SMACNA, New Horizons Foundation Issue Landmark Report on Productivity Impact of COVID-19 

The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association’s member foundation and research entity, the New Horizons Foundation, has issued a new project study addressing the productivity impact of the coronavirus across the sheet metal and HVAC industry.

Before New Horizons Foundation issued its findings, no specific resource and data existed to aid contractors in quantifying the cost impacts of lost productivity working under pandemic-driven work protocols.

Through data collection focused on two key areas: 1) mitigation tracking (the added time on site access, fit-for-duty, personal protective equipment, cleaning and protocols) and 2) productivity benchmarking (lost time in actual performance of the work) of industry professionals, New Horizons Foundation and its partners quantified the magnitude of time invested in pandemic-related productivity losses. Key findings include:

  • Based on information collected from sheet metal, HVAC and mechanical contractors, 8.7% of hours available on projects to do productive work are lost due to mitigation requirements such as personal protective equipment management, cleaning and disinfection, access rules and extra administration time
  • There is a 9.2% average productivity impact — time lost in installation labor — and an 8.7% mitigation impact on sheet metal, HVAC and mechanical contractor productivity as a result of the pandemic, resulting in 17.9% productivity impact
  • There are 85 minutes of lost productivity per day per employee’s 8-hour work period
  • The financial impact of productivity losses can take as long as 3-6 months to fully play out in a company’s finances

In addition to highlighting the quantitative impact of the pandemic, the report also includes a roadmap to help members adapt to the new industry landscape — noting that companies with pandemic mitigation processes in place saw lower productivity losses.

The report is a joint effort between SMACNA’s New Horizons Foundation and ELECTRI International, the National Electrical Contractors Association’s foundation. The Executive Summary of the report can be found here.

For questions regarding the New Horizons Foundation project and report, contact Thomas Soles via email at, or phone at 703-402-7395.