efficiency benchmarks and be as green as possible.
All of the hot water tanks installed by Peter these days in new construction hit a minimum of 90% efficiency.
And tankless options are all the rage.
This trend is only going to get stronger in the coming years as government incentives for green technology fuel their demand.
Smart homes are also becoming a bigger and bigger trend as time goes on as a result of more millennials entering the housing market.
Now, you have a variety of Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, CO2 detectors, water detectors and indoor/outdoor cameras in more and more new homes.
These operate with sensors so precise that they can actually double as a security system.
In fact, Peter is using these devices for security in his office.
New construction trends
Being aware of these trends is vital if you want to compete in the industry long-term.
And with or without a pandemic, change is certainly on the horizon for builders.
This post is based on a Business Optimization podcast with Peter Watson. The views, information, or opinions expressed during the podcast series are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of Reliance Home Comfort and its team members.