If there is one thing I have learned during this pandemic, it’s the fortitude our members possess and their adaptability to the ever-changing business climate that defines COVID-19’s impact on the economy.
From week to week, we have seen dramatic changes in active job sites, jobs ready to start, and our scheduled pipelines of work. In mid-March, we at Western Allied Mechanical shut down with approximately 30 jobs within six to eight weeks of completion. When the Bay Area construction industry was allowed to restart six weeks later, completing those halted jobs was our first priority. Additionally, our engineering team had completed a new group of projects that were now ‘permitted’ and ready to start. And around 10% of our workforce had health complications that left them unable to return to work.After weeks of nothing, we had almost double the work to perform to catch up and get new jobs started, all while missing key field personnel. Accelerated deadlines and compressed schedules are something every contractor runs into from time to time, but nothing like we have faced during the past few months. Every general contractor had compressed their schedules to appease the owners. The intense backlog and catch-up has been a real battle to manage, but it is what every contractor faces as this challenging time continues.
In this edition of SMACNews, we feature an article on a New Horizons Foundation project on how the pandemic has affected productivity for MEP trade contractors and how required implementation of new COVID-19 procedures have further challenged our ability to timely complete projects, especially those with compressed schedules.
Even with every challenge imaginable, our contractors are still doing exceptional work. We’re highlighting a few of these projects in this SMACNews, all of which were successful due to great management, effective communication, superior teamwork, and selfless behavior in the shop and on the jobsite.
The new and shifting realities continue to challenge all of us. As I virtually travel the country, I am impressed by how well we all adapt, survive and, in many cases, thrive in the face of adversity. It makes me proud to be SMACNA’s president.