Building global resilience in residential construction

A new international collaboration, which supports UN Sustainable Development Goals, will help the residential construction sector to recover from COVID-19 and build resilience to future shocks.

Dr Ornella Iuorio, from the School of Civil Engineering, is leading the collaboration, which is funded by the Worldwide University Network’s Research Development Fund.

The construction sector and its supply chain has been substantially disrupted by the pandemic. According to the Construction Product Association, there was an 85% drop in residential construction work in the UK in April 2020 as sites closed during the national lockdown measures.

The UK’s construction industry already faced challenges, such as providing housing to meet the ever-increasing demands of a rising population.

Construction setbacks caused by the pandemic are evident not only in the UK but across the globe. Without intervention, disrupted construction supply chains could have a lasting impact on the supply of safe and sustainable housing.

Dr Iuorio will lead an international comparison of policies, reactions and measures across the UK, the USA, Italy, New Zealand, and Nigeria, accounting for cultural complexities.

The team includes researchers from the University of Leeds, The University of Auckland, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Ibadan, and Università di Roma Tor Vergata.

Dr Iuorio said: “Over the last few months, supply chains have adapted and implemented measures to re-start and or re-boost work.

“Our study will capture the lessons learned from this re-start. It will develop a framework and actionable recommendations to enable residential construction supply chains to better cope with future disruptions and return to pre-crisis status.

“The project will contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) 11 and 13 by promoting the sustainable recovery of residential construction and protecting the industry from future crises.”

The project will contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals by promoting recovery from the pandemic... and protecting the industry from future crises.

Dr Ornella Iuorio, School of Civil Engineering

She added: “The outcomes will be achieved through a network fostering collaboration across five different countries. This network will shed light on how we can make the residential construction sector more resilient to possible shocks in the future.”

Further information

Find out more about The Worldwide Universities Network (WUN), a leading global higher education and research network made up of 23 universities, spanning 15 countries on six continents.

Learn more about Dr Ornella Iuorio’s research.