Construction Associations lead the industry with 4-point COVID-19 response

The Hub as seen while under construction in Denver in 2019. Courtesy Rocky Mountain Photography

When faced with adversity, it is often difficult to know who and what to trust when it comes to sources of information and sound guidance. As the commercial real estate and construction industry have been forced to make several difficult decisions during this COVID-19 pandemic, that affect not only their employees, but also their communities as a whole, industry associations have become even more crucial to share and disseminate up-to-date information.

michael gifford

Michael Gifford, MPA, IOM President, Associated General Contractors of Colorado

As the idiom goes that critical decisions should never be made in a vacuum, the AGC of Colorado board of directors, many volunteer members and three other industry associations, have collaborated to avoid industry devastation and continue to serve the broader commercial and residential real estate industry.

Four-Point COVID-19 Plan

Back on March 18, the AGC of Colorado management committee met and quickly approved a four-point COVID-19 response plan. The plan centered on four ways to help the construction industry survive the pandemic:

  1. Keep Construction Open.
  2. Safety and Health – Develop best practices Jobsite Protocol Plan for COVID-19.
  3. Building Inspections – Work with Authorities Having Jurisdiction to keep building inspection/permit services safe and open.
  4. Business Continuation and Cash Flow – Develop and communicate programs to help contractors under stress from COVID-19.

By 5 p.m. on March 18, AGC of Colorado had joined forces with three other leading construction associations as well as approached both Governor Polis and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment about ways to keep construction working safely and therefore open during the COVID-19 crisis. These three organizations include the Colorado Contractors Association – highway, bridge, sewer, water and utilities; Colorado Association of Mechanical and Plumbing Contractors – mechanical and plumbing contractors for commercial and residential; and the Colorado Association of Home Builders – residential development and construction.

Deliverables for Four-Point COVID-19 Plan

The AGC of Colorado Board then created the Keep Construction Open Task Force, the Jobsite Protocol Plan Best Practices Task Force, the Building Inspection and Permit Task Force, and the Business Continuation Task Force. These three groups then developed the following deliverables on the COVID-19 website:

Keep Construction Open

  1. Governor Stay at Home Executive Order
  2. CDPHE Stay at Home Order 20-24
  3. CDPHE Multi-Industry Construction Guidelines
  4. County Stay at Home Orders

Best Practices Section of the COVID-19 Website

  1. Sample COVID-19 Plan and Jobsite Protocol (English and Spanish)
  2. Bulletins on the hardest to accomplish health and safety requirements
  3. Jobsite banner for employee and public education
  4. Statewide Safety Stand Down in partnership with AGC America
  5. Task force members posted on website in response to individual questions from members
  6. HR Information on new federal and state regulations
  7. Ask a lawyer email hotline for HR questions
  8. Three labor issues webinars on new federal and state regulations

AHJ Building Inspection Task Force

  1. AHJ Building Inspection Status Report for the industry
  2. AHJ Building Inspection best practices letter for state and local permitting agencies
  3. Task Force members contact information posted on website for individual questions from members
  4. Added AIA to task force to address permit and construction administration issues

Business Continuation and Cash Flow webpage provided by AGC Associates Council

  1. Federal grant and loan programs
  2. Local grant and loan programs
  3. Ask a Banker and CPA email hotline for business continuation and cashflow services
  4. Request to state and local government to speed cash to contractors via Prompt Pay Program
  5. Business Continuation contact information listed on website for individual questions
  6. Business Continuation webinar series

Communication and Collaboration

This group of four leading construction associations have worked as a team to communicate throughout the crisis with state and local officials to keep construction and building inspections open and operating safely through a coordinated communications plan, in conjunction with our joint government and public relations teams.

Most recently, different counties have extended Stay At Home Orders for different periods of time, as well as mandatory mask orders, temperature taking protocols, and other policies to keep our communities safe. Our group has documented all of these changes for our members as part of an around-the-clock series of updates to keep our industry working safely.

Personally, I have worked on many election and legislative teams over my career, but this was the finest team effort I have ever been a part of. AGC of Colorado would like to thank CCA, CAMPC and HBA for the highest level of collaboration and professional performance under fire.

Kris Oppermann Stern is publisher and editor of Building Dialogue, a Colorado Real Estate Journal publication, and editor of CREJ's construction, design, and engineering section, including news and bylined articles. Building Dialogue is a quarterly, four-color magazine that caters specifically to the AEC industry, including features on projects and people, as well as covering trends…