How will buildings change post Covid-19?

There will be a need to re-purpose and redesign buildings, as well as increase space as a result of the current global pandemic, according to a growing number of industry insights.

The healthcare, pharmaceutical and food industries, being on the front line, have already experienced an immediate upsurge in emergency construction for more space: isolation rooms, clean manufacturing and storage for example.

These ways of immediately tackling a crisis tend to lead to changes that impact forever; things simply don’t go back to how they were.

So, as the situation plays out, there is likely to be a need for greater space, enabling individual workers to distance themselves safely from colleagues and site visitors.

In the food industry, for example, people often work shoulder-to-shoulder, and Klipspringer’s blog, Just How? Social Distancing in Food Factories’ suggests a number of measures to improve safety, including strong ‘Keep your Distance’ signage which demonstrates the need to keep two metres apart, and “Additional entrances and exits…to spread out the people flow, with additional doors available and a turnstile entrance and exit system. This doesn’t just mean in and out of the factory, but from area-to-area.”

Klipspringer also suggests factory zoning and physical segregation barriers, all of which could suggest that more space would be an important part of the solution in many factories.

Kerry Foods ‘Insights’ blog ‘6 Lessons from China’s Recovering Food & Beverage Sector after Covid19’ says there will be more “Demand for visibility on product sourcing and safety,” and that the industry will be “more keenly aware of strict hygiene and food safety.” says the same in its ‘Market Trends’, “Food safety has attracted significant concern from consumers, who want to know whether the coronavirus can be transmitted by imported food…”, which surely will create the need for food producers to take, and promote, measures to allay these fears.

This is highly likely to include the ongoing need to keep individual workers distanced from each other, an area that has not up until now been a necessary consideration in most manufacturing environments. 

In the UK over the last few decades, we have gradually lost a lot of our ability to produce goods in an effort to keep reducing costs. Many reports suggest that there is likely to be a strategic move to rebuild domestic manufacturing in order to improve our self-sustainability, flexibility, and our ability to react to crises in the future.

So, even though for some manufacturers, demand has ‘dropped off a cliff’, leaving them with the same operational costs without the sales in the short term, in the medium-to-long term it is likely that there will be a resurgence in the sector.

Whilst automation is going to come increasingly to the fore, manufacturing still requires humans to be physically onsite to run, maintain and repair machines. External sales people and contractors will still need to come onsite.

Having plenty of flexible space is going to become important, and it’s not just in manufacturing either.

Retail outlets will need to adjust to social distancing, allowing for more free space; seats in cinemas and theatres are likely to be set more widely apart, restaurant tables will not be packed so closely together.

Organisations will require business continuity rooms and emergency health centre/isolation rooms.

As manufacturing staff are not highly paid, unless they are highly skilled or tech-savvy, there may be also be a call for some living space for the workforce, possibly affordable housing close to areas of work.

At Hemsec, we believe that SIPs, metal-faced structural panels, and insulated panels are going to be in high demand in order to meet these new market needs.

As a manufacturer ourselves, we understand the need to have high quality supply readily available, and are committed to ensuring our customers get what they need.

If you foresee a high level of demand, let’s start a conversation now, with a view to developing a supportive supply partnership to meet your needs when the time comes.

Please email us at or call +44 (0)151 426 7171

empty warehouse with open space ready to be retrofitted or repurposed


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