Operating a business and managing staff while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions has presented many unexpected challenges for business owners. That is especially true in the construction industry, where newly-implemented site procedures have less to do with construction practices and more to do with meeting pandemic compliance regulations.
“It’s taking a lot more of the site time to simply manage the health protocols,” said David Brix, president of Terra View Homes in Guelph. “For example, we had to replace all the porta-potties with units that had running water in them. We’re also sterilizing them four times a day. We’ve got wash stations in garages hooked up from inside the house. We’ve been wiping down all the potentially touched surfaces like doorknobs in the home and spacing out time between viewings of our model home so we can adequately sanitize. Clearly, we have to maintain personal distancing as best we can which has limited the number of trades that can be in a house at any one time. It’s compromising our schedules and pushing closings off.”
Terra View Custom Homes was quick to implement the suggested safety measures to protect a workforce tasked with meeting construction schedules for new homebuyers. That meant adhering to personal distancing on the job and reducing crew, distributing sanitizer and gloves, regularly checking the mental and physical health of workers and requiring all tradespeople to check in upon entry to monitor potential exposure.
As a result, Terra View has received glowing reviews from the Ministry of Labour and Safety Services in Ontario for exceeding minimum standards. Even with those measures in place, however, Brix says Terra View Homes is running into the same labour force problems encountered by other industries.
“Thankfully we’re still able to work,” said Brix. “But we also have less of a labour force then we’ve had before. Some are in self-quarantine. There are also government incentives for people to stay safe at home and receive assistance.”
“Buyers are looking for confirmation from us as to when we can complete their homes. It’s become a moving target. We don’t know what next week will be like let alone three months from now. The best I can tell people is where we are in our schedule right now and what the projected closing date will be.”
Despite the pandemic, Brix says he’s yet to see any real downward pressure on the market, suggesting it hasn’t been long enough for people to drift into panic mode. As a result, Terra View Homes continues to offer prospective homeowners the opportunity to book individual showings that adhere to company guidelines. That means Terra View will arrange for a safe, contactless and private self-guided tour of their model homes, each of which is thoroughly sanitized before and after a showing.
To arrange a showing, call Shelley at 519-249-9356 or email [email protected].