Posted by: Cheryl Savit, Savvy Words for KitchenVisions, Audio Video Design, & Kevin Cradock Builders
Good news, bad news. The vaccine has rolled out, but we’re experiencing a surge in Covid19 cases in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. As long as the pandemic is still a factor, remodelers, subcontractors and vendors must continue to be cautious.
“Months later, we have settled into working in the COVID-19 environment. We continue to wear masks, practice social distancing when possible, and monitor our staff for symptoms and potential exposure. The real difference is that these practices now seem almost second nature. As we have entered the winter with the number of cases surging, we are better prepared to balance the work and the safety of our clients and staff. All in all, this really is ‘the new normal’,” said Jim Lavallee, President of Lavallee Systems.
There are regular updates on the Massachusetts government website regarding Covid19. Rhode Island government website has a link to a video explaining best practices. The residential remodeling industry has been taking the pandemic quite seriously. As the inspectors pointed out in their recent panel, the responsibility of how to deal with the virus has definitely fallen on homeowners and remodelers since March.
Yet the demand for projects has never been greater as clients realize all the ways in which their homes are not satisfying their needs as they work from home, school children from home, and cook and dine in their homes regularly.
“Basically, current jobs are going more slowly than in the past because of Covid19,” explained Kevin Cradock, President of Kevin Cradock Builders. “There are restrictions on how many people can be in a confined space, and it changes from town to town. As things are getting worse, we don’t want to put a whole lot of people at risk. Scheduling is definitely impacted. In the fall, we had some subcontractors with cases of the virus which pushed timelines back. We haven’t had issues within our company, but any Covid outbreaks create a lot of anxiety.”
Juggling demand, coordinating schedules, and communicating with staff and clients have kept EM NARI members quite busy in recent months.
Brad Smith of Audio Video Design has been communicating with his staff regularly throughout the pandemic. His latest email said:
C19 is at its peak. Now is not the time to let down our guard. Just the opposite.
Masks are mandatory in the office and on the job sites. If no one is near, the neck gaiter is acceptable but if you’re going to come into contact with anyone, switch to the KN95 mask we’ve provided. Have it handy.
I don’t want any of us to get the disease. And I don’t want the company shut down for 10 days. Or worse, anyone having the fate of one of our former AV reps who died.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, it was unclear how we would actually function normally and we had to let some great carpenters tend to their families/kids, etc. There was already an industry labor crisis, and then it got worse. What we’re trying to do now is keep our people & partners safe, so we can all stay working. It makes scheduling twice as challenging with uncertain workforce and rocky material supply chains” said Asher Nichols, owner of Asher Nichols & Craftsmen LLC. “Fortunately, our clients are very understanding in these crazy times. They have been very patient and I am grateful they could be a large part of our recovery from a very dark and scary time. Moving forward and staying healthy are keys here!”
A few days off for Christmas and New Year’s Day will be welcome pauses in an otherwise hectic fall and heading into an uncertain winter until everyone is vaccinated.