“How much?” is a common question in our world. It is asked countless times a day in our office or on a jobsite. Whether we are screening a subcontractor, evaluating a change on a jobsite, or discussing an upcoming project with a client, it inevitably has to be asked. With subcontractors and vendors, it is a straightforward discussion to address a current situation. When asked by a client or a prospect how much a project is going to cost, it has a lot more nuance.
As I write this, we are 40 days into a shutdown that is affecting this country in unprecedented ways. Public health and safety actions have required many retailers, restaurants, gyms, hotels and other service providers to close. In some of the states where we work, construction has been deemed essential, so projects have continued without interruption. Unfortunately, in other states, projects have been halted by the local government or by the client. We have left those jobsites clean, safe, and secure—ready to re-open when the time comes.
Social distancing has changed every aspect of our lives. Events have been canceled, work schedules adjusted, and the daily rhythm of life altered. So much has become virtual. Through it all, I am amazed at how quickly our team has adapted to remote work, rotating office schedules, new jobsite requirements and so many other changes to how our jobs used to function.
In the field, our superintendents, crews and subcontractors have been working together to make our jobsites safe. We are practicing social distancing on those jobsites where we are working in an enclosed space. Our projects have been equipped with custom wash stations at sites that do not already have sinks. The sites without running water are using water tanks that are gravity fed. We have hand sanitizer available, in those areas where we can find it.
In the office, we are working remotely and reducing the number of people in the office at any one time. Site visits and pre-bid meetings on site have been conducted remotely when applicable or in person with reduced head counts and in open spaces. We have more meetings on Microsoft Teams or Zoom. We continue to be active in bidding a great deal of projects for starts later in the year and are happy to help our clients as they prepare for their return to market.
For the community, we have donated the N95 masks we had in stock to a local health facility. Our employees are ordering produce from restaurant suppliers who have seen a sharp reduction in orders. Many of us are supporting our restaurant clients by ordering carryout at home and at work. There has even been a joke sharing email to help lift our spirits and keep us smiling.
While we are communicating with our partners, clients and employees across great distances the shared experience of confronting this virus has brought us all closer together. We applaud the work that is being done by first responders and those on the front lines who keep people fed, safe and secure. We are in this together; we will get through this and emerge stronger than ever.