Survey Gauges Pandemic’s Effect on the Utility Construction Industry

The National Utility Contractors Association recently polled its members to get some data on what they are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic

Survey Gauges Pandemic’s Effect on the Utility Construction Industry

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A recent survey by the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) showed that 97% of the work done this month by the association’s membership was considered essential by their state and local authorities. 

The “State of the American Utility Construction Industry” survey also showed that in almost equal amounts, NUCA members said their work backlog is remaining constant (44%) or rolling with work stoppages (41%). The remaining 15% of members indicated their work had dramatically slowed down, bids were reduced to a trickle, or they had experienced large cancellations of private contracts.

“These results clearly show that for the U.S. utility construction industry we are doing our part to keep America working. That’s what an essential industry does for its community,” says Doug Carlson, CEO of NUCA. “Our members do their best to practice social distancing on job sites. They wear durable PPE as part of their normal approach to safety at the workplace, including masks, gloves, and helmets. But the survey results also show that our industry continues to seek short-term financial relief to retain employees and not lay them off.”

Many NUCA members are concerned about their business cash flow — 61% of survey respondents said they had filed for a Small Business Administration loan, but as of the date when the survey closed (April 23), 55% said they had not received their loan funds, with only 34% having received their Paycheck Protection Program funds. About two-thirds of industry applicants had applied through their local bank, with only one-third through a national bank branch, and less than 1 percent through a credit union.

The survey also asked NUCA members what kind of essential work was being completed during this emergency period. 26% said they were working on water projects, 26% indicated wastewater projects, 5% electric projects, and 4% on telecommunication projects. 38% indicated they were working on varied projects such as highway infrastructure repairs, municipal public works construction, emergency repairs on homes, gas line repairs, or ancillary business functions to keep these essential projects supplied with equipment or materials.

About The National Utility Contractors Association

Founded in 1964, the National Utility Contractors Association represents nearly 1,700 U.S. utility and excavation contractors, manufacturers, and suppliers who provide the materials and workforce to build and maintain the nation’s intricate network of water, sewer, gas, telecommunications, and electric infrastructure. Visit for more information.


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