Back to business: 3 tips on restarting your construction operations
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
When the construction industry started the year 2020, most contractors were confident about the industry’s future. Total construction spend was actually trending towards the positive and was projected to continue throughout the year.
A few weeks into the year, however, the COVID-19 crisis swept the nation and the world at large. The severity of this unprecedented situation led world governments to close the economy, with only the companies deemed essential continuing operations.
Five months since the first recorded case in the United States, several states have loosened their lockdown measures and started allowing businesses to reopen, including construction sites. As a construction business owner, you need to prepare for several things to ensure that your construction operations are COVID-ready.
The global pandemic is still very much present as any successful vaccine or cure is yet to be introduced. In order to adapt to the changing industry environment, you need to plan strategically and have a solid foundation for your business decisions.
Here are some tips on how to prepare your construction business for operations during the current COVID-19 crisis.
1. Base your strategy on reliable COVID-19 information
Before you start your general strategy for reopening your construction business, you should first ensure that you have a solid foundation of COVID-19 information which you can base your decisions on. The internet hosts a plethora of COVID-19 information but you should trust only those that come from reputable sources.
One of the best sources for COVID-19 information is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which has dedicated pages for business owners looking to restart operations. For construction-specific resources, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has also prepared a set of guidelines on how to make your work sites COVID-ready.
2. Implementing safety measures in the office and on the worksite
Improving your safety protocols should be one of the first things you do before reopening. According to the CDC, there should be at least six feet of space between employees in offices and on construction sites. You should pay particular attention to your site layout and how employees, subcontractors, and clients enter and exit the site. You want to avoid the buildup of people as much as possible.
Take advantage of new construction technology to improve site safety and efficiency on the worksite. Automating administrative tasks such as accounting and lien management through the cloud can let you enable remote work setups and lessen the need to go to the office. If you have the resources, you may also invest in drone tech to perform inspections without being on the site. There are also project collaboration tools that let you plan projects without meeting in-person.
3. Prioritize the health and safety of employees
Your employees have an important role in the reopening of your business operations. It is crucial that you incorporate their feedback into your reopening strategy and prioritize their health and safety. Depending on your needs, you may allow certain employees to continue working from home to reduce the number of people in the office and on the worksite.
For your employees on the construction sites, you may implement staggered shift schedules to ensure that only a certain number of people are present at any given time. You may also adjust when construction workers take their breaks so fewer workers use common areas such as break rooms and cafeterias.
Finally, communication is key to the effective implementation of COVID-19 safety measures. Ensure that your message is understood by your employees by getting their feedback and answering their questions as clearly as possible.
Preparing for the continuation of your business operations during the COVID-19 crisis is not a simple restart. With the changing of the business environment and the behavior of employees and clients, it is time to adapt your business strategy and embrace innovations that can let you outmaneuver the challenges of this crisis.
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