Covid-19 has impacted every community across the country, but how do the new coronavirus restrictions affect home building?
The Department of Homeland Security has deemed housing a part of our nation’s “essential critical infrastructure workforce”.
The local authorities have always had strict guidelines for builders to abide by. Today, in a world impacted by Covid-19, these rules have been tightened up to protect everyone on the construction site and clients.
At Jenkins Design+ Build, we didn’t wait for the government to give us the word. Even before the “shelter in place” ordinance from the Covid-19 outbreak, we made it our number one priority to take all the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe, from employees to subcontractors to clients.
We recognize our responsibility to the community, which means preventing further spread of COVID-19. We have rolled out intensive training sessions and adapted our policies to be in line with the current climate, ensuring that we’re keeping everyone safe.
The Steps We're Taking
Construction companies have quickly ramped up their measures. Small and large building sites on commercial and domestic scales have been orchestrated with precision – mandatory social distancing, regular washing of hands, and the methodical scrubbing down of all of the surfaces are just a few things that Jenkins Design+ Build and other building companies are doing to keep everyone safe.
So, if the question you’ve been wondering is whether you can hire a building contractor to take on your project, the answer is yes. Building companies during the Covid-19 breakout continue to operate, but with stricter measures in place.
It’s always important to do your research on any custom builder before hiring them, but now it’s even more important than ever. So if you’re moving forward with your build, there are a few things that you’ll need to keep in mind when looking for a building company that not only meets your requirements and standards but also takes extra precautions to keep health and safety first.
- Vet the builder. Do they have longstanding partners? If the builders are good, it’s likely they work with subcontractors that they’ve had a long relationship with. Ask them about their safe building practices.
- Take more time. The pre Covid-19 era was a time when everything was rushed. This included the pre-construction phase, mostly because clients are naturally excited about their project. The good news is everything in this stage can be done remotely from the initial designing right through to finalizing budgets. This is a great time to slow down a little bit and review and finalize things, which of course will reduce the chances of mistakes or change orders down the line.
- What are builders doing to stop the spread of coronavirus? A good home builder will always ensure that the right social distancing practices are taking place. For example, it will allow only one team on the site at a time – if the windows are being installed, the laying of plumbing will have to wait. We understand that this slows down the process, and it may be frustrating at first, but a good builder will always advocate that prioritizing health and safety is the only way to go.
- Watch out for fly-by-night builders. They’re thankfully few and far between, but you still need to be vigilant, especially during times when people are more vulnerable and could be easier targets. This is why it’s absolutely imperative that if you do happen to come across such people, whether it’s an individual contractor or a company, you need to report them.
- Consider how the builder operates. You’ll probably notice that builders are trying to do as much as they possibly can off-site. Everything considered to be non-essential from staff to tasks has been temporarily stopped. The regular face-to-face meetings that previously took place have moved online to meeting platforms like Zoom.
Although we may have closed our physical office doors to walk-in traffic, we are still working with our clients through virtual meetings, which can be set up by appointment. Our dedication to communication hasn’t waned – the only thing that’s different now is that we often meet virtually instead of face to face.
And while most of our team has moved to working remotely along with the rest of the world, we do have a small skeleton crew working hard behind the scenes (and behind closed doors) to receive deliveries and take calls to ensure that business can continue and our clients’ needs are met.
The Greater Austin Home Builders Association lists all the Covid-19 building safety best practices on their site, and our job sites are following each of those safety protocols. In some cases, we have made the decision to temporarily slow down or even shut down sites for employee and client safety, but at the same time, progress is moving forward. These decisions were based on HBA guidance and what we consider to be the best and safest practice.
As well as looking out for our own employees and clients, we are in constant contact with our trade partners to ensure that everyone on their teams are fit, healthy and doing well. In addition to this, we are also advising them on ways that they can keep their businesses operating and making health, safety, and wellness their priority.
If you’ve been dreaming of your new build for a while and you’re worried that your plans may be put on hold, don’t worry. This is the perfect time to get in touch to discuss your project visions because we have more time to work through the planning and design phases to bring your project to reality.
If you’d like to learn more about what’s going on within the industry and with our projects, check out our social media pages.