The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Catalyst and Accelerator for Offsite Construction Technologies


The construction sector is one of the largest industries that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the COVID-19 outbreak had numerous negative impacts, the pandemic is perceived to have positive impacts on the construction industry such as an increased reliance on innovative construction technologies and methods. Despite the pronounced benefits of offsite construction and its potential to address many uncertainties and challenges experienced by the construction industry, little-to-no previous research has been performed to study the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on offsite construction. To this end, this paper used an integrated methodology to study how the COVID-19 crisis would unfold for offsite construction as well as to examine the offsite construction measures that were taken by companies during the pandemic. First, subcommittees of industry experts were formed to guide the research process. Second, interviews were conducted to get information related to the industry's perceptions on the current and future impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on offsite construction. Third, data from business case studies were collected to verify the perceptions of the interviewed experts and the validity of the obtained findings from the interviews. The main findings of this paper showed that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised industry awareness on the importance of leveraging offsite construction technologies and methods in both short and long terms, since the pandemic required companies to seriously plan for further increasing their offsite construction capabilities. This research concluded that the enhanced focus on worker safety due to the pandemic will help accelerate the industry's move to offsite construction methods in the future. Ultimately, this research adds to the body of knowledge by showcasing why and how offsite construction technologies helped the industry adapt and respond to the challenging times during the COVID-19 pandemic and how the outbreak could be a catalyst for an increased reliance on offsite construction methods in the future.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


This research was collaboratively carried out by the authors through funding provided by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) at the Missouri University of Science and Technology, Purdue University, and the University of Arkansas under CII RT-371.

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1943-5479; 0742-597X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2022 American Society of Civil Engineers, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2022