The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically affected how all of us live, work, communicate, socialize. It's perhaps the first time in all our lifetimes that we are facing a situation like this.
The effects of this pandemic have been devastating so far. Unfortunately, infections or new cases keep rising nationwide, and the death toll in the US keeps growing.
The economic uncertainty keeps mounting as well. A record number of small businesses are struggling to stay afloat and are closing down. Employees are filing for unemployment claims on a record basis.
However, this article isn't to talk about what you already know about the coronavirus. Despite all the challenges, things are not completely gloomy and hopeless. There's been progress on many fronts.
Healthcare workers are working excruciating long-hours to save lives. Other essential workers in law enforcement, retail, and transportation are ensuring that there is no significant disruption to those affected by the lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
The construction industry (trade groups, construction firms, contractors, and suppliers) is also doing its part to promote a sense of hope, support, positivity, and the much-needed assistance to those who are struggling.
Construction companies always respond to crises first. Whenever there's a natural disaster or calamity, they always show up first to help rebuild the area. So, as a whole, construction companies are not new in responding to situations like this.
It's been no different this time around. Across the country, companies are doing their part by making meaningful contributions to their local communities.
Here are 3 different ways they’ve been accomplishing this:
- Ensuring Protection of Their Employees
Putting your employees first and taking care of your employees is always a valuable investment. It's a sound strategy that works at all times — during a crisis like this one or when things are normal.
A few construction companies have taken this opportunity to ensure that their team of employees (construction crew members) is well protected.
Ryan Companies, a Minneapolis-based real estate developer and builder, participated in Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)'s "National Stand Down" event on April 20th.
Ryan Companies was one of the 500 contractors and 30,000 workers from across the country who participated in this event. The goal was to promote safety measures — social distancing at work, safer work environments, frequent cleaning of construction tools, educating their crews, etc.
Hal Mechanical, a Las Vegas-based HVAC company, also participated in the event by ensuring that all crew members on all their job sites and shops were educated and will follow the guidelines when working on job sites during the COVID-19 crisis.
Workplace safety is always a pressing matter for the construction industry. Still, during a crisis like this — it's important to emphasize and reinforce additional measures to protect employees working at these sites.
In many states, construction jobs are considered an essential service, which means construction workers are working long hours in dangerous conditions to ensure public safety.
Goettl Air Conditioning, a leading provider of HVAC systems in Southwest USA, is making sure that its 600 employees are safe both at work and in their own respective homes.
The company recently invested $1.5 million in providing and installing ultraviolet germicidal lights for the homes of all its employees. The UV lights drastically reduce indoor germs, bacteria, and is proven to kill certain virus strains.
- Providing Protective Equipment to Healthcare Workers
Everyone knows that healthcare workers are true heroes during this COVID-19 crisis. Healthcare workers in every part of the country are doing their very best, by working 12-20 hours shifts, and putting themselves in harm's way — to help those affected during this crisis.
Companies across the construction industry are ensuring that local healthcare facilities and hospital workers have the necessary protective equipment so that they can do their jobs safely.
Cleveland Construction learned of the imminent shortage of N95 masks (protective gear needed by healthcare workers). As soon as the company heard of the shortage, they scrambled to collect over 320 N95 masks and then donated them to Lake Health Medical Centre in Willoughby, Ohio.
Suffolk Construction, a Boston-based construction company, donated more than 1259 N95 masks to Boston's Mass General Brigham.
Kuharchik Construction, an Exeter PA-based electrical contracting company, emptied its entire inventory of more than 1000 N95 masks and about 100 3M 8511 respirators and donated all of it to nursing homes and healthcare facilities.
FieldWire, a field-management construction software provider, has set up a resource page called GiveMePPE encouraging more construction companies to donate N95 masks and other protective equipment to healthcare facilities across the country.
Their resource page allows healthcare facilities to request help with the right contact details. Construction companies can search for the hospitals closest to them and donate equipment.
Fieldwire has published a list of construction companies who have already stepped up to the plate and donated PPE to hospitals and healthcare facilities.
These donations are admirable. However, a few construction companies have decided to go beyond donating protective gear.
For example, Robins & Morton, a Birmingham Alabama-based construction firm, knew that Memorial Regional Hospital (Hollywood, Florida) would not be able to support the influx of patients who needed immediate help. So, they built strong & sturdy tents outside the hospital — which would provide an external testing and triage facility with 56 beds to handle the additional influx.
- Helping Their Local Communities
As a result of the crisis, many states have issued stay-at-home orders. This is a right and proven way to curb the spread of the virus.
However, the lockdowns have taken a significant toll on a few groups of people. Lots of people have lost their jobs and are unable to pay their bills. Senior citizens are not in a position to go to grocery stores or pharmacies to buy essential goods, fearing their own safety.
Some construction companies are stepping up to help those who are drastically affected by these lockdowns.
CBX Roofs, a Redding California-based roofing contractor, encouraged its fleet of workers to donate their time by delivering groceries to those who are stuck at home. Their team is delivering groceries every day of the week, and are not charging for delivery fees.
These examples highlight a few of the ways that the construction industry has been helping out and giving back during the COVID-19 crisis.
Construction companies, contractors, and suppliers from across the country are using this unexpected crisis to provide any help they can provide to their local communities.
We know there are many other examples across the country; these are just a few that we've been able to collect.
We hope that these stories will inspire others in the industry to also help in their community. We should all take time during this crisis to donate as much of our time, resources, or supplies as possible.