COVID-19 Weekly Updates

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There's a lot happening around the COVID-19 pandemic, and it seems to be changing constantly. Each week, Brian Poage—one of our resident industry experts with more than 10 years of experience in construction—hosted a quick chat with some of the latest industry news and updates, what it means for your business, and tips for staying ahead.

Wednesday, June 10

This week’s guest: Shandon Harbour, President & CEO at Associated Builders and Contractors, San Diego Chapter

Shandon's insights:

  • Continue to build relationships with people and companies, even if they have different ideologies as you
  • Construction as an industry can come together and make change
  • In moments of crisis, you realize what’s really important
  • Communication through COVID-19 has been accelerated and improved
  • Maintain the over-communication of information to stay prepared
  • Continue to explore how technology can make you more efficient and effective
  • Technology can help you pull data together
  • Find different technologies for different workflows that can work together

Key takeaway: Throughout all this, stay positive and find the silver linings—don’t be afraid to lean into technology to improve your processes and keep communication going across all levels. When the construction industry comes together, we can accomplish powerful things.

Additional resources

ABC Coronavirus Update Page, ABC Coronavirus Update Page, ABC Coronavirus Update Page, Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) Page, The Increased Importance of Daily Reporting During COVID-19, Coronavirus and Construction Payments: Expecting the Unexpected, Raken COVID-19 Resource Page

Thursday, May 21

This week’s guest: Jose Lopez, Senior Project Manager at Kyne Construction

Jose's insights:

  • Field crews are continuing to adjust to new safety protocols like masks and distancing
  • Tools like Raken are helping improve communication to the field
  • COVID-19 has forced companies to use more tech, which will continue to improve processes even after this
  • Construction companies should keep exploring what they can do with their existing software tech tools and any new ones that can help them adapt
  • Communication and collaboration have increased with the adoption of remote tech
  • Developing streamlined ways to communicate has become the new normal to keep everyone in the loop
  • Interactions and meetings have become more important and more meaningful than before
  • Trust the people you hired and continue to support them through this pandemic
  • If an employee isn’t performing to your expected standard, reach out to see how you can empower them with better technology or processes
  • The construction industry should continue to share tools and knowledge of what works, we’re in this together

Key takeaway: Companies are still adjusting, but overall collaboration and communication is improving between the office and field—and technology helps play a big role in that. You’re invested in your employees, so reach out to make sure they’re empowered with the right tools they need to improve workflows and stay compliant through all this.

Additional resources

Communicating Construction Delays With the Office, Different but Not Idle: General Contractor Tech Strategies During the COVID-19 Crisis, Raken COVID-19 Resource Page

Friday, May 15

This week’s guest: Aviram Barfi, Business Development Manager at Egnyte

Aviram's insights:

  • Keeping your team on the latest designs and drafts impacts your productivity
  • More people are accessing documents and files from desktop and apps instead of jobsites during this time
  • The construction industry is shifting to embrace working remotely
  • There’s been an increase in file uploads as more companies move to protect themselves and document
  • Use file-sharing services to help you collaborate from afar and eliminate the need to be physically together
  • Project management will likely move to more remote work
  • Communication is improving while construction embraces remote work
  • The companies that have already adopted technology are ahead and will bounce back faster
  • Review your digital tools yearly to make sure your company is continuously evolving workflows to improve them
  • Reach out to your vendors and peers to find out what’s working best in the industry

Key takeaway: While we continue to navigate what will be the “new normal”, the companies who are embracing technology and improving their workflows to support collaboration from a distance will be the most prepared. Construction technology is rapidly changing, so constantly evaluate how you can make your processes more efficient.

Additional resources

Egnyte Cloud File Storage, File Sharing for Remote Workers Without the Cost and Complexity of VPN, Feature Insights Report, Raken COVID-19 Resource Page

Tuesday, May 5

This week’s guest: Alex Dunn, Director of Demand Generation at Levelset

Alex's insights:

  • Payment documentation is critical right now
  • File your proper notices and provide visibility of what work you’ll do/be owed for
  • Lien claims are an indicator that someone is owed money and hasn’t been paid
  • Look up your state’s deadline for lien claims and file in time to ensure you don’t lose your right to get paid
  • Check your contracts and make sure you understand all the language in them
  • Litigation is inevitable, whoever has most and best documentation is likely to win
  • Collecting payments reduces your staff’s efficiency and drains your resources
  • About 1 in 3 surveyed contractors finish projects on time and under budget
  • 50% of surveyed businesses are paid later than the contract agreement mandates
  • Streamlining and improving your payment process can mitigate time wasted
  • Protect yourself and your lien rights by filing notices and keeping communication open
  • Communicate with your GC and sign up for alerts to get notified of any payment problems early on

Key takeaway: As things begin to pick back up, there are four steps you can follow to protect and set your business up for proper payments: 1. Attend to your immediate logistic, communication, and documentation issue needs, 2. Protect your lien rights and file notices on time, 3. Monitor your general contract payment behavior, 4. Apply for stimulus loans

Additional resources

Levelset’s 2020 Construction Payment Report, Levelset’s 2019 Cash Flow Infographic, Coronavirus and Construction Cash Flow Resource Center, Raken COVID-19 Resource Page

Tuesday, April 28

This week's guests: Christian Claus, Chief Marketing Officer at HoloBuilder and Brittany Olsson, Senior Manager of Marketing Programs at Raken

Christian’s insights:

  • Create a digital progress record to maintain transparency on the jobsite
  • Use documentation to update crews as they arrive for staggered shifts
  • Find an effective way to communicate updates from the field to the office and owners without adding more people to the jobsite
  • Use virtual walkthroughs where one person walks and shows the jobsite
  • For closed jobsites, use photo and video for a “before” record and insurance proof
  • Leverage documentation to start pre-planning the opening of your closed sites
  • Technology can help you navigate distancing measures that may become more permanent

Key takeaway: Video documentation can help you increase communication and keep your field crews safe from unnecessary visitors. There will likely be more safety and documentation protocols in the new reality after COVID-19, and implementing technology now will help you get ahead and find new solutions for staying compliant.

Additional resources

HoloBuilder's Construction Progress Management Tool, Different but Not Idle: General Contractor Tech Strategies During the COVID-19 Crisis, Raken COVID-19 Resource Page, eBook: Feature Insights Report

Thursday, April 23

This week's guest: Todd Follis, VP of Pre-Construction Planning at JW Danforth

Todd's insights:

  • Lead with confidence in what you’re supposed to be doing and how
  • Find the best way to communicate with the field to help manage customer expectations
  • Consistently update your crews with the latest info they need to stay compliant
  • Implement a daily survey to make sure they’re answering the right questions
  • Consider the impact that compliance has on productivity and communicate that to owners
  • Start looking at how you document and communicate now
  • Assess your remote technology and communication methods and see what’s worked
  • Keep the efficiency of the tools that have worked during this time
  • Consider what the expected site conditions should be even after this is over

Key takeaway: Empower your field crews and make sure they have everything they need to stay compliant and communicate updates to the office. Use this time to look at the technologies that are working for you and keep the efficient ones even after this is over.

Additional resources

COVID-19 Daily Survey Questions, Communicating Construction Delays With the Office, Raken COVID-19 Resource Page

Thursday, April 16

This week's guest: Andy Berg, Executive Director at NECA - San Diego

Andy's insights:

  • Keep your jobsites clean, dedicate one person to do that each day
  • Encourage workers to limit exposures (example: bring lunch from home)
  • Communicate the same way you did before—early, often, and in writing
  • Get sign-offs from GCs in writing and require a response for emails
  • Document daily and early enough to the right people
  • Join an association for support to avoid costly mistakes

Key takeaway: The two biggest things you can do are keep up with jobsite safety protocols and document delays or cost impacts early and in writing. Keep constant communication with stakeholders and find an association who can help provide support and streamline updates for you.

Additional resources

Communicating Construction Delays With the Office, Understanding Contract Rights Related to Construction Impacts from the COVID-19 Pandemic, Guidelines for Construction Projects that Remain Operational, NECA Coronavirus Resource Center, Raken COVID-19 Resource Page

Wednesday, April 8

Today's news topic: Coronavirus Concerns Prompt Second Construction Union to Walk Off Massachusetts Jobs, Sheet Metal Workers Walked Off the Job in Philadelphia After Union Head Said CDC Guidelines Were Being Ignored

Steps you can take:

  • Clean portable bathrooms twice a day
  • Sanitize high traffic areas daily
  • Split shifts to space out crews
  • Ensure crews on-site practice social distancing
  • Increase number of toolbox talks given

Key takeaway: Implement measures provided by OSHA and the CDC and consider your employee sentiment and their perception of safety during this time. Over-communicate with your field crews and document any worker health and cleaning protocols taken on a daily basis.

Additional resources

Toolbox Talk: COVID-19 and Other Communicable Diseases, Toolbox Talk: Social Distancing for Protection, Safety Questions to Add to Your Daily Survey, OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

For more industry COVID-19 information, visit our dedicated resource page.