How subcontractors are tackling the challenges of running a job site in the age of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has created a new normal for our industry - worksites shutting down and picking back up again, shifts to schedules, project cancellations - we’re sure you’re seeing it all! One thing that’s certain is that we’re already adapting jobsites to COVID-19. After speaking with a few industry leaders here in California, we thought we’d help you get ahead by sharing a few of the challenges and potential solutions to running a job site in the age of COVID-19.
- Challenge: field personnel will likely be required to keep a 6-foot distance between each other.
- Solution: Create work schedules with more shifts, so you can have fewer people on-site at a given time without compromising progress. This should be more cost-effective than overtime. If you don’t have the flexibility to add more shifts, you might plan ahead and get approval for extending the schedule to accommodate the decrease in manpower. This is something that will make sense to get detailed about - you might even want to take out plans and map out the 6-foot buffer to see what’s possible.
- Challenge: Non-traditional shifts will create new work schedules and flows for field leaders.
- Solution: Field leaders will need to take the lead in proactive communication. Teams will need to develop better practices for logging and sharing what was completed in a given shift, and how, and when the next crew should pick up work. This is a time to favor going slow and overdoing it at first or else pay for the consequences of big mix-ups.
Field/ Office Disconnect
- Challenge: Office employees that are traditionally on site will be staying away and continuing to work from home.
- Solution: Same as above. Face to face collaborations and engagement have been the bread and butter of the construction industry. Teams will need to relearn how to engage with one another when they’re not able to be on the same project. Project managers will have to take the lead and not be afraid to be inefficient at first. We’re all learning together, here. Video communications [like Zoom, Facetime, etc] will be our friends. Make sure field leaders are in the loop and have those downloaded.
- Challenge: Tradespeople might not be able to share tools
- Solution: Given potential restrictions, you might have to rent extra power tools. The sooner you coordinate with the GC and /or owner discussing this impact with them, the better off you’ll be.
- Challenge: Tradespeople may need to have symptoms screened at the start of shifts.
- Solution: How can these processes be fast-tracked every morning? For instance, let’s say morning temperature taking becomes the new norm. How can you create a system of accountability that expedites the process so that you don’t have a line of workers waiting. Adding additional safety personnel or designated field leaders to coordinate this can help to streamline the process and comply with the GC. Whatever path you take, as always, the sooner you can communicate these additional costs to GC’s/owners, the better off you’ll be.
- Challenge: Supply chain interruptions might lead to tradespeople not having the materials they need where and when they need them.
- Solution: Reach out to vendors early so they have a chance to stock the products you need during this downtime. Sending your vendors a comprehensive list of required materials early will make sure they have a chance to get the right quantities in place and ready to go. This will also allow you to potentially lock in prices. Agora can help your teams do exactly this.
These are just a handful of strategies for how to adapt your job sites to deal with COVID-19. We’ll continue to share more over the coming days and weeks.