UPDATED: Sunday, April 5, 7:26 pm CDT
King County, Wash., addresses homelessness and COVID-19 with rapid-response site conversions (BD+C) - April 5
"The county is adding 2,500 beds within a dozen Assessment & Recovery Centers that DLR Group helped to design."
Principia report tracks impact on lumber and building materials (BD+C) - April 5
"Most dealers and distributors of lumber and residential building products are still operating, although with some restrictions on supplies and services."
Architecture firms churn out protective face shields using their 3D printers (BD+C) - April 5
"KPF, BIG, bKL, edg, Höweler + Yoon, Handel Architects, Grimshaw, Terreform One, Weiss Manfredi, and Brooks+Scarpa among the firms making protective gear for front-line medical personnel."
New Small Business Administration loan guidance appears to exclude many construction firms that employ fewer than 500 people (AGC) - April 5
"The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, called on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to revise its eligibility guidelines for its new Paycheck Protection Program to make clear that any firm that employs 500 or fewer people to qualify, regardless of the average annual receipts size standard used for construction."
NFPA develops guidance to address fire and life safety challenges in temporary and traditional health care facilities (NFPA) - April 3
"With an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients in communities nationwide, health care locations are being modified to provide more beds, existing buildings are being repurposed, and temporary structures are being put into service to meet impending demands. In response, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created two immediate resources to help health care engineers, designers, and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) provide the safest levels of fire and life safety possible as these unprecedented circumstances continue to evolve and emerge."
AIA task force seeks designs of COVID-19 alternative care sites (AIA) - April 3
"An American Institute of Architects (AIA) task force is asking architects, designers, engineers and facility owners around the globe to provide design information on COVID-19 alternative healthcare sites for a new online resource launching today. AIA’s task force has created the online tool to facilitate information sharing and the development of best practices for responding to COVID-19 and future pandemics."
Opinoin: Cities will survive the pandemic (FXCollaborative) - April 3
"Density may make it easier for the virus to spread, but let’s not forget that cities are in many ways the heart of society, and a springboard of big ideas, inventions, art, and culture."
Kogniz Health launches AI-based fever detection cameras for crowds to help limit coronavirus spread (Kogniz Health) - April 3
System continuously scans crowds for fever as they enter facilities to locate and isolate risks.
COVID-19 cuts nonresidential construction employment in March (ABC) - April 2
The construction unemployment rate was 6.9% in March, up 1.7 percentage points from the same time one year ago.
27% of construction firms report layoffs amid COVID-19 outbreak, 59% are experiencing project delays (AGC) - April 3
"The fast-worsening COVID-19 pandemic has triggered layoffs at more than a quarter of construction firms responding to an online survey released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The finding, based on responses from earlier this week, contrasts with the government’s monthly employment report for March, which found that construction employment declined by 29,000 as of mid-March."
Number of confirmed delayed projects reaches 2,342 in the U.S., 1,195 in Canada (ConstructConnect)
ConstructConnect's Delayed Project Tracker is updated daily.
View the report
Katerra CEO's salary cut to $0 amid layoffs, operation shutdowns (Construction Dive) - April 3
"'As parts of our business shut down [due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic] we unfortunately need to make some reductions in personnel through layoffs and furloughs,' Katerra CEO Michael Marks told Construction Dive in a written statement on April 2."
WeWork Asks Landlords to Help It Cut Its Rent Bill by Up to 30% (Bloomberg) - April 2
"WeWork is in discussions with its biggest landlords globally as the co-working giant aims to slash as much as 30% from its copious load of rent liabilities, according to people with knowledge of the talks. WeWork Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani has been contacting the largest owners of buildings in which the New York-based company is a tenant, and pitching solutions including revenue-sharing agreements, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks are private."
Some Investors Are Still Going Ahead with MOB Acquisitions, Seen as a “Defensive Play” (National Real Estate Investor) - April 2
"In spite of near-term disruptions to some tenants from the current pandemic, MOBs are viewed as a safe bet in an uncertain environment."
Preventing the Pending Collapse of the Real Estate Market (Commercial Observer) - April 2
"This is nothing like 2008. This is not the result of high leverage, risky loans. This is affecting the entire real estate market, including sectors that have historically been considered the most recession resistant. Today, even the safest investment isn’t safe if people across all sectors can’t pay their rent. We are not talking about office or hotel properties, we are talking about all classes, most importantly multifamily. If nobody can pay their rent, there can’t be a market."
Open-Plan Offices and Shared Spaces Were the “Disruptors” of the Decade. Then a Virus Arrived. (National Real Estate Investor) - April 2
"Open-plan offices, less space per employee and co-working solutions were among the biggest trends of 2010s. Are they about to go away?"
CannonDesign initiates industry coalition to make masks for healthcare providers (BD+C) - April 2
"The team is ideating a better do-it-yourself mask that will be able to be produced efficiently to help meet the urgent need. Initial partners include SUNY Buffalo, materialsIn, Oxford Pennant, Stitch Buffalo, and The Factory Buffalo. The toymaker Fisher Price is also supporting the initiative."
HMC Architects using 3D Printers to make face shields for healthcare workers (BD+C) - April 2
"HMC Architects is among the latest design brands to manufacture face shields for healthcare workers in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Using the Columbia University Library Studios information as a guide, the design firm is applying its fabrication capabilities and Ultimaker 3D printers to manufacture PPE face shields and make them available to hospitals and clinics in its communities."
The COVID-19 Economic Shutdown is Already Hitting Multifamily Rents (National Real Estate Investor) - April 2
"The average rents on apartments are already dropping, as the U.S. economy grinds to a halt and millions of workers have lost their jobs, been furloughed or have been asked to stay home to fight the rapid spread of COVID-19."
As virus spreads across North America, software providers step up with cost-free offerings (BD+C) - April 2
"The goal is to keep construction projects moving forward at a time when jobs are being postponed or canceled."
SBA and Treasury begin effort to distribute $349 billion in emergency small business capital (NECA) - April 2
The new loan program will help small businesses with their payroll and other business operating expenses.
Informed by its latest Crane Index, Rider Levett Bucknall anticipates the effect of coronavirus on the construction industry (Rider Levett Bucknall) - April 2
While total crane count holds steady, turbulent economic conditions indicate a recession-based drop in construction costs.
How is the coronavirus outbreak impacting your firm's projects? (BD+C) - April 2
Please take BD+C's three-minute poll on the AEC business impacts from the coronavirus outbreak.
Take the poll
Procore will provide free access to its software to support COVID-19 construction projects (Procore) - April 2
"The construction industry is playing a critical role in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the growing need for additional healthcare and manufacturing facilities. Current Procore customers working on qualifying COVID-19 emergency relief projects are eligible for additional Procore platform access and support, which can be run through their existing Procore
account, at no additional cost."
TLC’s Michael Sheerin offers guidance on ventilation in COVID-19 healthcare settings (BD+C) - April 1
"Michael Sheerin, PE, CEO of TLC Engineering Solutions, chairs the ASHRAE Standard 170 committee, which covers the ventilation of healthcare facilities. A 25-plus-year veteran of designing mechanical systems for healthcare, Sheerin and colleagues at ASHRAE, ASHE, and TLC have created a PDF document (updated almost daily) to advise design, engineering, and construction professionals as to the nuances of ventilation for facilities where COVID-19 patients are being treated."
Co-Living Providers Feeling Short-Term Pain, But Still Confident In Sector's Future (Bisnow) - April 1
"Co-living providers like Common and Quarters have been expanding rapidly across the U.S., betting on the idea that people want to live in apartments with multiple roommates and large socializing spaces. These co-living companies now must navigate a pandemic that is forcing people to practice social distancing and an economic crisis that is leaving millions unemployed, challenging their business models and their growth prospects."
The heart of resilient leadership: Responding to COVID-19 (Deloitte Insights) - April 1
"Five fundamental qualities of resilient leadership distinguish successful CEOs as they guide their enterprises through the COVID-19 crisis. Learn specific steps that can help blunt the crisis’s impact—and enable your organization to emerge stronger."
Opinion: What can we learn from the coronavirus pandemic? (Jerry Yudelson) - April 1
"What have we learned so far from the coronavirus pandemic? It will soon end, soon be in the rear-view mirror, but we can still take lessons learned as directions for going forward. First, as individuals, we’ve already learned that can get by with much less than we are used to. Maybe this crisis might be a wake-up call to simplify our lives, to focus on what really matters, which will strengthen our ability to respond in the future."
FMI video: How to plan for uncertain times (FMI) - April 1
"One of the challenges we see when times are very uncertain is that managers fall into one of two camps most often in regards to decision making. Either it's decision paralysis on the one hand, or gut instinct on the other," says Jay Bowman, FMI's Managing Director of Research & Analytics in this new video.
Results from AIASF's COVID-19 Survey (AIASF) - April 1
"Broadly speaking the survey results showed that many businesses are facing similar challenges, including projects put on hold or cancelled, staffing changes, event cancellations, and the challenges in transitioning into working remotely. Firms projected the number of weeks they could sustain their regular business activity before having to make major changes in staffing."
Converting alternate sites to patient space options (ASHE) - April 1
A new ASHE resource page compiles guidance to help hospitals in the effort to increase space capacity. It highlights work from The Center for Health Design on connecting hotels and hospitals, USACE guidance on helping local governments address surges, and a concept study on using hotels for patient space. The resource page will be updated as new information is made available.
Three reasons you should keep sewing face masks (as long as you follow simple best practices) (CannonDesign) - April 1
Here are three reasons to encourage sewists coast to coast to keep their foot on the pedal.
NFPA offers resources for conducting remote video inspections (RVI) when access to buildings is limited (NFPA) - April 1
"As code officials, enforcers, and inspectors work to ensure building safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created a fact sheet that provides guidance on how to conduct a remote video inspection (RVI), enabling one or more parties to remotely perform an inspection of a building or building component. RVI is currently in use in select jurisdictions across the U.S., although no formal standard governs its use. These jurisdictions often utilize everyday smartphone technologies to facilitate the inspection."
Download the fact sheet on RVI
On-demand webinar: When Disaster Strikes How Do AIA Contract Documents Address COVID 19 Issues - April 1
With a focus on two specific AIA contract documents—A201®-2017, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction and the B101™-2017, Owner/Architect Agreement—the webinar also explores how AIA contracts can address project delays, extensions, suspension, termination, payment and dispute resolution. The webinar was recorded March 27 and had over 2,000 participants. Additional information regarding how AIA contract documents can address project disruptions resulting from COVID-19 are available on the AIA Contract Documents website: https://www.aiacontracts.org/articles/6281746-how-aia-contracts-address-...
February’s construction spending decline indicates what’s to come (ABC) - April 1
Private nonresidential spending declined 2% on a monthly basis and is down 0.7% compared to February 2019.
Webinar (Tuesday, April 7, 12 p.m. ET): Contending with COVID-19 Challenges on Health Facility, System and State Levels (Array) - April 1
Join experts from Array Advisors, Array Analytics, and Array Architects for a live webinar to learn actionable strategies to increase capacity and improve throughout at the health facility, system or state/county levels.
Steel industry groups urge Congress to include infrastructure in next stimulus bill (AISI) - April 1
"Five major steel industry groups today strongly urged Congress to include significant infrastructure investment in the next phase of COVID-19 stimulus legislation to provide a clear path toward our nation’s recovery. 'American businesses will not likely feel the full economic impact of COVID-19 until later this year, as social distancing and shelter-in-place measures undoubtedly save lives but continue to slow economic activity in the manufacturing and construction sectors' the group said in a letter."
How Architects and Designers Can Respond to COVID-19 (Common Edge) - March 31
"In times of crisis, it is human nature to want to help. Where can designers be most effective? How do we put our skills to use in the right context, at the right time? COVID-19 is a medical crisis, certainly, but it’s also a psychological, economic, and logistical crisis. Without a vaccine on the immediate horizon, with no initial herd immunity, our primary method of stemming the flow of destruction is a spatial response: social distancing and quarantine. Surely the design community has something to contribute here, right?"
February rise in construction outlays contrasts with pandemic-driven collapse in March as owners, government orders shut down projects (AGC) - March 31
Survey finds contractors face shortages of materials and workers, delivery delays and cancellations.
Green cleaning and the coronavirus (Paladino) - April 1
If your cleaning teams use bleach to disinfect buildings from Coronavirus, will you put your LEED certification at risk?
U.S. EPA Issues Enforcement Policy for Noncompliance Resultant from COVID-19 Pandemic (AGC) - April 1
"On Mar. 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued a new, temporary enforcement discretion policy for certain noncompliance events that can be documented and tied to the COVID-19 epidemic. U.S. EPA has emphasized that this new policy is not a "license to pollute."
Seven CRE Professionals Offer Their Takes on Work and Life While Sheltering in Place (National Real Estate Investor) - March 31
"So how are commercial real estate professionals staying productive and staying sane while adjusting to the country’s new lifestyle?"
Massachusetts Building Trades Council votes unanimously to call for a statewide suspension of all regular activity at construction sites in Massachusetts (MBTC) - March 31
"Today, the Executive Board of the 75,000 member Massachusetts Building Trades Council voted unanimously to call on Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker to declare a statewide suspension of all regular activity at construction sites in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts beginning Friday April 3rd and continuing through April 30th.
The vote was unanimous among the statewide council, including among Local unions representing workers from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. The council is advocating that the only work the government should permit to move forward should be emergency and certain essential work. That emergency and essential work includes:
• Emergency utility, road or building work, such as gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes
• New utility connections to occupied buildings
• Mandated building or utility work
• Work at public health facilities, healthcare facilities, shelters, including temporary shelters and other facilities that support vulnerable populations
• Work which ensures the reliability of the transportation network, and
• Other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable."
Array Advisors Projects Massive Shortage of Critical Care Physicians Due to COVID-19 (Array Advisors) - March 31
"At the national scale, the U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of over 4,000 critical care physicians due to COVID-19, according to new model from Array Advisors. The model projects the net demand for critical care physicians in each state as a result of COVID-19, accounting for both the projected demand for ICU beds and the potential reduction in providers due to infection of the healthcare workforce."
As cities scramble for hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients, Leo A Daly offers a hotel-to-hospital solution (BD+C) - March 31
"Leo A Daly is currently negotiating with several hoteliers about converting large portfolios of hotels into healthcare facilities that follow the firm’s Hotel2Hospital prototype, which would conform with design guidelines released last week to state governments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which relax some of the hospital safety standards."
Has COVID-19 spelled the death knell for open-plan offices? (BD+C) - March 31
"The novel coronavirus may have claimed yet another victim—the open-plan office. 'Open plan,' which is used in about 70% of U.S. office workplaces, has been under scrutiny for a number of reasons: employee privacy, noise and visual distractions, work interruption, negative impact on workflow, just as it has its advocates for similar reasons: greater employee collaboration, hipper work environment, etc."
Webinar today (March 31, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET): Legal Issues in the Electrical Contracting Industry Related to COVID-19 (NECA) - March 31
"NECA’s General Counsel, Jef Fagan, and the NECA team at Faegre Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP will provide valuable insight to NECA’s Chapters and Members on general legal compliance and best practices related to the Coronavirus pandemic. The presentation will provide a general update and overview of a contractor’s obligations and entitlements under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act and the Care Act."
AGC: Stimulus aid could cause confusion for construction firms (AGC) - March 30
In its recent analysis of the CARES Act, AGC officials released guidance for its members: "AGC is concerned that there will be confusion among the construction industry because there will be two different regimes of rules for calculating if a construction firm has fewer than 500 employees: one for the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave mandates as guided by the Fair Labor Standards Act; and the other for this new small business loan program under the federal Small Business Act and regulations."
Learning from covid-19: Campuses are poised to help students be happier (GBBN) - March 30
Overcoming isolation isn’t just about the technological face to face, it is about finding meaningful connection and “togetherness”.
COVID-19 innovation: Setting parameters for hotel-to-hospital conversions (tvsdesign and BD+C) - March 30
"tvsdesign breaks down different room types and how they might help free up hospital beds for coronavirus patients."
Telephone town hall (March 30, 5 p.m. ET): Commercial roofing industry update from NRCA
"The National Roofing Contractors Association will hold a COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall Monday, March 30, at 5 p.m. EST. The purpose of the town hall is to share the latest information regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the roofing industry."
#WFH podcast: Life of an Architect's Bob Borson, FAIA, and Andrew Hawkins, AIA, on the new reality of working from home full-time
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business as usual is anything but. Andrew and I felt like we should interrupt our regularly scheduled podcast to take some time and talk about working from home—something that we all are going to have to deal with for the foreseeable future."
Listen to the podcast episode
5 noteworthy megaprojects still under construction during the outbreak (Construction Dive) - March 30
"As confusion over whether or not construction is considered “essential” grows, and continues to beg for clarification, here is a brief look at some major projects continuing work, and what their local mandates are demanding."
US mall owner Taubman is telling tenants they must pay rent amid coronavirus (CNBC) - March 30
"In a memo dated March 25, which was obtained by CNBC, the real estate investment trust said it still has its own obligations to meet — such as paying lenders on mortgages and paying for utilities."
With Rent Soon Due, Apartment Industry Already Copes With Coronavirus Effects (Forbes) - March 30
"The coronavirus pandemic has largely paused the country’s economy, triggering a record 3 million jobless claims in a single week in March. Many renters – as well as homeowners – are struggling to shoulder their bills, especially in metros with high costs of living. But landlords are adapting, too, establishing a variety of reprieves for their tenants."
COVID-19's impact on the multifamily sector - UPDATED NUMBERS (BD+C) - March 30
"COVID-19 is taking its toll on the U.S. vertical construction market. In a March 23-26 survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, 20% of the 659 respondents from "buildings contractors" reported projects being shut down or delayed by government officials, while 45% of those surveyed said an owner had instructed them to halt or cancel construction on a current or planned project."
Webinar today (11:00 am - 12:30 pm ET, Monday, March 30): When disaster strikes: How do AIA Contract Documents address COVID-19 issues? Earn 1.5 AIA HSW LUs
"For the foreseeable future, the design and construction industry may experience considerable disruptions, such as material shortages, construction delays, work stoppages, and projects that are deferred due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Join us for a free webinar as expert presenters explore contract provisions regarding project delays, extensions, suspension and termination, payment, dispute resolution, and insurance."
Delayed projects tracker, updated daily (ConstructConnect) - March 30
The U.S. currently has 1,742 construction projects that are delayed, according to ConstructConnect. Canada has 763 projects delayed.
Check out the delayed projects tracker
Essential or nonessential? AGC says Department of Homeland Security language clarifies confusion over construction jobsites (AGC) - March 28
Statement from AGC's CEO Stephen E. Sandherr: “Federal officials have, wisely, heeded our advice and opted to release new guidance that makes it clear that construction activities are included in its list of essential critical infrastructure workers. This new federal guidance should help eliminate the confusion and ambiguity that has led several state and local officials to needlessly order halts to construction activity that is clearly essential."
Sharp jump in owners cancelling or delaying construction projects across the country, new survey finds (AGC) - March 27
After 42 states added jobs in February, coronavirus is taking a swift and severe toll on the industry, prompting association officials to call for additional measures to help workers and firms recover.
Penn Medicine speeds up construction of $1.5B Philly hospital by 15 months during coronavirus crisis (Construction Dive) - March 27
"Construction is hurrying along for the University of Pennsylvania Health System's (Penn Medicine) Pavilion, a $1.5 billion, 17-story, 1.5-million-square-foot hospital on the campus of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). The Pavilion, which will add about 120 beds, is expected to open in mid-April, a spokesperson for Penn Medicine, which operates HUP, said in a statement. With construction continuing 24/7, the project would be completed 15 months ahead of schedule."
Covid-19 stalls demand for design services (AIA) - March 27
Two thirds of architecture firms report slowing or stoppage of projects due to COVID-19.
Designing healthcare for surge capacity (Gensler) - March 27
"We believe that part of the longer-term answer lies not just with traditional health providers, but in the potential of our cities and communities to adapt and change."
New York construction work ruled as ‘not essential,’ most projects must halt amid coronavirus (NY Daily News) - March 27
"Gov. Cuomo has ruled that construction is not “essential” work, effectively shutting down most building work as coronavirus spikes, Mayor de Blasio said Friday. The governor told the city that construction work must stop immediately, like other industries that are closing down to combat the spread of the deadly pandemic." Cuomo said work that is not directly related to either fighting COVID-19 or maintaining city operations must shut down.
How construction contractors are working to manage coronavirus risks (Zurich North America) - March 27
"Contractors are staggering shifts and crews are cleaning tools, handles and hands in cities where projects continue."
It’s not if, but when: Designing healthcare spaces that support pandemic response (Stantec) - March 26
What can we learn from Singapore’s response to COVID-19? How does it impact the next generation of hospitals?
The Four Possible Timelines for Life Returning to Normal (The Atlantic) - March 26
"The coronavirus outbreak may last for a year or two, but some elements of pre-pandemic life will likely be won back in the meantime."
Coronavirus shutdown order halts construction on many projects, but not all (The Seattle Times) - March 26
"Builders weren’t at the KeyArena construction site Thursday as Gov. Jay Inslee’s order requiring all nonessential workers stay at home for two weeks took effect. But they’ll be back on the job starting Monday, said Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group, the company leading the $930 million arena renovation of the stadium into a much larger arena for Seattle’s new National Hockey League team."
A Spur to the Biotech Century Ahead (WSJ) - March 26
The coronavirus plague will hasten our transition to the third great innovation revolution of modern times. These revolutions arose from the discovery, beginning just over a century ago, of the three fundamental kernels of our existence: the atom, the bit and the gene.
Architects taking action to support COVID-19 response (AIA) - March 26
New AIA task force will offer insights for adapting buildings into healthcare facilities.
AGC: Senate coronavirus relief bill's tax and lending provisions will help construction firms, but industry needs additional measures (AGC) - March 26
Construction officials say measure will help firms cope with immediate cash flow crunch, but industry needs compensation for losses.
Coronavirus Latest from Oxford Economics: Economic toll mounts even as governments offset lockdowns with policy lifelines (Oxford Economics) - March 26
- The $2tn US stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides fiscal stimulus, loans, and loan guarantees amounting to 9% of US GDP.
- With partial lockdowns across the United States leading to a sudden stop in economic activity, the US will experience the largest economic contraction on record with the most severe surge in unemployment ever. The latest stimulus measures will reduce the risk of an even deeper depression in activity and employment and support a post-virus rebound in activity — but it won’t prevent the ongoing recession.
- The three-pronged CARES Act will support households via direct checks to low- and middle-income families along with an expansion of unemployment benefits. It will support large and small businesses via nearly $1tn of loans, loan guarantees, and bailout funds. And it will provide new funding for hospitals, state and local governments and a myriad of federal agencies.
- Given the lack of details and foresight surrounding the take-up from lending programs, it is not possible yet to quantify the net budget impact of the CARES Act. However, since nearly half of the funding is toward lending facilities, the budget shortfall will be much less than 9% of GDP.
- We caution against the misguided notion that the programme can be leveraged to provide a $6tn stimulus to the economy. The size of the leverage is a function of credit-loss provisions so that the program acts more as a floor preventing an economic collapse rather than providing a pure boost to activity.
How to convert college dorms to support the coronavirus crisis (NBBJ) - March 26
While student dormitories are well-suited to certain alternate healthcare uses — from housing clinical staff to treating low-acuity patients — there are important elements to consider when exploring how to convert them for coronavirus treatment.
AIA praises Congress for advancing desperately needed COVID-19 relief (AIA) - March 26
Approval for the latest relief legislation advances a number of AIA-supported measures to help meet the needs of firms and members.
Designing public health laboratories to safeguard researchers during pandemics (CannonDesign) - March 25
"As laboratory designers, we want to shed light on a subset of our population critical to protecting us from, and preventing the spread of, severe outbreaks: public health researchers."
Plaza Construction and Central Consulting & Contracting strategic alliance expands to Florida in response to coronavirus pandemic (Plaza Construction) - March 25
"By aligning expertise and resources, the companies will provide swift, effective, and efficient construction services to healthcare systems throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida regions on a no-fee basis for projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Congress Races to Pass $2 Trillion Aid Bill as Virus Shakes Society (New York Times) - March 26
"The Senate unanimously approved a bill that promises a $1,200 payout to millions of Americans, increases jobless aid and creates a business bailout fund. The House is expected to pass it by Friday, sending it to President Trump for approval."
WEBINAR ON DEMAND: COVID-19 Implications for real estate investors and occupiers (Cushman & Wakefield, recorded March 23) - March 26
Topics include a macroeconomics analysis from Chief Economist, Kevin Thorpe, and commentary on the pulse of real estate investors and occupiers from Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, Doug Harmon and Steve Quick.
Watch the webinar
Virtual Town Hall, March 31, 2:00-3:30 pm EST: Construction Owners Association of America (COAA)
"Join your fellow Owners, service providers, and other industry stakeholders in a virtual Town Hall Meeting to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on our industry. This will largely be focused on what attendees want to discuss, but we’ll also provide ideas for working better virtually and explain what COAA is doing to support Owners and members during these unprecedented times. You’re welcome to participate actively or just listen in."
Bernanke: Coronavirus disruptions ‘much closer to a major snowstorm’ than the Great Depression (CNBC) - March 25
"Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman who served before and after the 2008 financial crisis, told CNBC on Wednesday the coronavirus economic halt is more like a 'major snowstorm' than an economic depression. Bernanke said he does expect a 'very sharp' U.S. recession, but also a 'fairly quick' recovery."
Carlo Ratti Converts Shipping Containers into Intensive-Care Pods for the COVID-19 Pandemic (ArchDaily) - March 25
"Thanks to biocontainment with negative pressure, the 20-foot intermodal containers are safe isolation ward, each containing all the medical equipment needed for two COVID-19 intensive-care patients, including ventilators and intravenous fluids stands. In fact, each compact pod for patients with respiratory infections can work autonomously."
#COVID19 AEC Industry Webinars for this week
Thursday, March 26
Navigating the Outbreak, Part IV: How to Protect Your People and Your Projects (2:00-3:30 pm EDT)
Hosted by AGC
Cost: Free for AGC members; $599 for nonmembers for eight-part webinar series
Friday, March 27
How do AIA Contract Documents address COVID-19 issues? (12:00-1:30 pm EDT)
Hosted by AIA Contract Documents
Navigating the Outbreak, Part V: The Components of a Comprehensive Project Continuity Plan (2:00-3:30 pm EDT)
Hosted by AGC
Cost: Free for AGC members; $599 for nonmembers for eight-part webinar series
Congress and White House Strike Deal for $2 Trillion Stimulus Package (New York Times) - March 25
"The plan would provide direct payments to taxpayers, jobless benefits and a $500 billion fund to assist distressed businesses, with oversight requirements demanded by Democrats."
Webinar, March 27, 12-1:30 pm ET: How do AIA Contract Documents address COVID-19 issues? (AIA Contract Documents) - March 25
"Learn about Force Majeure, a French term, literally translating to 'a superior force' and how the AIA’s various agreements allocate these types of risks, including disruptions, materials shortages, delays, and other issues.
Explore the roles and responsibilities of the project team members. Learn the importance of effective contract documents and communication among project members in order to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public."
Register for this webinar (no cost)
Watch AGC's March 20 webinar: Latest Developments and Impact on the Construction Industry (AGC) - March 25
AGC held a WebEd for members and chapters on Friday, March 20th for an update on how the construction industry is being impacted by the coronavirus.
Watch the webinar
Download the slides
Five steel industry groups urge administration not to weaken import tariffs (American Iron and Steel Institute) - March 25
“The steel industry in the United States appreciates the efforts the administration has been making to limit the spread and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on businesses and the broader economy. Any efforts to delay or reduce the collection of duties on unfairly-traded steel imports or imports that threaten to impair U.S. national and economic security will ultimately hurt U.S. workers and businesses during this unprecedented moment.
The group expressed concern about a communication posted through the Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) on March 20, 2020, which notes that CBP will grant “additional days for payment of estimated duties, taxes, and fees” on a case-by-case basis as a result of the emergency situation, and the possibility that a longer-term policy may be forthcoming."
How AIA contracts address issues arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic (AIA Contract Documents) - March 25
"For the foreseeable future, the design and construction industry may experience considerable disruptions, such as material shortages, construction delays, work stoppages, and suspended and terminated projects due to the coronavirus pandemic. This article provides some tips on how to handle project delays, suspensions, and terminations with AIA documents, and also provides a list of some insurance issues to consider."
Coronavirus impacts all aspects of the U.S. economy (JLL) - March 24
"The longest expansion in U.S. history is over and recent data releases are signaling trouble. COVID-19 is impacting all aspects of the economy and the Fed and Congress are pulling out all the stops to get it back on track."
Coronavirus’ Impacts On Real Estate: Why You Need To Think Short-Term And Longer-Term (Forbes, RCLCO) - March 24
"The real estate industry is being clobbered by the coronavirus, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The effects on real estate will vary by sector and market, and the extent of the effects will depend upon the duration of the economic shutdown.
The sectors of real estate that have been hit hardest so far are hotels, restaurants, bars and other entertainment retail (particularly in tourist-driven areas) followed closely by retail and housing (particularly second-home and luxury homes)."
AIASF Virtual Town Hall Meeting: March 25, 12:00-1:00 pm pacific (AIA SF) - March 24
"As the architectural profession responds to the novel coronavirus, we all have questions. While there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, what we know for certain is there will be impacts on your business, your clients, your employees and your projects. You are invited to a conversation to share stories and learn from each other about steps being taken to weather this storm. While none of us have all the answers, or answers that are appropriate everywhere, collectively we can share our concerns, responses and ideas. This intel will help frame a statewide panel discussion (via webinar) later this month."
Ontario construction unions plead with government to shut them down (Global News) - March 24
"The executive director of the Ontario Construction Consortium, Phil Gillies, said the announcement by Premier Doug Ford to shut down non-essential businesses confused the construction industry and has left workers feeling unprotected. 'It makes no sense that you can’t have your neighbour over for a cup of coffee yet construction sites are expected to continue operations and they can have hundreds of employees working in close proximity to each other,' said Gillies."
Resort in Las Vegas On Hold, Other Construction Continues Amid Spread of COVID-19 (CTBUH) - March 24
"With COVID-19 upending daily life in Las Vegas, at least one major real estate project has shelved construction work over the outbreak, and at least one other says it plans to keep building. The Drew Las Vegas owner Steve Witkoff said in a statement on the evening of 17 March 2020 it has “paused construction crews from coming onsite” at the north Strip hotel-casino and asked corporate employees to work from home."
Amid uncertainty around COVID-19, architects adjust to a new normal (AIA) - March 24
"Last week, architecture firm principals locked their office doors behind them and implemented telework policies as part of the worldwide push to combat the spread of COVID-19. The larger AEC industry felt the ripple effects of social distancing measures later in the week as Boston’s mayor placed a two-week halt on construction projects, setting a potential precedent for other city officials to follow.
In this time of uncertainty, architects and their firms are learning to face short-term challenges as they adapt to conducting day-to-day operations in a new, largely online way. In the longer term, navigating economic uncertainty—the scope of which is still emerging—will be top-of-mind for every firm."
Shut down all nonessential jobsites to protect construction workers from COVID-19: A superintendent's perspective (Construction Dive) - March 24
"I am a superintendent who works in the field daily and I have seen firsthand how some local construction companies in my area are pushing forward on projects that are far from essential and are putting the health and safety of employees and their families, some of whom are already elderly or have underlying conditions, at risk in the name of schedule and profit."
Timely reading: An Architect’s Guide to Virtual Practice (AIA) - March 24
"While there are many benefits of a virtual practice, as with most any enterprise, there are also risks. Hiring the right professionals, such as an attorney, a business consultant, and a financial advisor, is the best approach to help you lay the groundwork you’ll need for future success. It’s vitally important that every practitioner understand what is legally required so they don’t discover too late what can go wrong."
Webinar (Thursday, March 26, 12 pm EDT): Emergency Business Planning (Hosted by Morrissey Goodale) - March 24
"The Coronavirus is moving fast. Your business decisions need to come even faster. Sound decisions require planning to help you navigate market turbulence. Reacting without a plan or an understanding of how events and decisions could impact your business is a gamble you shouldn’t take. Don’t risk everything on this bi-generational challenge. It isn’t just how COVID-19 impacts your business, it’s about the impact on your customers, their funders, regulators and other officials."
Register for this webinar ($79)
News Investors Eyeing Second Half Bounce If Coronavirus Is Contained (Bisnow) - March 23
"If the spread of the coronavirus is contained, some economists and commercial real estate experts are predicting that the property market should bounce back later this year. 'As of today, the consensus is still assuming a rebound at some point in the second half of 2020,' Cushman & Wakefield Global Chief Economist Kevin Thorpe said during a company webinar on the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19."
AGC, Others, Push OSHA to Stop Treating Coronavirus Positives as Reportable Incidents & Calls for Flexibility for Firms Running Short of N95 Masks (AGC) - March 23
"AGC, along with our industry partners on the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), is pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to re-evaluate its decision to treat cases of employees contracting COVID-19 as recordable incidents. Instead, healthcare providers should be required to report these cases on their logs because they are in direct contact with people with confirmed cases and are at greatest risk. At the same time, we are pushing OSHA to provide flexibility in enforcement with respect to respirator use due to the growing shortage of N95 respirators. For example, OSHA should consider allowing job rotation to reduce exposures to employees who may not have access to the appropriate masks."
YouTube Webinar: How two architecture firms are handling a virtual work environment (Boston Society for Architecture) - March 23
This webinar features tips and advice from two Boston-based architecture firms: Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA) and swam architecture.
View the webinar on demand
Download the slidedeck
Webinar (Tuesday, March 24, 12 pm EDT and Wednesday, March 25, 12 pm EDT): Working Remotely - The New Normal (Hosted by Morrissey Goodale) - March 24
"The Coronavirus has made working remotely the new normal for the A/E industry. Join Stafford Palmieiri for this timely 60-minute webinar as she delivers valuable strategies on how to keep you producing, managing, and leading at the highest level— from home. Experience immediate payoffs."
Register for this webinar ($79)
CRE Grapples With 'Nuclear Winter' As Sublease Inventory Rises (Bisnow) - March 23
"One of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be an increase in sublease inventory up and down the West Coast, which is itself a harbinger of recession, tenant brokerage Hughes Marino said this week."
HFA to Offer Multifamily Owners Forbearance to Help Prevent Evictions (National Real Estate Investor) - March 23
"The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus."
Apartment Landlords Ready Themselves For Wave Of Unpaid Rent (Bisnow) - March 23
"The spreading coronavirus — and the drastic measures governments are imposing in a bid to slow it — is wreaking havoc on the country’s economy. Multifamily landlords are now working out how to handle the weeks and months ahead if their expected rents fall short."
RMJM introduces database for quarantined architects to help them find work (RMJM) - March 23
"This new initiative will offer opportunities to ensure that architects, engineers and designers affected by the coronavirus crisis around the world can keep working and earning while they are distanced from their workplaces and teams."
Javits Center may host four emergency hospitals (NY Post) - March 23
"Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up four emergency hospitals inside Manhattan’s Javits Center to help combat the coronavirus, as the number of state cases blew past 15,000, with nearly 10,000 in the five boroughs."
Construction can continue in New York, California and Illinois amid shutdown orders. In other regions, it's banned (Construction Dive) - March 23
"For now, it appears that the shutdowns that have been enacted so far exempt most construction activities, but with caveats."
NRCA Organizes Letter Campaign to Address Business Concerns During COVID-19 Crisis (NRCA) - March 23
"To help address roofing professionals’ business concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the National Roofing Contractors Association led an industrywide effort March 19 to send a letter to President Trump asking the administration to provide clear guidance to states regarding essential industry and essential worker designations. In the letter, NRCA and affiliate organizations requested guidance from the administration clarifying essential businesses, services and workers be issued to state and local governments and explained why the guidance should recognize the role of the roofing industry in protecting U.S. families and employers."
Is construction an 'essential industry'? Yes and no, says AGC. (AGC) - March 23
"The federal government recently released a list(link is external) detailing “critical infrastructure industries” whose workers are “essential” and should continue normal work schedules. Although the document lists industries for which construction is absolutely critical, our industry was not explicitly included. Even though the list “is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself,” some states have/are considering it for determining which industries can go to work amid state and local COVID-19 responses to shelter in place, among other policies."
'Business as usual': Coronavirus hasn't hurt Omaha-area construction projects (Omaha World-Herald) - March 22
"It’s full speed ahead right now at many Omaha-area construction and redevelopment sites. Some might even be accelerated. That’s the word from multiple developers and construction leaders who said the novel coronavirus so far hasn’t deterred their local building projects — at least not those already underway."
Multifamily housing group to apartment owners: Step up and support residents impacted by COVID-19 (NMHC) - March 22
The National Multifamily Housing Council released the following recommendations for apartment owners to help America’s renters retain their housing during this crisis:
• Halt evictions for 90 days for those who can show they have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (This would not apply to evictions for other lease violations such as property damage, criminal activity or endangering the safety of other residents of the community.)
• Avoid rent increases for 90 days to help residents weather the crisis.
• Create payment plans for residents who are unable to pay their rent because of the outbreak and waive late fees for those residents.
• Identify governmental and community resources to help residents secure food, financial assistance and healthcare and share that information with residents.
• Communicate to residents that it is a priority for the industry to partner with them to help them retain their housing.
• Develop a response plan for potential COVID-19 exposure.
"We also recognize that most rental properties are owned by individuals and small businesses that have financial obligations, including mortgages, utilities, payroll, insurance and taxes. If residents cannot pay their full rent obligations because of the COVID-19 outbreak then owners are at risk of not meeting their own financial obligations. This puts the individual property and the larger community in which it is located at risk.
Congress must extend mortgage forbearance to rental property owners and extend similar protections to other financial obligations such as insurance premiums, utility service payments and tax liabilities. Forbearance is needed to prevent foreclosure and other adverse actions such as lien placements, utility shut offs, defaults, and judgements that would negatively impact the viability of the property’s continued operation and ultimately put its residents at risk of additional disruption."
Updated forecast: Coronavirus pandemic inflicts a short, sharp recession on the global economy (Oxford Economics) - March 22
"Our updated global forecasts now show the world economy, and many major national economies, entering deep recession during the first half of 2020.
In the United States, the economy is also already in recession. The pandemic will lead to profound, pervasive, and persistent, but not permanent reductions in activity, with widespread cuts in social spending, severe disruptions to supply chains, and a major interruption in travel and tourism activity.
We now project that the US economy will shrink by 0.2% in 2020 as a whole, compared with the 1.7% expansion in our pro-outbreak forecasts. We expect a massive 11% drop in output in Q2 driven by a massive pullback in discretionary and social spending will likely lead to the sharpest quarterly contraction in consumer outlays on record. We also expect business investment and trade to shrink by the most since the financial crisis. However, we expect resurgent 2021 growth to see the US economy expand by 4.1% next year."
Download the full report (PDF)
Perkins and Will’s CEO sees a light at the end of COVID-19 tunnel (BD+C) - March 21
"Phil Harrison says the virus outbreak could make more clients see the connection between design and wellbeing."
Construction business and union leaders call on government officials to include construction as an 'essential service' during shutdowns (AGC) - March 21
“Construction workers’ unique skills are essential now and in the coming weeks to construct, maintain, and repair critical infrastructure, and to build temporary health facilities and retrofit and expand existing ones."
Associated General Contractors launches eight-part webinar series around COVID-19 (BD+C) - March 21
"The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), with 26,000 members, has put together an eight-part webinar series whose episodes will take deeper dives into various topics related to business continuation during the COVID-19 outbreak."
BD+C research: The AEC industry braces for tough sledding in the coming months amid COVID-19 outbreak (BD+C) - March 20
"Nearly one-half of AEC firms expect the outbreak of COVID-19 to have a sizable impact on their businesses. The same percentage anticipates that projects they have been working on would be postponed in the wake of the pandemic. Those are key findings in a poll that BD+C has been conducting for the past several days to gauge the effect of the virus on the U.S. construction industry. During the polling period, the virus has wreaked havoc on the global economy, and has led President Trump to declare a national emergency."
Webinar: COVID-19 Series Pop Up Webinars every Tuesday and Thursday through 30 April (CoreNet Global) - March 20
CoreNet Global will be hosting “open mic” sessions for members to ask questions and share ideas with peers. Tuesdays 8:30 a.m. EDT and Thursdays 12:30 p.m. (no need to register).
Webinar: North America Roundtable – March 25, 12pm EDT (CoreNet Global) - March 20
A roundtable discussion led by Cristina G. Banks, Ph.D., Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces at the University of California-Berkeley, with participants from large companies.
Building Enterprise Resilience: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Roundtable Published (CoreNet Global) - March 20
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, companies are closing offices, mandating remote working and reviewing corporate travel policies. CRE has a vital role in developing and implementing business continuity strategies. Join this timely conversation with your peers who are on the front line to gain practical insights and take away ideas to make your enterprise more resilient.
Pandemic has halted or delayed projects for 28% of contractors (AGC) - March 20
"Coronavirus-caused slowdown contrasts with January figures showing a majority of metro areas added construction jobs; Officials note New infrastructure funding and paid family leave fixes are needed."
AIA implores Congress to provide relief to business owners and employees (AIA) - March 20
“As Congress considers additional legislation to stimulate the economy, the AIA urges you to include significant investment in 21st Century infrastructure and temporary relief measures for business owners. Both will provide necessary relief in the short-term, reassurance to global markets, and will help prepare this country for the challenges ahead."
NeoCon show, scheduled for mid-June, has been canceled (NeoCon) - March 20
"After consultation with leaders and partners within the commercial design industry, theMART has decided cancelling NeoCon 2020 is the best course of action considering the on-going COVID-19 outbreak and the unknown duration for social distancing and other measures. The next NeoCon will be NeoCon June 14-16, 2021."
All construction work ordered to shut down in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Inquirer) - March 20
"Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced that all but “life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania must shut down immediately as the state braces for exponential increases in the number of people sickened by the novel coronavirus. Unlike earlier in the week — when Wolf urged nonessential businesses such as salons, gyms, theaters, and entertainment venues to voluntarily close — the latest order came with a stern warning: those out of compliance as of Saturday could face strict penalties."
5 Ways to Optimize Buildings for COVID-19 Prevention (Center for Active Design) - March 19
"Coronavirus has taken over the 24-hour news cycle, with article after article updating us on newly identified cases, handwashing techniques, and why we should avoid touching our faces. While this information is vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the most vulnerable populations, one area that has been routinely underrecognized is the role that building design and operations can play in controlling the spread of this disease."
Positive vibes: Let's take a look at the brighter side of these crazy times (BD+C) - March 19
"Perhaps now is a good time to take a page from Monty Python's book and look on the bright side of life. So let's push aside the doom and gloom for a bit and bring a little positivity to these strange times we all currently find ourselves in."
California's almost 40 million residents on lockdown (New York Times) - March 19
"Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday night ordered California’s almost 40 million residents to stay home except for essential trips, extending similar restrictions statewide that Bay Area counties had previously put into place. The order, which is in place until further notice, makes mandatory many of the previous guidelines from state public health officials."
Building Trades Employers Association Calls for Mayor de Blasio to Keep Construction Sites Open (BTEA) - March 19
“If construction shuts down, then maintenance and repair of all critical transportation infrastructure – which is essential for health emergencies - shuts down with it. Construction of affordable housing and health facilities will halt as well, which will directly impact the health, well-being and livelihoods of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Construction is an essential service and must be allowed to continue during this crisis,” said Lou Coletti, President and CEO of the BTEA, in a statement released on Thursday.
New report predicts multifamily market will weather COVID-19 crisis (Mortgage Professional America) - March 19
"The economic disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to create financial hardships, with growing concerns about whether furloughed or laid-off workers will be able to meet their housing expenses. While this could create a potential domino effect into the multifamily industry, the newly published report, Economic and Coronavirus Update National Multifamily Report by Yardi Matrix, is suggesting the situation may not be as grave as feared."
Colleges Offering Dorms as Hospital Overflow for Virus Cases (AP, U.S. News and World Report) - March 19
"A growing number of U.S. colleges are preparing to turn empty dorms into temporary housing for patients with the coronavirus as the nation’s hospitals brace for a possible surge of cases that could push treatment centers beyond their limits."
In most US cities, construction work continues as shutdowns loom (Construction Dive) - March 19
"While Boston, and now neighboring city, Cambridge, have been the only U.S. cities to officially stop all construction, other areas are under orders that ban nonessential services, causing some construction leaders to wonder whether their work is considered essential or not."
Force Majeure and COVID-19 in construction contracts - What you need to know (Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani) - March 19
"Force Majeure – While most construction contracts contain these provisions, they are often not understood in relation to the implications they may have on construction projects. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all taking a closer look at many portions of our contracts. The following is a brief primer on how to understand your construction contract and its potential implications on your business in this season of change."
Cyber Crime in the Wake of COVID-19: What Employers Can Do to Prevent Cyber Attacks (Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani) - March 19
"The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber agency, has issued an alert specifically addressing the cyber vulnerabilities. The alert focuses on the risks associated with virtual private networks (VPNs), which nearly every organization uses to allow employees remote access to the employer’s servers and workspaces."
ASHRAE provides COVID-19 resources for operating, maintaining HVAC systems (ASHRAE) - March 19
"ASHRAE has compiled a COVID-19 Preparedness Resources webpage that includes a recently approved position document on Airborne Infectious Diseases. The site provides resources from ASHRAE to building industry professionals. The position document advises that new and existing healthcare intake and waiting areas, crowded shelters, and similar facilities should go beyond the minimum requirements of these documents."
Technology crucial during COVID-19 social distancing (HGA) - March 19
"Technology can help bridge the gap during the Coronavirus pandemic as higher education institutes and corporations are moving to a remote work model."
How contractors are responding to the COVID-19 crisis (Construction Dive) - March 19
"The growing COVID-19 crisis has roiled the U.S. construction industry from coast to coast, with contractors large and small mired in uncertainty and wondering what their next steps should be."
We’re About To Find Out How Durable The Coworking Business Model Is (Bisnow) - March 18
"Flexible offices were envisioned as communities where a new form of work could thrive, one where startups and smaller businesses could share the kind of splendid amenities once reserved for major corporations, with short-term leases that didn’t tie them down to traditional spaces. That has left the industry vulnerable."
How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change the Built Environment (Architectural Digest) - March 18
"This won’t be the first time in history that cities and buildings will be reimagined in response to an increased understanding of disease."
‘You Cannot Buy A Building Until This Is Over': Despite Stimulus, Chill Hits CRE Investing (Bisnow) - March 18
"In just one week, the coronavirus has turned full blown flight to safety for investors into much more of a wait-and-see approach toward commercial real estate."
How healthcare systems and designers can tackle a public health crisis together (HKS) - March 18
"As the novel coronavirus sweeps through countries around the world, many hospitals and other medical providers are rushing to treat patients while taking constant inventory of their own resources: Where can patients come in safely? Are there enough beds for critical care? Are there enough beds for everyone else who needs one? How can they stop contagion within their own walls, including keeping their own staff healthy?," writes Jason Schroer, Principal and Director of Health in HKS's Houston office.
Delays and Suspensions of Government Contracts as a Result of the Coronavirus (Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel) - March 18
"Outside of vital projects related to public health and safety or national security, we expect that over the next week many government contracts will be formally or informally suspended for the duration of the Coronavirus quarantine period. Many government contractors will receive letters or emails ordering them to stop work on projects located on government facilities or that involve personal contact with government personnel."
AGC survey: Most state DOT construction programs are moving ahead as scheduled (AGC) - March 18
"AGC chapters report that generally speaking most state DOT construction programs are moving ahead as scheduled and are not directly impacted by COVID-19 related shutdowns. Many state office personnel are telecommuting but, in most states, construction inspectors are considered essential and, therefore, are reporting to work and visiting on-going projects."
Coronavirus imperils Chicago’s more than decadelong construction boom. ‘We’re mentally preparing for a shutdown.’ (Chicago Tribune) - March 18
"After more than a decade of boom times, Chicago developers, contractors and construction workers face an unexpected obstacle to continued prosperity.
Investment managers launch coronavirus fund to buy low on hospitality stocks (Bisnow) — March 18
"The coronavirus has taken a huge toll on the stock market, and commercial real estate sectors have not been spared. But with stock prices low, a New York City-based group of investors is taking a glass-half-full approach, citing an 'inevitable recovery.'"
Simon Property Group closes all domestic properties, ending March 29 (Simon) - March 18
"Simon, announced that after extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19, Simon will close all of its retail properties, including Malls, Premium Outlets and Mills in the U.S. This measure will take effect from 7 pm local time today and will end on March 29."
Array Advisors creates Surge Capacity Assessment Tool to help hospitals 'swiftly and safely increase capacity' (Array) - March 18
"As the surge of COVID-19 cases begins to impact hospital bed demand, facilities are looking for ways to swiftly and safely increase capacity. Array Advisors has developed an Assessment Action Plan Tool to help guide initial analysis. Download this free tool to support your capacity management planning."
Download the tool
Steel manufacturing needs to be an “essential” sector, says AISI (AISI) - March 18
"American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) today urged the Trump administration to identify the steel manufacturing sector and its workers as “essential” when drafting and enforcing shelter-in-place orders and other directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Law firm assembles COVID-19 Strategy Team to help contractors respond to project delays, closures (Duane Morris) - March 18
"The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a dynamic situation and the ultimate impact and timeline remain unknown at this juncture. As construction project participants navigate the novel issues it has raised, they should closely evaluate their construction contracts in order to make the best decisions regarding ongoing work and project safety, as well as to implement strategies to mitigate financial and schedule impacts as much as possible. To the extent parties can mutually agree to a resolution or workout plan now, jobs will proceed more smoothly when COVID-19 subsides."
Leading through COVID-19: FMI offers advice on managing AEC business during the pandemic (FMI) - March 18
"We are all in a ‘fog of war’ dealing with short-term tactical decisions aimed at protecting the health and well-being of our employees, families and society. The events of the next few weeks will likely determine the toll this crisis will have on our economy and individual businesses. Managing your P&L, stress testing your balance sheet, and focusing on cash management are essential steps toward defining your reality and establishing decision gates for the weeks ahead."
A 1,000-bed naval hospital ship is being dispatched to New York Harbor (New York Times) - March 18
"Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Wednesday that President Trump had agreed to dispatch a 1,000-bed hospital ship to New York Harbor as the state struggles to deal with a stark jump in coronavirus cases. Mr. Cuomo said on Wednesday that 2,382 people in the state had tested positive for the virus, an increase of more than 800 since Tuesday."
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD suspending all foreclosures and evictions (Housing Wire) - March 18
"President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April. Beyond that, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday that it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for 'at least 60 days.' That would mean the moratorium lasts through mid-May, at least."
Oxford Economics: Short-term pain but strong rebound likely (Oxford Economics) - March 18
"In recent weeks, attention has understandably focused on limiting the damage from the short-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak. But it’s likely that, once disruption and uncertainty fade, the rebound in activity will be strong. It’s important for firms to position themselves for such a recovery."
Read the full report
Webinar, Friday, March 12, 3:00 pm EDT: The Latest Developments on the Coronavirus and What that Means for the Construction Industry (AGC) - March 18
AGC CEO Steve Sandherr and additional national staff will provide an update on the coronavirus, including the latest information about the federal response, an updated economic analysis of its impacts, and an overview of the latest legal, HR, safety and risk measures being put in place because of the coronavirus.
Walt Disney World shuts down all construction due to coronavirus (Orlando Business Journal) - March 18
"The Walt Disney Company has shuttered construction operations at Walt Disney World, according to the head of the region’s top construction trade organization."
More pleas to keep jobsites open: N.Y. building trades group said billions would be lost (NY Daily News) - March 17
"New York City’s real estate and building industries stand to lose “billions of dollars” over the next year or two if construction sites are shut down due to the coronavirus, according to an association that represents the trades.
Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, issued the dire prognosis Tuesday just minutes after Mayor de Blasio raised the possibility of a shelter in place order that could effectively require all non-essential work in the city to cease."
Select construction sites exempt from Bay Area shelter-in-place mandate (LA Times) - March 17
"Certain essential activities are exempt, such as essential government and business services or essential public infrastructure construction, like housing."
AIA: Design services saw increase in February, but economic footings are rapidly shifting (AIA) - March 17
"The rapid pull-back in activity throughout the economy will obviously be felt in the design and construction sector, and architecture firms will be one of the first to see how these events play out,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.
Coronavirus forces Las Vegas Strip to shut down for first time since JFK assassination (AP) - March 17
"Gambling will grind to a halt by Wednesday in casino-mecca Las Vegas, a city known for glitzy and sometimes reckless fun, as the governor of Nevada issued a sweeping statewide order aimed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
Democrat Steve Sisolak ordered a monthlong freeze on gambling, shutting down everything from the famous casino resorts to slot machines found in convenience stores, cutting off an industry that fuels the state’s tourism and hospitality-powered economy."
Pence urges construction companies to give coronavirus masks to hospitals (NY Post) - March 17
“We would make one specific request, and that is we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks,” Pence said at a White House briefing on the pandemic.
NYC mayor: New Yorkers should prepare for a shelter-in-place order within the next 48 hours (CNBC) - March 17
"We are all deeply concerned ... this is quite clear this is a fast growing crisis,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday. “All New Yorkers, even though a decision has not been made by the city or the state, I think that all New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order.” There are 814 confirmed cases in New York City
U.S. government, tech industry discussing ways to harness location data to combat coronavirus (Seattle Times) - March 17
"The U.S. government is in active talks with Facebook, Google and a wide array of tech companies and health experts about how they can use data gleaned from Americans’ phones to combat the novel coronavirus, including tracking whether people are keeping one another at safe distances to stem the outbreak.
Public-health experts are interested in the possibility that private-sector companies could compile the data in anonymous, aggregated form, which they could then use to map the spread of the infection, according to three people familiar with the effort, who requested anonymity because the project is in its early stages."
Construction industry pushes back on building bans (Bisnow) - March 17
"After Boston Mayor Martin Walsh declared his city would be temporarily halting most construction Monday afternoon, New York City Council member Carlos Menchaca called for New York to do the same in a tweet Monday night. But construction industry representatives say this will hurt cities in the long run. During an interview Tuesday, New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo Scissura told Bisnow he would caution against shutting down sites, saying it would stop essential work from getting done."
COVID-19 recommended practices for construction jobsites (AGC) - March 17
AGC's guidance focuses on: personal responsibilities, social distancing, jobsite/office practices, managing sick employees, government resources, and vendor resources.
Amid coronavirus, landlords gage potential vacancies for financial impact (GlobeSt) - March 17
"As we look at the Coronavirus spreading with no immediate end in sight, the question is not whether it will adversely impact businesses; the question is how many companies will be affected and to what extent."
Donhoff Kargl Nall – Architects: 'We are hereby providing notice that our firm’s ability to perform certain contractual duties regarding the project are or may be restricted." (DKN Architects) - March 17
From the Louisville, Ky.-based firm's leadership team:
"Due to the national emergency caused by and in response to the coronavirus situation, the guidelines, restrictions, and directives issued by the CDC, state and local public health officials and governmental agencies, and our company’s policies issued during this crisis (collectively “Directives”), we are hereby providing notice that our firm’s ability to perform certain contractual duties regarding the project are or may be restricted. These service restrictions are caused by circumstances beyond the control of our firm.
We will not be attending any meetings in person until state and local officials advise us that it is safe to do so. The DKN team remains on-the-job and working remotely. As we continue to serve you and work diligently on your project please be aware that there may be delays due to the current situation."
Developer of $400M UnCommons project expects virus disruptions (Las Vegas Review-Journal) - March 17
"Developers of a $400 million Las Vegas project have shelved the ceremonial groundbreaking because of the coronavirus but plan to start construction next month. Matter Real Estate Group, developer of UnCommons, a southwest valley venture that calls for offices, apartments and food and beverage spots, postponed the April 2 event until further notice Friday."
How Cincinnati construction companies are coping with coronavirus (Cincinnati Business Courier) - March 17
"As the first Greater Cincinnati residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, local construction companies are taking steps to mitigate its spread. Dave Spaulding, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co., said as of early Friday afternoon the contractor was not shutting any projects down and has not been asked by any owners to shut projects down."
AGC: 'Shutting down construction projects is an unnecessary step, will harm the economy and undermine recovery efforts" (AGC) March 17
AGC's CEO Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to steps being taken to put in place arbitrary halts to construction activity:
“Halting construction activity will do more harm than good for construction workers, community residents and the economy. Construction firms are already acting to ensure the safety and health of their employees in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. These new measures, which include increased hygiene and halting group gatherings of staff, are in addition to the fact construction workers already wear protective equipment, including gloves that will help protect them and their co-workers."
DOE Seeking Input and Collaboration on Science and Technology Response to COVID-19 (DOE) - March 17
"The Department is acting rapidly to leverage, and when appropriate provide prioritized access to, the full range of DOE user facilities and other facilities available at national laboratories to support the national and international effort to address COVID-19."
Revised Dodge Data & Analytics construction forecast to be released in early April (Dodge Data & Analytics) - March 17
"Over the past few days we’ve received numerous inquiries from clients and press alike about how the coronavirus and subsequent economic fallout might affect our forecast for construction starts in 2020. With the situation rapidly evolving, we felt it prudent to let you know when you can expect to see an updated starts forecast. Our next forecast cycle officially begins when preliminary starts data for March (and thus the first quarter) is released on April 1. However, we are currently assessing the economic implications of the crisis and looking to past economic cycles and events to gauge how our econometric models might react to the current crisis.
Dodge’s Chief Economist, Richard Branch, plans to host a brief customer webinar in early April to review how the starts forecast may be altered to reflect current events. Please watch for future announcements regarding this presentation."
NYC to add 8,000 hospital beds to help meet demand for COVID-19 patients (ABC7 NY and Associated Press) - March 17
"On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is in a 'race against time' to add more than 8,000 hospital beds to help meet an expected spike in coronavirus patients. The beds will come from a shuttered hospital, a yet-to-open nursing home and other facilities around the city, the mayor said."
AGC opposes paid leave provision in House coronavirus bill (Construction Dive) - March 17
"Proposed legislation requiring businesses to provide paid leave to workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic has drawn sharp criticism from the Associated General Contractors of America, which called it “at best problematic, and at worst unworkable,” in a letter yesterday to the Senate's leadership."
HMFH Architects 100% remote, bans all face-to-face meetings (HMFH) - March 17
Construction industry bracing for potential impact of COVID-19 (GlobeSt) - March 16
"Owners will be reviewing contracts for agreements outlined, and what contractual rights and duties exist in light of the conditions caused by the spread of the coronavirus."
Construction contracts could become a concern if the virus affects a jobsite (Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce) - March 16
"Attorney Wandler said some construction contracts don't have specific clauses for pandemics, but many have a force majeure clause that protects against unforeseen or unavoidable events. He said force majeure clauses can act as 'safety valves' to modify a contract, suspend party obligations or even terminate the contract. The caveat is Washington courts typically defer to how a particular contract defines a force majeure event."
Bay Area orders ‘shelter in place,’ only essential businesses open in 6 counties (San Francisco Chronicle) - March 16
"Six Bay Area counties announced a “shelter in place” order for all residents on Monday — the strictest measure of its kind yet in the continental United States — directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks as public health officials desperately try to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus across the region. The directive begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and involves San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — a combined population of more than 6.7 million."
Array Advisors: Model validates fears of ICU bed shortage due to coronavirus (Array Advisors) March 16
"As the U.S. confronts COVID-19, bed capacity has been top of mind. Challenges to meeting projected demand are sizable and vary significantly by state, so Array Advisors developed a model that analyzes the combined impact of:
• Current cases in each state (as they increase)
• Risk factors such as age and existing conditions
• The state’s existing capacity of ICU and Med/Surg beds
The results (just published in HealthLeaders) are eye-opening. Due to the outbreak’s strength, Washington state will likely run out of ICU beds in the next two weeks, while less populous states like Vermont, with far fewer existing beds and an older population, still fall squarely in the first tier of risk, just two weeks behind."
UCLA Anderson Forecast: U.S. economy has entered a recession, ending the expansion that began in July 2009 (UCLA) - March 16
"Revising a forecast published March 12, UCLA Anderson Forecast economists say the U.S. economy has entered a recession, ending the expansion that began in July 2009.
The revised forecast, which incorporates data reflecting a rapidly changing U.S. economy, together with a review of the 1957–58 H2N2 influenza pandemic, is for the recession to continue through the end of September.
This marks the first time in its 68-year history that the UCLA Anderson Forecast has published an updated forecast between its regularly scheduled quarterly releases.
After the economy had experienced a solid start to 2020, the escalating effects of the coronavirus pandemic in March have reduced the first-quarter 2020 forecast of GDP growth to 0.4%. GDP for the second quarter of the year is now forecast to slow by 6.5%, and by 1.9% for the third quarter. With the assumption of an end to the pandemic and repaired supply chains by this summer, the Forecast predicts the resumption of normal activity in the fourth quarter of 2020 and a GDP growth rate of 4.0%.
For the full 2020 year, it is expected that GDP will have declined by 0.4%. In 2021, with the abatement of governmental pandemic expenditures and the continued contraction of residential and commercial construction, the economy is forecast to grow at 1.5%. The full recovery and return to trend is now expected in 2022."
Boston mayor orders shut down of construction sites due to coronavirus (Boston Globe) - March 16
"Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has ordered that all construction projects in the city be suspended in response to the spread of the coronavirus. Walsh’s move comes after the postponement of the Boston Marathon, cancellation of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston, and the closure of all schools, restaurants, and bars in Massachusetts. The Bay State had a reported 164 cases of the virus on Sunday."
Hurricane Katrina provides lessons about closing campuses during the coronavirus crisis (Brookings Institution) - March 16
"Today, as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of higher-education institutions are again closing their campuses. While this may help contain the spread of the coronavirus, vulnerable students are now being put at risk in an entirely different way."
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects 100% remote, limiting travel and in person meetings (EYRC) - March 16
A statement from the firm: "As we all pull together in the fight against the COVID-19 Corona Virus, EYRC has implemented a series of temporary policies to help protect our collective families and communities. Starting Monday, March 16th, we have implemented a mandatory two week work from home policy for all employees. As are many organizations, and in accordance with CDC social distancing guidelines, we will be limiting our travel and in person meetings. Our internal taskforce is monitoring the situation closely and will adapt as necessary. EYRC is a highly nimble entity and pride ourselves on rapid adaptation to new challenges. We will continue to deliver the highest levels of service to our clients and collaborators during this time. Together, we are fully committed to helping restore the vitality of our nation."
Dahlin Group offers 'generous sick policy for our employees, so they can take care of themselves and their families with confidence.' (Dahlin Group) - March 16
Dahlin Group President Nancy Keenan, AIA, LEED AP, said the firm is open for business under normal business hours, and will host meetings virtually. "We are all navigating unprecedented changes in the way we do business while working together to ensure the safety of our communities. The current cascade of events is impacting our organizations, our customers, our employees and our families in ways that will likely continue to evolve over the coming weeks and months—and DAHLIN is prepared to adapt."
TLC 'predominantly working from home,' but select offices may remain open with limited staff on staggered schedules (TLC) - March 16
"We want to notify you that TLC team members will be predominantly working from home to protect our team members, clients, partners and communities. Our robust technology platform is capable of supporting this effort and of minimizing disruption in project schedules. We anticipate that some TLC offices may remain open with limited staff on staggered schedules; however, to assure that you connect with TLC team members in the most efficient manner possible, we suggest that you do so via email."
HMC Architects is 'addressing in-person meetings and site visits on a case-by-case basis.' (HMC Architects) - March 16
President and CEO Brian Staton, Assoc. AIA, said in a statement:
"It’s paramount to us that you continue to receive the same level of support you are accustomed to, and we’re confident that with the measures we’ve put in place, we can mitigate this risk together without business disruption.
We are well prepared and have significant experience in successfully serving clients remotely. Our Information Technology and Digital Practice teams have employed proactive measures to ensure that our workforce can work from anywhere and many of our services—and meetings—can be performed virtually. We are also addressing in-person meetings and site visits on a case-by-case basis.
If there is a need to adjust our operations in any capacity or make changes that could impact our work, we will communicate that information to you immediately. If you have any concerns about the ability to complete project work, please contact your principal-in-charge or any member of our firm leadership.
We are optimistic that by working together with you, we can preserve your safety and ours, and help curtail the spread of coronavirus."
No in-person meetings for Leers Weinzapfel Associates employees; 100% remote work (LWA) - March 16
"The health and safety of our communities is our top priority. As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to spread, we believe it’s critical to follow the current best practices and scientific recommendations that aim to slow the spread of the virus. Accordingly, as of this date we are initiating a work from home, no work related travel, and no in person meetings policy. We have the technologies in place to work on our projects and to communicate with our clients and colleagues remotely."
Webinar, March 19, 1 pm eastern: Practical Considerations for Subcontractors Dealing with Coronavirus (American Subcontractors Association) - March 16
"Coronavirus is likely to cause increasing disruptions and impacts to construction material supply chains, business travel, and labor availability. This webinar will address ways in which subcontractors are uniquely affected by these disruptions and methods for mitigating their impacts, including preserving rights with respect to force major delays and costs, seeking equitable adjustments for material cost escalations, complying with contractual and regulatory health and safety obligations, and negotiating terms and conditions for subcontracts to address future impacts."
Lessons from past pandemics: Disinformation, scapegoating, and social distancing (Brookings Institution) - March 16
"Comparing the current COVID-19 pandemic to past episodes suggests several parallels in human reactions to disease. Many generated disinformation, scapegoating, and social distancing similar to what we are witnessing today. The recent spread of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus demonstrates that this rapidly churning biological system—even when we don’t fully understand its transmissibility or fatality rate—comes wrapped in layers of politics, economics, demography, and culture that echo historical patterns."
KieranTimberlake closes office through March 30; 100% remote (KieranTimberlake) - March 16
"Our work on projects with clients, collaborators, and each other will continue without interruption. KieranTimberlake has been working hard to ensure we can keep our collaborative practice going throughout this health crisis.
• We will continue to work and meet as planned primarily via GoTo Meeting, Microsoft Teams, and other collaboration platforms.
• Your point of contact at KieranTimberlake will stay in close communication with you and keep you informed of any changes in how we work together.
• We will remain flexible, listen to our clients' concerns and needs, and adjust accordingly.
Force majeure clauses take center stage in contractors' coronavirus response (Construction Dive) - March 16
"With no end currently in sight to the extensive global outbreak of the novel coronavirus — officially named SARS-CoV-2— the U.S. construction industry is already experiencing effects and should brace itself for more to come."
Harkins Builders is 'arranging for commercial cleaners to clean and disinfect areas of the project as necessary.' (Harkins Builders) - March 16
Harkins Builders' President and CEO Gary Garofalo released the following statement this morning:
"To Our Clients and Trade Partners:
I wanted to let you know that we are constantly monitoring developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and implementing plans and procedures responsive to the information we are receiving from the CDC, OSHA, federal and local authorities, and our other business partners. The safety of all project participants is of critical importance to us, so we are seeking your cooperation and assistance in mitigating the spread and impact of COVID-19 in our offices, jobsites, and other places where we conduct our business.
We have implemented the following procedures that will be in place for such time as is necessary under the circumstances:
• CDC and OSHA recommendations for prevention of spread of COVID-19 will be posted in conspicuous places around our jobsites, and we will be monitoring compliance.
• All workers are requested to maintain a social distance of six (6) feet whenever reasonably possible.
• We are cleaning our jobsite trailers daily, arranging for commercial cleaners to clean and disinfect areas of the project as necessary in response to actual or suspected exposure, and supplying our projects with additional hand sanitizers.
• Any workers who have tested positive for COVID-19, or suspects exposure to COVID-19 should stay home instead of coming to the jobsite. Out of an abundance of caution, any worker who appears sick to our site personnel will be sent home.
• Meetings with our clients, subcontractors, and other business partners will be conducted online via Microsoft Teams. Those who do not have the Teams application can dial into the call via the number provided on the meeting notice.
• We are suspending topping out parties, subcontractor lunches, and project-related local community gatherings until further notice.
• We are monitoring the availability of labor, materials, equipment, and other items that may be impacted by COVID-19, and also impacts from decisions by local authorities to suspend or reduce services that support our projects (inspections, permits, plan reviews, etc.) so that we can keep all project participants updated on any impacts to schedule, resource availability, and costs.
• We request that our subcontractors, suppliers, and other business partners review and confirm the availability and delivery of materials, equipment, labor and any other items or services for which they are responsible and notify us immediately if any changes should occur.
We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt our policies and procedures as necessary, with the constant goals of keeping people safe and minimizing the impact to our projects. This is a new and uncertain situation for all of us, and your understanding and cooperation with our efforts is sincerely appreciated."
Copper kills coronavirus. Why aren’t our surfaces covered in it? (Fast Company) - March 16
"Civilizations have recognized copper’s antimicrobial properties for centuries. It’s time to bring the material back."
NASCC: The Steel Conference (April 22-24, Atlanta) is canceled (AISC) - March 16
Scott Melnick, AISC's Senior Vice President and the administrator for the conference, said in a statement: "Just as the design community and construction industry turns toward AISC for reliable information and advice on steel design and construction, we turn to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for health information and advice on dealing with the coronavirus. Yesterday, the CDC recommended that all gatherings of 50 or more people are canceled for the next eight weeks and we will certainly follow that advice." AISC is looking into options to deliver select sessions remotely.
5 states close all restaurants, bars in effort to slow coronavirus (USA Today) - March 15
"California, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington close bars and restaurants in effort to slow coronavirus."
CDC advises against gatherings of 50-plus people for eight weeks due to coronavirus (Washington Examiner) - March 15
"Organizers should forgo large events over the next two months to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidance released on Sunday said gatherings of 50 people or more can contribute to the spread of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19 and should be canceled or postponed."
Commercial labs join the race to process coronavirus tests (New York Times) - March 15
"Federal officials said many more drive-through testing sites, along with expanded processing of tests by commercial labs, would help ease a bottleneck."
Payette 100% remote, working with clients 'to find the best combination of email/phone/online meetings to serve each project team.' (Payette) - March 15
Statement from Payette: "As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation, we are making tough decisions around work and travel to do our part in minimizing the spread of the virus.
As of Friday, March 13, our office will be working remotely through at least March 27. This remote work period may be adjusted as more information becomes available due to the uncertainty of the current situation. The safety and well-being of our team and community is our top priority.
We remain fully committed to providing you with the level of service and responsiveness that you associate with Payette, and our goal is to transition to this modified working arrangement with minimal disruptions.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we adjust to the rapidly changing circumstances presented by this pandemic, and we will work with each of you to find the best combination of email/phone/online meetings to serve each project team."
Luxury resorts, tiny homes, RVs: How architecture is adapting in the age of coronavirus (Fast Company) - March 14
"Asilomar, a seaside resort with buildings by famous architect Julia Morgan, is being used as a quarantine site. So is an EconoLodge outside of Seattle. Shopping malls might be next."
6 ways the coronavirus outbreak will affect construction (Construction Dive) - March 13
"Experts predict COVID-19 will have long-term ramifications for many aspects of the U.S. construction industry."
Page instituting 'deep cleaning and disinfecting services at each of our offices on a recurring basis' - Page (March 13)
"Currently, we have enacted restrictions on both international and domestic business travel among our employees and are requiring senior leadership approval for travel deemed essential. In addition to our regular cleaning services, we are implementing deep cleaning and disinfecting services at each of our offices on a recurring basis. All employees have been educated about proper virus-related hygiene and social distancing and are being kept up to date on CDC / other government guidance."
Restaurants Are Getting Creative with Their Home Delivery Options (Bloomberg) - March 13
"To stay afloat as customer traffic drops, restaurants are expanding their delivery options."
As Coronavirus Disrupts Supply Chain, Port Volumes Fall Steeply And Unions Raise Alarms (Bisnow) - March 13
"As health officials and local leaders attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, those who work along the docks that help carry and bring in the billions of dollars in shipments imported worldwide are already seeing the negative impact."
The US lacks health information technologies to stop COVID-19 epidemic (Brookings Institution) - March 13
"The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the crucial importance of health information technology and data interoperability. The pandemic has shattered our common beliefs about the type and scope of health information exchange. It has shown us that the definition of health data should no longer be limited to medical data of patients and instead should encompass a much wider variety of data types from individuals’ online and offline activity.
Moreover, the pandemic has proven that healthcare is not local. In an interconnected world, with more individuals traveling long distances than ever before, it is naïve to look at regions in isolation from each other and try to manage public health independently. To efficiently manage a pandemic like this, the scope of health information exchange efforts should not be limited to small geographical regions and instead should be done at least nationally, if not internationally."
Did the coronavirus just end the apartment boom? This investor thinks so. (Crain's Chicago Business) - March 13
"It’s not clear yet how badly the coronavirus will infect the commercial real estate market, but it looks bad enough already to Origin Investments, which has put more than $241 million in apartment deals on hold."
Gensler: 'In the face of the coronavirus, workplace wellness is key' (Gensler blog) - March 13
Gensler's Global Workplace Practice Leader, Janet Pogue McLaurin, and Health & Wellness Leader, Tama Duffy Day, outline considerations employers should keep in mind in creating plans for a healthy and effective work environment.
AIA pushing distant learning for AIA CES courses (AIA) - March 13
"As concerns about the coronavirus and COVID-19 mount, we know that many of our providers are wondering how they can adapt their in-person learning programs for delivery online as webinars. Join us Wednesday, March 18, at 1:30 pm Eastern or Thursday, March 19, at 2:00 pm Eastern for a crash course about what you need to do for online delivery of AIA-approved courses. We will go through the AIA's requirements for live online sessions, discuss the different technologies available for online delivery, and provide tips and tricks for your presenters as they move from the classroom to online. No registration is required."
Highland Associates has 'plans in place to continue to provide quality services and customer support with as minimal disruption as possible during this time.' (Highland Associates) - March 13
"As Highland Associates monitors the updates of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) situation we want to reassure our clients that we have plans in place to continue to provide quality services and customer support with as minimal disruption as possible during this time. These procedures cover work in the office, on project sites, as well as working remotely in the event that our offices become inaccessible.
First and foremost is the health, safety and well-being of our employees, clients, and colleagues.
In The Office: Procedures have been implemented based on the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Working Remotely: Employees have the necessary connectivity for remote access to our network including CAD/Revit software and project file access, email access, cell phones, and other means necessary to perform their job functions while working remotely. Project meetings, drawing reviews, and other meetings can be accommodated through various web-based systems we currently use such as GoTo, WebEx, Skype, or Teams.
On-Site: We will continue to communicate with our client’s project teams and follow their corporate guidance as to how, when, and who should visit a specific project site keeping in mind CDC recommended travel procedures and the health and safety of all participants.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together during this difficult situation."
Webinar March 19, 1 pm ET: Managing Properties In The Age Of Coronavirus (Bisnow) - March 13
"To cut through the hysteria surrounding the novel coronavirus, Bisnow will be hosting a free webinar for property managers on how to face a pandemic with a cool head and tackle real-world real estate issues. Experts from the Institute of Real Estate Management and the National Apartment Association will weigh in on how to craft a strategy for combating the spread of COVID-19."
Syska Hennessy institutes 'visitor policy as well as the use of Skype for mobile meetings to mitigate the need for groups to congregate.' (Syska Hennessy) - March 13
"For the safety of our team members and industry partners, at every Syska Hennessy office we have instituted CDC and WHO recommendations for our employees. Some of these recommendations include sanitizing stations, health advisory posters, additional janitorial crews and a protocol for presumptive, as well as, confirmed cases of the virus. We have also instituted a visitor policy as well as the use of Skype for mobile meetings to mitigate the need for groups to congregate. All international travel has currently been suspended."
Skanska will hold its Annual General Meeting (March 26 in Stockholm) as planned. (Skanska) - March 13
"We have decided to hold the Annual General Meeting in the simplest possible form. No food will be served before the meeting. Furthermore, speeches by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hans Biörck, and President and CEO, Anders Danielsson, will be confined to two minutes each. Longer versions of these speeches will be published and made available on Skanska’s website, www.group.skanska.com, after the meeting. Questions from shareholders at the meeting will therefore be focused on matters on the agenda of the meeting. Shareholders with more general questions about the company are welcome to provide these in writing to email@example.com."
Rider Levett Bucknall to building owners and contractors: You need a plan to handle issues concerning late delivery, or unavailability, of building materials (RLB) - March 13.
"By now, owners and contractors should be aware of contractual provisions that may come into play. They should have a plan to handle issues concerning late delivery, or unavailability, of materials, as well as potential suspension, termination, cancellation of the contract, or a force majeure event. They should also have a clear understanding on where legal responsibility resides for cost overruns, have clarification on excusable delays, and fully understand coverage of insurance policies.
At this time, contractors and other relevant firms should also have project specific COVID-19 mitigation plans and project/site-specific disaster plans in place. As this pandemic continues, some workers may not report to job sites for a variety of reasons including their illness, illness of family members, or even fear of taking public transport. In the short term, if this happens, it may be difficult to get people to return to construction sites, so contractors may have to pay a premium to induce workers to return. There is also the risk that governments, under pressure to take more stringent measures, could shut down major construction projects, or transportation infrastructure, in parts of the U.S. and Canada.
Given the impact that COVID-19 is having on financial markets, and the economy as a whole, there is a chance that this pandemic will also drive a recession, which will eventually drive construction costs down as contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers scramble to win the reduced number of projects in the market.
AIA postpones its flagship conference: AIA Conference on Architecture (AIA) - March 13
"Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, AIA has made the difficult decision to postpone the AIA Conference on Architecture 2020, May 14–16 in Los Angeles. AIA is currently exploring options to reschedule the event and will update members with details when available."
Humphreys & Partners Architects 'evaluating all options to maintain normal levels of productivity, wherever possible.' (Humphreys & Partners Architects) - March 13
Mark Humphreys, AIA, Chairman and CEO of Humphreys & Partners Architects sent this letter to clients and partners:
"As you are aware, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Wednesday, March 11, that the spread of COVID-19 has become a pandemic, which refers to the global reach and impact COVID-19 is currently presenting. Humphreys & Partners Architects, and its affiliate businesses, is committed to providing a safe working environment for all of our employees. At the time of this letter, none of our office locations have experienced any impacts but Humphreys is taking steps to prepare in the following ways:
• In-person meetings will be limited, beginning Monday, March 16. We will conduct all meetings for the next 30 days via Go To Meeting. We will reassess this policy again in 14 days.
• All air travel will be limited, beginning Monday, March 16. You will be contacted if air travel to your project’s location is impacted and alternate arrangements will be made to ensure our temporary absence from job sites does not affect construction progress. At this time, local projects within a reasonable driving distance will not be impacted.
• Many of our employees have the capability to work from home, including receiving emails and phone calls. In the event we work remotely, you will still be able to call us on our regular numbers or reach us via email.
• It is possible that our production levels may decrease if COVID-19 directly impacts any of our locations. We will be sure to keep you updated if this occurs. We are currently evaluating all options to maintain normal levels of productivity, wherever possible.
• We will continue to monitor updates from the CDC and other government agencies closely.
It is our hope that by proactively sharing our plans it will ease any concerns or questions you may have. Thank you for your business. We wish you the best possible outcome for this unfortunate situation."
LightFair postponed, 'will now take place later this year in Las Vegas, pending improved conditions' (LIGHTFAIR International) - March 13
"LightFair today announced postponement of its 2020 trade show and conference due to growing concerns around Covid-19, shifting industry sentiments and an overall wish to preserve health and safety. The May 3-7, 2020 event will now take place later this year in Las Vegas, pending improved conditions.
'There is no question that the safety and wellbeing of all LightFair attendees come first,” said Dan Darby, show director. “We have been carefully monitoring the official updates and conferring with the leadership of IALD and IES, LightFair’s co-owners, on the best course forward. At this time, postponing the show is our most responsible action.'"
The Page Foundation postpones UniversALL Design 2020 Symposium (Page) - March 13
Scheduled for March 30-31 in Austin, Texas, the UniversALL Design 2020 has been postponed by its organizer, the Page Southerland Page Foundation. The event is a gathering of thought leaders focused on shared community benefits of inclusivity in all spaces
GBBN going 100% remote starting Monday, March 16 (GBBN) - March 13
Statement from GBBN: "People are our priority. We empathize and understand this evolving situation will present major obstacles to everyone’s daily routine. GBBN is taking specific measures to protect the health and safety of our employees, their families, our clients, and our communities while maintaining the level of service you have come to expect from us.
Starting Monday, March 16, our United States employees will be working remotely. Here is what to expect:
• GBBN project teams have the technology enabling them to effectively continue their work. We anticipate the ability to continue our normal workflow without interruption.
• Project managers will stay in communication with clients and consultants as normal.
• We have suspended all business travel until further notice. Should a business-critical travel need arise for your project, please contact your project manager to discuss viable options.
• GBBN employees are being advised to handle all client meetings remotely, via Zoom, Skype, conference call, or other digital means. If you feel you need a face to face meeting, please contact your project manager to discuss.
One additional note: As the Covid-19 situation evolved in China, our Beijing office team was able to quickly pivot to a remote work plan that prevented any disruption to their work and communication. Our US offices are similarly prepared. We are happy to report that all of our Beijing employees are back together in the office, safe and healthy. Read more about their experience here.
GBBN values your relationship, and we are dedicated to keeping you informed as we all address these challenging circumstances."
LGE Designbuild issues comprehensive company action plan to support clients, subscontractors, and employees (LGE Designbuild) - March 13
David Sellers, President and CEO, unveiled the action plan, which includes extra steps like nightly office sanitization by licensed professionals, routine cleaning of jobsite trailers, and educating visitors and subs on CDC guidelines through weekly site
Gensler on how to design office building lobbies to respond to the coronavirus (Gensler) - March 13
Touch-free design solutions and air purifiers can enhance workplace wellness, according to Gensler Managing Director J. Kevin Heinly, AIA, LEED AP.
The Scramble to Make Space for Coronavirus Patients (Citylab) - March 12
"As Covid-19 cases climb, cities may face a shortage of locations to quarantine and isolate people. In the U.S., it’s a uniquely local problem."
Economist: Contractors should prepare for a coronavirus-triggered recession (Construction Dive) - March 12
“The risk of recession over the next three to six months is arguably more elevated than at any period since 2007,” said economist Anirban Basu, noting that the U.S. economy has been defying predictions in an extended period of growth that's seemed too good to be true for some time."
JLL COVID-19 Webinar: Workplace preparedness and remote work (JLL) - March 12
JLL will host a free webinar of Thursday, March 19, at 11:00 AM CDTm to discuss the impacts that COVID-19 can have on organizations and their employees, and how to accelerate the development of remote work programs to enable business continuity as the situation unfolds.
Small Business Administration to provide disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by coronavirus
"SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing."
Backorders and low supplies: Contractors look for workarounds to supply-chain issues (The Real Deal) - March 12
"The coronavirus has hampered the flow of building supplies around the globe."
BOMA launches coronavirus research center with COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist for commercial real estate professionals (BOMA) - March 13
"As global concern over the novel coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) increases, BOMA International is actively working to provide commercial real estate professionals with credible information on how to mitigate the potential health and business impacts. Based on information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BOMA International has released a series of guidance documents to help property professionals navigate this public health concern."
REPORT: COVID-19 - Global Real Estate Implications (JLL) - March 12
"As COVID-19 impacts more people every day, coronavirus contingency planning is of the utmost importance. Explore the pandemic’s potential effects on the economy, real estate sectors and investors and occupiers."
Pandemic Prompting CRE Investors Into Flights To Creditworthiness, Safety (BISNOW) - March 12
"The outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has many investors now reconsidering investments and pursuing the least risky of purchases, buoyed by tenants with credit scores that could promise their resistance in a recession."
Health care real estate could be a coronavirus safe haven (CNN Business) - March 12
"It's hard to imagine many stocks will do well through the coronavirus pandemic. But health care stocks and real estate investment trusts tend to be defensive sectors that investors flock to because they pay huge dividend yields."
Coronavirus Looms Over Crucial Spring Season for Housing Market (WSJ) - March 12
"Uncertainty has economists tamping down expectations that low mortgage rates, strong job market would boost 2020 home sales"
As Global Economy Is Rattled By Coronavirus, Industrial Players Weigh If Their Business Will Be Hurt Or Helped (Bisnow) — March 12
"Coronavirus is already having ubiquitous effects on daily life in the U.S., most of which affect public spaces and gathering. Industrial developers argue whether the pandemic might be beneficial for their business long-term, shifting more behaviors toward shopping online rather than in person."
Pandemic roils city's multibillion-dollar commercial real estate market (Crain's New York Business) - March 12
"Disruptions from the global virus outbreak are enough to put the city’s multi-billion dollar commercial real estate on ice, experts say, and potentially send it into a prolonged tailspin if the economy sinks into a recession in the coming months."
Hotels Are Being Impacted by COVID-19. What Can Owners and Lenders Do to Limit the Fallout? (National Real Estate Investor) - March 12
"There are steps that could be taken to safeguard the financial health of the asset."
Prologis report: COVID-19 and Implications for Logistics Real Estate (Prologis) - March 11
"The disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) underscores the need for resilient supply chains and has become a catalyst for many organizations to find workarounds that could become permanent (e.g., telecommuting/office, e-commerce/retail). Prologis’ Research team took a closer look at the potential impact to the logistics real estate sector and has released a special report. The report examines the potential effects of COVID-19 on economic growth that could in turn affect real estate. It also assessed how the decreased production and movement of goods (and people) around the world have tested complex supply chains."
Cancel Your Trip Due to Coronavirus? Airbnb Refuses Scores of Refunds (Bloomberg/NRE) - March 12
"The start-up’s 'extenuating circumstances' coronavirus policy only applies to China, Italy and South Korea."
Turner creates COVID-19 task force; postposes all non-essential business, events, interstate travel through April 30 (Turner) - March 11
The construction giant's COVID-19 task force is, among other things, "monitoring worldwide supply chains for actual delays that may affect our ability to maintain the schedule on our work."
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat postpones Tall + Urban Innovation Conference, scheduled for 5-7 April in Chicago (CTBUH) - March 11
Statement from CTBUH: "Following the emerging international response to the novel coronavirus, and the fact that colleagues from 36 countries were scheduled to attend to present on their winning projects, CTBUH has postponed the 2020 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference. Instead, the fantastic programming of the CTBUH Awards Program will now be incorporated into the CTBUH 2020 Singapore & Kuala Lumpur Conference, taking place 19–23 October at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. This means that the presentation and judging of contending projects, as well as the Awards Ceremony & Dinner, will take place in Singapore. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org."
PepsiCo closes West Loop Chicago offices over coronavirus (Crain's Chicago Business) - March 11
"PepsiCo shut down its office building in the West Loop today after learning that a family member of an employee there works at a location where a coronavirus case was discovered."
Corporate Real Estate Executives in Asia Say Lessons From Coronavirus Outbreak Will Have Lasting Impact (CoreNet Global) - March 11
"At a roundtable discussion held during APACLive, a virtual conference focusing on corporate real estate in Asia-Pacific hosted this week by CoreNet Global, corporate real estate leaders said that the changes in work patterns in response to the outbreak will last longer than the outbreak itself."
Coronavirus Crisis Comes At A Bad Time For U.S. Shopping Malls (Bisnow) - March 11
"The once-bustling corridors of American shopping malls have already suffered from slowing sales, and the coronavirus outbreak threatens to turn retail properties across the country into ghost towns as consumers shy away from large public places."
Construction Industry Low on Masks (ProRemodeler) - March 11
"Concerns about contracting COVID-19 has caused a run on supplies."
Multifamily Execs On Coronavirus: Keep Calm And Nab Those Low Mortgage Rates (Bisnow) - March 11
"Faisal Ashraf woke up Monday morning ready to work on $200M worth of deals in London hotels when fears about the coronavirus rippled through the world and caused the largest single-day stock market drop since the Great Recession."
A look at how U.S. hospitals are designed to battle infectious diseases like coronavirus (CannonDesign) - March 11
"Some health systems can use telehealth and video visits to asses and triage patients before they arrive at a hospital."
Coronavirus Raises Commercial Real Estate Uncertainty (Commercial Real Estate Executive) - March 11
"Reports from Marcus & Millichap and Colliers International look at impacts on commercial real estate sectors from the growing COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S."
Senior Housing Facilities Should Always Have Been Prepared For Coronavirus - (Bisnow) - March 11
"The deaths of 13 nursing home residents in Washington state from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, brings to light a harsh litmus test senior housing providers across the U.S. face regularly."
Corporate Real Estate Response to COVID-19 - Key Findings From A Worldwide Member Survey (CoreNet Global) - March 10
"CoreNet Global conducted a survey of its 11,000 members to gauge the corporate real estate (CRE) response to the COVID-19 coronavirus challenge and to identify practical steps members can take to support their companies’ effort to ensure employee safety and business continuity."
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Coronavirus sends city landlords scrubbing as events are canceled (NY Post) - March 10
"Real estate organizations and companies worried about the spread of the novel coronavirus are scrubbing down offices and hotels and canceling events and cocktail parties while tenant companies are deploying workers to separate locations."
Best Practices: Property Management In The Time Of Coronavirus (Bisnow) — March 10
"Best practices in businesses usually distill years of corporate experience into a set of guidelines, but with the U.S. arrival of the coronavirus, guidelines need to be devised — and updated often — for a fluid situation."
CRE Fears Coronavirus Will Cause A Recession, Worries About Impact On Construction: Bisnow Survey (Bisnow) — March 9
"Bisnow's survey of 864 commercial real estate professionals shows significant fear over the coronavirus' impact on the economy, but overall, a more tempered view of what the virus' spread will mean for real estate."
Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem (Citylab) - March 6
"Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation."
American Seniors Housing Association releases Coronavirus Preparedness & Response for Senior Living Communities (ASHA) - February 27
"The recent spread of the coronavirus around the world is justifying significant concern among senior living operators, and raising questions about how to prepare for and respond to the possibility that the disease will affect residents, staff, and visitors. This concern is exacerbated by the fact that seniors tend to be more vulnerable to such communicable diseases, and live in close quarters with others at the community, sharing meals and participating in group activities. This article will suggest various strategies that can be implemented to reduce the risk of contagion, identify individuals who may have been exposed to the disease, and minimize the risk of contagion among residents, staff, family members, and other visitors."
Why the coronavirus is testing how companies work (JLL) - February 20
“A lot of people are talking about this as a massive work-from-home experiment, but really it’s more of an inflection point,” says Ben Hamley, Future of Work Lead, JLL Asia Pacific. “While the idea of flexible work has been bandied around frequently and implemented in some firms, especially in tech companies and start-ups, the coronavirus forced many industries in Asia to begin this exercise en masse.” The decisions come as work-from-home policies are increasingly debated within organizations. Technology makes it easier than ever, but there are concerns over hard-to-analyze impacts like the value of spontaneous, face-to-face interactions.