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Construction sites still open - but coronavirus slowing some projects

Real estate projects currently under construction continue are moving forward. But progress is slowing as contractors juggle work needs with health concerns associated with coronavirus.

Three local construction executives talked about how job sites have changed since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended canceling gatherings of more than 10 people.

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Murray Rice, co-owner of the Deerfield Beach-based Richard and Rice Construction, said his company is capping the number of workers on each job site. The cap varies by the job site but is generally 20 to 25 workers. “To help minimize the risk of coronavirus on site we are following government guidelines, issuing sanitizer and practicing social distancing.”

Lucia Soria, president of Ram-Tech Construction, has always had small construction crews of five to six people. Still, progress has slowed for sites where non-crew members may be present, likes training facilities. “The only disruptions on job sites has been not being able to complete additional work in projects that have been occupied. So far, it is affecting my clients ability to complete. I am sure there will be financial implications and payments running late as well as schedules not being met,” she wrote via email.

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“We may lose workers if the virus continues to spread, leaving workforce exposed to fewer workers. This will obviously impact schedules and will definitely hurt financially.”

Brad Meltzer, president of Plaza Construction Group Florida, said his firm has launched an official distancing plan for office workers. “As of Monday, we asked all of our staff to work from home,” Meltzer wrote via email.

“We will have manager and superintendent shifts in which for two weeks one group will work on a job site while the other works from home,” Meltzer said. “In two weeks, they’ll switch.”

“The Trump administration has not closed construction sites,” noted Meltzer. “We are trying to maintain them as best as we can.”

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