Construction Risk Mitigation Industry Leader Brian Mingham Looks at How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Influencing Home Renovations
It will be several years before the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be fully categorized and calculated. However, after just a handful of months since lock downs across the U.S. began, we are already seeing significant and likely permanent change in one key area: home renovations.
“Millions of people are working from home right now — and they may exclusively or primarily stay there for the foreseeable future — and they’re discovering that while not having to commute through traffic each day is beneficial, attempting to communicate effectively with clients presents significant challenges.” commented Brian Mingham, the Founder and CEO of CFSI Loan Management, a leading nationwide construction risk mitigation firm. “At the same time, many people who planned on moving to a bigger or better home before the pandemic are now deciding that it’s wiser to renovate instead of relocate.”
According to Brian Mingham, there are three dominant home renovation trends that, while not necessarily triggered by COVID-19, have certainly been accelerated by the pandemic: more multi-purpose spaces, more open layouts, and blended dining-backyard spaces.
Many of today’s remote workers — both those who want to be at home, and those who have no choice — do not necessarily want to be holed up in a specific room from 9–5 . Instead, they want a base of operations where they can keep their files and have conference calls without fear of being interrupted by kids, pets, neighbors, and so on. But they also want the flexibility to grab their laptop or tablet and work in other areas of their home.
“Many remote workers are struggling with the fact that in a corporate setting they typically moved around throughout the office during the day, but at home they can remain in the same spot for hours — which is not good for their long-term physical or their psychological health,” commented Brian Mingham, whose firm enables lenders to reduce construction loan risks for residential, commercial, and multi-family properties. “The shift towards more multi-purpose spaces, with versatile and easy-to-clean surfaces, gives these people the freedom to work in various rooms. And when they’re done working or need a break, these same spaces can be used to stream their favorite Netflix show, do some yoga, play with their kids, etc. They want their needs and mood to determine the purpose and function of a space, not the other way around.”
More Open Layouts
While open-plan office layout may be less popular in corporate settings these days (not just for social distancing reasons, people who work from home — or who just spend far more time at home now than they did before the pandemic began, are embracing open layouts.
“People are discovering that the interior layout of their home profoundly influences their perception of how spacious it is, or conversely, how crowded it is,” commented Brian Mingham. “Indeed, if it is designed and executed properly, a $30,000 home renovation in a smaller home can feel like spending $100,000 to upgrade to a larger home.”
Blended Dining-Backyard Spaces
COVID-19 is also convincing — and in some cases, compelling — people to put their getaway plans on hold (especially if they involve cross-border travel), and instead enjoy a “staycation” with family and friends. This shift is creating a great deal of renovation activity and interest in blended backyard-dining spaces.
“By blending these two rooms, families and guests can move fluidly between them depending on the activity, the time of day, or the weather,” commented Brian Mingham. “This trend is also inspiring a whole new perception of backyard landscaping, furnishing and lighting. Instead of seeing the backyard as the outside of their home, people are viewing it as an extension of their home — one that they want to start taking full advantage of on a regular basis instead of once-in-a-while.”