AbstractThe outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted construction markets worldwide due to supply chain disruptions, workforce restrictions, and legislative changes. However, construction markets in developing countries are perceived to be more vulnerable to the challenges associated with the pandemic. As such, the goal of this paper is to capture the impact of COVID-19 on construction projects in developing countries by considering the case of the Iraqi construction sector. A multistep research methodology was adopted by the authors, including (1) literature analysis and semistructured interviews with 40 industry experts to identify a comprehensive list of construction themes and factors affected by the pandemic; (2) survey data collection from 388 industry professionals to quantify the significance and influence of each identified factor; (3) Cronbach’s alpha test to check the reliability of the survey; (4) fuzzy inference system to assess the impact of the pandemic on each construction theme and factor; and (5) Mann-Whitney U-test to examine the perceived impact by the public and private sectors. Results show that the pandemic has impacted a total of 16 construction factors grouped under four construction themes, including contractual implications, construction financial market, and supply chain operations, as well as safety and risk management, where the latter is the most impacted theme. The factors impacted the most by the pandemic are safety management measures, interpretation of the contract language, building materials prices, risk management practices, construction materials, construction labor, and construction subcontractors. Also, the findings of the fuzzy model show significant difference in the captured impact of the pandemic between the public and private sectors. This research contributes to the body of knowledge by providing a foothold foundation for researchers and decision makers to enhance investigating the effect of the pandemic with its deep uncertainties in relation to developing countries.

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