Builders optimistic in face of COVID-19 disruption

Companies that stay flexible may be best positioned to grow after the pandemic passes
The coronavirus may force a new way of doing business, but builders who manage the changes well could come out on top.

Construction has been designated an essential business, so builders may not have seen the dramatic disruption that the service industry has suffered as officials try to slow the spread of COVID-19.

[Related: Builders’ guide to managing COVID-19]

However, builders and subcontractors are still trying to assess the impact the virus could have on their businesses, and what social distancing looks like for their crews.

Gene Myers, CEO of Thrive Home Builders, noted that his biggest concern has been how building inspections will be impacted. Homes can still be built, but if building inspectors can’t sign off on them, they can’t be closed.

“So far, every city that we’re working in is continuing to do building inspections,” Myers said. “I think it’s really smart for them because none of us want the whole economy to come down to its knees.”

Myers noted that single-family home builders have an advantage because “building a house outdoors is something that can safely be done with some minimal precautions. Fortunately, we’ll be able to continue on, and I think it’s good for the industry and it’s good for the economy because construction such a big part of the economy.”

Brandon Tatta, division manager for Graham Hart Home Builders, a Texas builder with a property outside Colorado Springs, Volta at Voyager, noted that things are changing daily.

“We’ve had to just roll with the punches,” he said.

The builder has restricted access to its model homes and sales offices, and is only conducting virtual home tours. Tatta said his company is utilizing some of the same technology it uses in its homes, like Ring doorbells and Brilliant

“We’re locking our exterior doors and, in order to have access, we’re able to communicate [with visitors] through our devices and kind of screen them,” he explained.

Looking at homes in a new light

Thrive has always focused on building healthy homes, and Myers believes that the pandemic and stay-at-home orders will reinforce the idea of home as a safe place long after the virus is controlled.

Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus is the managing editor of Colorado Builder. She can be reached at [email protected].

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