On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. Only a few days later on March 13, the President of the United States declared the American coronavirus outbreak a national emergency. In the ensuing days and months, life and business in America and around the world changed as nations recalibrated economies, companies, industries, educational institutions, and lifestyles to cope with the invisible threat of COVID-19. Social distancing, self-quarantine, sheltering in place, massive layoffs, and remote work became the new normal.
With most of the United States under lockdown, only essential businesses and activities were permitted. The construction industry, by and large, was deemed essential in most states. Designation as “essential” meant continued operations but with some significant alterations in business practices to ensure worker, vendor, and client safety.
One construction industry analyst described the situation as requiring “sweeping changes” that might be long-term. “In the span of two months, the coronavirus crisis has demanded sweeping changes from the US construction industry, and experts say many of them will remain in place even after the outbreak recedes. As contractors prepare to return to work on sites that have been shut down by shelter-in-place initiatives, they will face an industry that has been drastically changed by both the public health and economic effects of the pandemic.”
Industry analysts recognize eight ways COVID-19 is re-shaping the construction industry for the near future and beyond.
- Job sites will be cleaner and safer.
- Through the use of technology, social distancing will be the norm.
- Projects will take longer to complete.
- Telework will become more common.
- Union influence will grow.
- Demand for project types will change from hospitality, retail, and entertainment to healthcare and healthcare-related manufacturing.
- Supply chains will recalibrate in an effort to avoid anticipated disruptions.
- Modular adoption (offsite construction) will increase.
Making the Work Environment Safer
Contractors across the US are implementing practical changes in their daily operations. Tighter safety measures are designed to promote and preserve the health of the client and the crew.
The construction industry is working diligently to maintain the trust and confidence of clients during and after the pandemic. Here are some of the safety measures the industry is implementing in order to provide safe construction services to the client.
1. Implementing CDC guidelines across the board
Construction companies are instructing employees to follow CDC guidelines while on the job. Across the entire industry, service and supply companies are also adopting and following CDC guidelines and safe practices.
2. Practicing on the job social distancing
Employee travel is limited to one person per vehicle. The vehicles are sanitized at least twice daily. Daily team meetings in the mornings or afternoons are being suspended until further notice. Staggered start times limit group contact. Where possible, travel is limited to one person per vehicle.
Virtual project management and job supervision is maintaining and even improving job performance and quality control. Companies are utilizing technologies such as Zoom for video meetings with employees, vendors, subcontractors, and clients.
3. Improving employee hygiene
Crews are using hand-sanitizer, wearing face masks, and are not sharing tools. Where possible, crew sizes are intentionally lean. Symptomatic crew members are sent home or are staying at home under self-quarantine.
4. Adjusting the office and sales staff work environment
On the sales front, where customer contact most often occurs, companies are keeping the experience safe yet still personal. New practices include:
- Social distancing while engaged in onsite consultations with clients
- Face masks and gloves
- Paperless documents for estimates, invoices, site plans, and general correspondence
- Remote work for office staff, engineers, architects, and project managers
- Outsourcing permitting, licensing, notifications, and renewals through companies like Contractors Reporting Services in Tampa. Other services that can be outsourced are on the company website.
The construction industry, including Contractors Reporting Services, is essential and striving for safety. Contractors Reporting Services in Tampa fits in well with the policies and procedures of companies seeking to be efficient and safe. Clients can have every confidence that employees and staff are following CDC guidelines and recommendations. Social distancing, workforce screening, paperless documents, and other measures have been implemented to preserve and promote the safety of clients.
For more information about Florida contractor license requirements, visit the Contractors Reporting Services website at activatemylicense.com. Contact the office by phone at (813) 932-5244.