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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Construction Management and Economics

For a Special Issue on
What have we learnt from the COVID-19 global pandemic: Improving the construction industry’s abilities to foresee, respond to and recover from future endemic catastrophes

Abstract deadline
30 April 2021

Manuscript deadline
01 October 2021

Cover image - Construction Management and Economics

Special Issue Editor(s)

Distinguished Professor Helen Lingard, RMIT University
[email protected]

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What have we learnt from the COVID-19 global pandemic: Improving the construction industry’s abilities to foresee, respond to and recover from future endemic catastrophes

Guest Editors:

Helen Lingard (Distinguished Professor, RMIT University, Australia)

Rita Zhang (Senior Lecturer, RMIT University, Australia)

Christine Räisänen (Emerita Professor, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden)

Yang Miang Goh (Associate Professor, National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Paul Bowen (Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town, South Africa)

Siddharth Bhandari (Research Faculty, University of Colorado Boulder, USA)


In an increasingly interconnected world, the global spread of COVID-19 was rapid. On 30 January 2020, the WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and on 11 March 2020, it was proclaimed a pandemic.  The direct health impacts of the pandemic have been far-reaching and devastating.  Within a short period of time, COVID-19 altered the way people live, interact and work across the globe.

In attempts to slow down the rate of infection, governments across countries implemented a range of measures including but not limited to mobility restrictions, physical distancing, hygiene measures, socio-economic restrictions, mass communication programs and international support mechanisms (de Bruin et al., 2020), to varying degrees of success.  de Bruin et al. (2020) observed that some countries have fared better than others in curbing the spread of the virus, which may be attributed to variation in the level of risk mitigation measures implemented, and the timing of governments’ policy responses to the escalating risk.  In the context of business operations, the effectiveness of responses to COVID-19 is also dependent on industrial and organisational resilience, disaster preparedness and adaptive capacity (Bryce et al., 2020; Saurin, 2021).

During the pandemic, construction industries across the globe have worked tirelessly to adapt to the COVID-19 challenges by initiating and implementing various intervention measures to maintain business continuity while ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of all personnel involved.  The construction industry is embedded within larger social, political and economic systems within national and sometimes international contexts.  The industry’s response to the pandemic and its ultimate impacts are therefore likely to be affected by many factors relating to the features of the social system, prevailing government and policy frameworks and the state of the economy within which the industry operates.

Variation in the timing and effectiveness of national and industrial preparedness, prevention and response measures during COVID-19 provides a valuable opportunity to compare and contrast approaches and share information that can help the global construction industry to better anticipate, plan, implement and maintain risk mitigation measures for future natural or man-made threats to global health security.  International information sharing and learning are critical to reduce the vulnerability of the global construction industry to significant trans-boundary crises in the future.

Aim of the special issue

Public health experts have strongly supported the need for companies to play their part in the global management of the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing training, screening, health surveillance and care (Fadel et al., 2020).  Occupational health and safety issues have become critical strategic concerns for organisations and industry sectors when making decisions about the management of business operations during, and after, the pandemic (Caligiuri et al., 2020).

There is emerging research documenting successful adaptations made by construction organisations to minimise the health and safety impacts of COVID-19, including modified work practices, flexible work arrangements, improved hygiene practices and welfare facilities (Jones et al., 2020).  While the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant challenges for the construction industry, it has also prompted researchers and practitioners to reflect on the lessons that have been and continue to be learned and the role that the effective management of health, safety and wellbeing has played (and can continue to play) in ensuring organisational resilience and business continuity.

The aim of this special issue is to analyse, understand and document the way in which construction industries across the globe have responded to and experienced (and continue to experience), as well as what they have learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The special issue seeks to collate evidence as to what worked well and what did not, and why, and to identify and share lessons learned in relation to strengthening the global construction industry’s risk governance mechanisms, bolstering organisational resilience and reducing vulnerability to transboundary crises that might arise in the future.

This special issue focuses on the variety and effectiveness of health and safety management responses at: macro (industry/policy), meso (organisational/project) and micro (workgroup/individual) levels implemented by the global construction industry in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more information, please visit https://doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2020.1869480.

Submission Instructions

Full paper submission open: January 2021

Extended abstract submission deadline*: until 30 April 2021

Full paper submission deadline: 1 October 2021

Publication of the special issue: Planned for September 2022 (accepted issues will appear online ahead of publication)

* Prospective authors are required to submit extended abstracts, which will provide an opportunity for authors to seek feedback from the guest editors and to receive confidence that the paper proposal is within the scope of this call.  Abstracts should be no more than 1,000 words in length including references and should clearly state the research rationale and purpose/aim, the research problem or theoretical question being addressed, the research methods, and an indication of the key findings.

Informal queries regarding this special issue can be directed to Distinguished Professor Helen Lingard, [email protected].  For more general queries about Construction Management and Economics, please write to Prof. Paul W Chan, [email protected].

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