At AmeriConstruct, our team has been looking for avenues to lend our expertise to supporting building efforts related to Coronavirus. We are a staffing agency for the construction industry - www.americonstruct.work.
As we have started to research how we may get involved, a few things have started to become clear. The Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) leads the way in building temporary facilities for emergency patient care. They are also taking the lead in repurposing existing buildings such as conference centers and hotels for medical use. USACE started work in NY a few weeks ago and are moving across the country to the hardest hit areas. As of yesterday, they had built out 85 locations. Someone to follow closely is General Todd Semonite: https://www.linkedin.com/in/toddsemonite/ He's doing a lot of press. Click on the links below to view his recent interviews and presentations.
We're learning that to be involved - at least regarding emergency and critical structures - we need to be aligned with the USACE process. That means that after State's Governors identify sites and FEMA sanctions them, USACE then moves in with its operation. It is then that we could get a foothold during the next phase when the General Contractor partnership begins, and civilians are engaged. Yet, it remains a process that does require some clarity.
Where anyone can immediately help, though, is to nominate sites for local government consideration. Sites must meet certain criteria as Semonite talks about in the clips. So, do you know a building that might work? Bring it to the attention of your local officials. Ultimately, buildings can be constructed by USACE or the State.
For other companies not in the staffing business, but likewise interested in making a construction contribution, it seems that the path forward will also be directed if not influenced by USACE and FEMA. However, Semonite has mentioned on several occasions that he holds the blueprint for the designs, and that architects and builders don't have to wait for him or USACE to proceed. He'll willingly give up the plans. We're interested to learn what that process entails.
More broadly, healthcare construction is on the rise. Though there is some debate regarding what constitutes essential activity at this time, construction projects across the country are moving forward. Note, though, that this varies greatly from State to State and their own internal recommendations or orders.
Nevertheless, those participating in healthcare construction - whether it be tenant improvements or ground ups - can absolutely thrive in this climate. The short-term activity is getting the headlines, but the long game is also at a premium as developers continue to plan for the expected need for permanent structures - hospitals, medical centers, and other related facilities. For example, we were just commissioned to assist a developer seeking to turn 6 acres in Houston into medical buildings. It's a long-term project, but the future begins now.