3Q 2020

Analyst Insight: COVID-19 Impacts on Construction

Global Building Stock Database

Data on direct impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on construction and building stock is sparse, but the economic consequences of the pandemic are slowly coming to light. Guidehouse Insights’ view is that stay-at-home and distancing requirements around the world forced a temporary slowdown in construction activity in 2020. As construction resumes, uncertainty around the cost of building materials and the practices needed to maintain health and safety on a construction site have combined with a fundamental rethinking of the built environment precipitated by the pandemic. These shifts are resulting in acute short-term impacts and a longer-term rebalancing of the built environment. Guidehouse Insights expects a rebound in construction activity in 2021 and healthy growth in the global residential and commercial building markets in the long term. 

Hard data describing the size and characteristics of the global building footprint is scarce. Several countries conduct periodic surveys of their building stock and record construction activity for specific building types. Still, quite a few gaps remain in the building types covered and in available data years. Moreover, estimates on the size and use of buildings for countries can vary widely in precision and quality. 

Guidehouse Insights’ Global Building Stock Database is a dataset that covers the complete commercial and residential building stock at the country level. The dataset was generated through a comprehensive literature review and a rigorous quantitative modeling process. The data covers eight commercial and two residential building types more than 230 countries and territories over the 2019-2029 period. Country-level detail on two residential building types—single-family detached and multi-unit residential—is also provided.

Pages 16
Tables | Charts | Figures 15
  • What are the immediate impacts of COVID-19 on construction?
  • How will the built environment change during the economic recovery from the pandemic?
  • What building types are most affected by COVID-19?
  • What are the key indicators and trends that dictate the size and composition of the global building stock? 
  • Which commercial building types will see the strongest growth over time? 
  • Which regions and countries will witness the most growth in commercial building stock?  
  • Lighting and HVAC equipment vendors 
  • Green building design and construction firms 
  • Management consultancies 
  • Energy service companies (ESCOs) 
  • International real estate companies 
  • Energy sector trade associations and advocacy groups 
  • Government agencies, regulators, and policymakers 
  • Investor community



Executive Summary

Market Inflection Trends

Construction Decline

Retail, Offices, and Restaurants in 2020

Working from Home Threatens Office Real Estate

Staggered Hotel and Restaurant Recovery

Market Drivers and Barriers

Global Building Stock Market Forecast

Regional Market Overview

Key Recommendations

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Additional Resources


  • Global Building Stock Growth Potential, World Markets
  • Production of Total Construction by Country, Selected Countries: 2019-2020 (Seasonally Adjusted)
  • Building Stock by Segment, World Markets: 2019-2030
  • Expected Percentage of Employees to Remain Remote Based on a Survey of 317 CFOs and Finance Leaders: March 30, 2020
  • Office Occupancy Year to Date by Square Footage, US: 2010-2020
  • Restaurant Bookings for Seated Diners, Selected Countries: February-March 2020
  • Global Building Stock by Region, World Markets: 2019-2029
  • Global Building Stock by Segment, World Markets: 2019-2029
  • Global Building Stock by Segment, World Markets: 2019-2029