Laura M. Porinchak / June 2020
Here we are, one month since we last communicated, and our pandemic situation hasn’t changed much, at least from my view. As I write this in mid-May, some states (including mine) are very slowly opening some businesses, but I live in a county considered to be a hot spot, so my current environment—the home office—is not going to change for another couple of weeks. On the bright side, I have to admit that my commute is the best it has ever been in my entire career, and I haven’t had to put gas in my car in over a month.
This is our magazine’s safety issue. It’s a topic chosen long before COVID-19 became part of our lives, but it couldn’t be more appropriate for the times. That said, two of the feature articles in this issue incorporate the coronavirus and the new safety rules that are changing construction—and our culture.
While some AWCI member contracting companies are completely closed due to stay-at-home orders, a lot are essential and have remained open. But job sites, construction trailers and offices are all operating under new safety and hygiene protocols. Businesses that are currently closed will have to make adjustments before opening again. The challenges of meeting these protocols, the new ways business owners are protecting their employees, and how they handle an employee who exhibits symptoms or has been diagnosed are among the topics discussed by AWCI member contractors in the article that begins on page 22.
AWCI member contractors in Toronto are facing the same challenges, but many have heard stories of lax safety measures or no precautions at all on some sites. In fact, some workers have walked off jobs they felt were unsafe or put them in danger of being exposed to the coronavirus. Thankfully, the AWCI contractors we interviewed are working with responsible general contractors, and some suggest keeping the new safety/hygiene protocols in place even after the crisis is over. Read all about it by turning to page 46.
So far, one of the biggest hits to AWCI itself was the forced cancellation of AWCI’s Convention & Intex Expo. What a shame, but so very necessary. However, the people still wanted a meeting and trade show, and we give the people what they want (within reason, of course). In this case, we had many useable convention materials and resources, so beginning during the week of what would have been AWCI’s Convention, AWCI implemented “AWCI’s Convention & Intex Expo: Reconstructed.” This campaign took elements of our convention and expo and put them online for a series of weeks. We announced our award winners, hosted education sessions and Solutions Showcases as webinars, and we presented the newest products and trending videos from companies participating in the Reconstructed initiative. This was done for several weeks with posts to AWCI’s website and social media platforms in addition to a weekly recap newsletter that was sent to all AWCI members and attendees.
In this issue of AWCI’s Construction Dimensions is a special “reconstructed” section that groups all these elements; it starts on page 28. Enjoy learning the details of the projects and companies that won AWCI’s excellence in construction quality, innovation and safety awards, and take advantage of the QR codes provided to learn more about our sponsors and free online webinars.
Finally, remember to keep an eye on AWCI’s COVID-19 Resource Center, www.awci.org/covid-19. The page continues to be updated, and more information on reopenings is being posted as it becomes available.