COVID-19 and the Construction Industry

We're all affected by the challenges of the current COVID-19 situation. We hope all of you are safe and well and making the most of these uncertain times. 

In this article, we offer some insight on what others in the industry (heavy construction, demolition, site development, and heavy equipment businesses) are doing in response.

Fortunately, in most cases the government has deemed construction essential, including services, maintenance, and equipment rental.

Face to face communication with other companies and with employees is more effective than text/email. The use of Zoom or teleconferences are the best way to have these meetings without the danger of putting anyone else at risk.

Some large companies are launching internal podcasts as a way to maintain effective communication with multiple employees.

Most companies have all office staff working remotely and have implemented the following measures for those in the field:

  • All employees who travel are in single occupancy hotel rooms
  • Hotels are rented out weekly to prevent the risk of someone else staying in the room over the weekend.
  • Disinfecting supplies for tools and equipment on all job sites
  • Tools are no longer shared.
  • All in-person meetings are held via video or canceled.
  • Business travel is on hold.
  • Personal travel is strongly discouraged. Anyone with symptoms can't return to work for two weeks.
  • Not shaking hands
  • Restricted carpooling
  • Safety meetings are conducted using social distancing measures.

Some companies are allowing employees to borrow against future PTO if they need to take time off for illness or childcare. Others are offering additional PTO for emergency relief.

In the event of a shutdown, some companies are prepared to use PTO, and then possibly prepay employees and recoup the money with heavier work schedules later in the year. To date, we have not seen a total shutdown of construction activities in any region.

Many businesses are using this as an opportunity to strengthen their culture, teams, and communication. It's encouraging to see people coming together and supporting one another during this challenging time.

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