Posted March 30, 2020

WOC Poll: Construction in the Time of Coronavirus

As of March 24, most concrete contractors across the country were experiencing mainly business as usual.

While much of America has closed-down in an attempt to slow the pace of COVID-19, construction work is mostly continuing.

World of Concrete (WOC) organizers asked concrete contractors across the U.S. how the pandemic is affecting construction in their region and what they are doing to keep themselves and their workers safe. Here are a few comments:

Chris Forster, VP of Operations for Largo Concrete in the LA area: “We are only experiencing shut down on a few projects in the San Francisco area. Otherwise we are following proper protocols to keep everyone safe. The men and women want to work and are taking the training and updates we provide to them to work with proper precautions. I have used some of the information on the OSHA COVID-19 website in preparing our plan of action. One important note on the site is that construction is in a LOW risk category.”

Byron Klemaske, Executive Vice President with T.B. Penick & Sons in SanDiego: “We have not shut down nor have we been asked to shut down any projects in Las Vegas or San Diego. The Bay Area is another story, they have shut down several projects in parts of that region. On the positive side for the employees in the Bay Area that would like to continue to work on projects that are underway in Vegas and San Diego that option is available to them. We are so busy right now we can use them all.

Steve Lloyd. Lloyd Concrete Services, Lynchburg, VA: “We are still working here but they are starting to shut jobs down. We’ve only been affected by one although I fear more are coming. We’re planning for what’s to come. I worry more about my men and their families than anything else. We are America and we are strong. The thing we have to do is stay positive and strong.”

Paul Albanelli, Albanelli Cement Contractors, Livonia, MI: “We are still working and will continue to do so as long as we are able. We, our suppliers, and our customers are all sending out the recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and state health departments to our employees and to each other. The only thing that would slow us down would be some sort of a lockdown. I’ve heard it may be sooner rather than later although I hope they’re wrong. The auto companies closed down today but some employees were directed to show up tomorrow. As Tommy Ruttura would say, we just have to “keep the faith.”

Mike Poppoff, Poppoff Concrete Contracting, Moxee, WA: “We have not shut down anything in the field nor in the office. As a matter of fact, our winter weather broke early this year and we are busier now in the field than other years.”

Jeff Groom, Senior Principal Engineer, CTL | Thompson Materials Engineers, Denver, CO: “The materials business is alive and well in Denver.”

Clay Fischer, Woodland TIlt-Up, Jupiter, FL: The only project that we heard has stopped is the new $400 M Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal in the Port of Miami, I think that they are trying to figure out how to proceed. The mayor of Miami Dade County has publicly stated that the county would not order construction sites closed. So far none of our projects seem to have felt any effects so far. We put guidelines out for employee protocol in regard the virus. We are also in close contact with our customers and suppliers (no, not physical contact). This is a very fluid situation and it seems like the info changes hourly.

Tommy Ruttura, CEO, Ruttura & Sons Construction: We have shut down our whole company. Things in NewYork are getting out of hand. We have workers who have it. Some clients are upset but I'd rather protect our people. Stay safe--this is no joke, stay home.

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