Clients may be concerned about scheduling new construction projects because of the current climate, but the reality is that construction companies are working more diligently than ever to provide high-quality work. This is especially true for large-scale projects working on transportation infrastructure that helps move supplies and critical workers that are necessary during this time.
The spread of COVID-19 has lead to widespread stay-at-home orders that encourage social distancing and the closing of non-essential businesses. While this has had a dampening effect on the economy, construction companies have been able to continue operating as construction has been deemed an essential business. Commercial tile and stone companies, such ourselves here at Artelye, are staying busy and serving our clients both large and small without any problems.
Commercial construction in Washington D.C. and the surrounding area has continued to prosper during this time. Large construction projects such as the building of the new concourse at the Reagan National Airport continue ahead full steam while maintaining strict sanitation and distancing protocols to protect their workers. We’ll go over how the construction industry has been affected by COVID-19 and how companies have been able to continue to provide jobs and keep the different construction trades busy.
Construction In The United States
Construction is a major industry in the United States, employing 7.6 Americans (5% of the overall workforce). Even though many states and cities have announced stay-at-home orders closing non-essential businesses, the federal government has designated construction to be an essential business. This has allowed construction to continue unabated in most of the US as crews continue to show up and perform their work under strict safety protocols.
Construction certainly is an essential industry in the United States, as it provides jobs to many Americans during a period of high unemployment. In fact, more than 22 million have been forced to file for unemployment in the time since President Trump declared a national emergency a little over a month ago. Meanwhile, construction has continued to employ cabinetry workers, countertop manufacturers, tile installers, finishers, builders, and other similar-type workers since this pandemic first began.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has stated that there is low risk of transmission for the coronavirus for people employed outside of the healthcare sector. Because of the strict hygienic and distancing protocols that construction workers maintain, crews have been able to continue operating with little spread of the virus.
Construction In D.C.
While some states such as Pennsylvania and Vermont have temporarily suspended non-emergency construction work, construction in the District of Columbia has been particularly unaffected by the coronavirus. Officials in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia have designated both commercial and private construction companies as essential alongside businesses such as hospitals and grocery stores. Because construction workers have an excellent track record of following strict safety protocols, they have been able to easily incorporate social distancing and sanitizing guidelines for their workers.
Protocols include requiring workers to maintain a distance of six feet from other workers as well as installing hand-washing or hand-sanitizing stations. Many construction sites have increased protocols for wiping down and sanitizing port-a-johns as well. Artelye has been taking special precautions and practicing social distancing in order to protect their workers while continuing to service their clients.
Construction Projects Moving Forward
Quite a few construction projects in the larger D.C. area have showed no signs of slowing down. Large construction projects such as the building of a new concourse at the Reagan National Airport have even been accelerated. Because of the reduction in travelers at the airport, construction workers have been able to increase their work time. This is especially handy to help the crews maintain strict distancing with smaller crews in tighter spots. Thanks to the construction crews working diligently to get the job done, the new concourse is scheduled to open earlier than expected next year.
The Silver Line of the Metro is another large construction project that has continued ahead. A reduction in Metro riders have been a boon to the construction crews working on the second phase of the Silver Line in Reston, VA. The team building this phase of the Silver Line might even be able to shave months off of their project provided they get approval to close the Wiehle Avenue Reston east station. This extra time to work would allow them to tie the first and second segments of the line together. Low ridership has ensured that an agreement is incredibly close to being reached.
Construction crews working on Metro Station platforms for Purple Line in both Maryland and Virginia are also continuing their labor unimpeded. Construction workers have been rebuilding sites such as the Dunn Loring-Merrifield Metro station in Virginia while implementing plastic stations for hand- and face-washing. Crews have also continued work removing asbestos from school buildings in the District of Columbia.
Postponing these projects would have incredibly negative financial consequences for D.C., Maryland, and Virginia governments, as it would derail schedules made years in advance and cause massive delay costs. By accelerating their timetables rather than postponing work, construction crews are able to curb the economic crisis while continuing to make a living.
How Artelye Is Responding
As a leading commercial tile and granite countertop installation company, Artelye has been staying busy and serving their large commercial clients without any problems or delays. It’s business as usual for our team. We have been taking the proper distancing and sanitation precautions while continuing to serve our loyal customers during this period of uncertainty. The only real change in our workflow has been our temporary closure of our showroom on Saturdays, but aside from that, we haven’t slowed down at all!
Whether it’s a large construction project or a small one, Artelye is keeping their workers busy and continuing to move forward. Our commercial division on the granite countertops and tile installation are implementing policies such as staying 6 feet apart and using hand-sanitizing dispensers so that they can continue to deliver their work on job sites without risk.