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Coronavirus

  • 1.  Coronavirus

    Posted 03-17-2020 13:31
    How is your business responding to the impacts of the Coronavirus?

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    Amy Souder AIA
    owner
    Red Iron Architects
    North Charleston SC
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 2.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-18-2020 17:32
    We are in our 9th year of a national, completely Virtual Architectural Practice, so the corona virus crisis has had no initial impact on our ability to simply keep chugging along...so suddenly with the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtual Architectural Practice is proving to be "Resiliency for Architecture Firms".  However, eventually we will of course, be just as vulnerable as all other firms and practice models with the predicted Recession to follow the breakout.

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    Peter Macrae AIA
    Macrae ARCHitecture LLC
    Worthington, OH
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 3.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-18-2020 18:06
    re: Coronavirus.

    All our files are Cloud based so we continue to work without much interruption.  Our fear is that Construction sites may temporarily shut down (as they had to do in Boston). We also agree with Peter Macrae, AIA that there may be a longer term economic impact which remains to be seen

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    Manuel Mergal AIA
    Mergal Architecture & Design
    New York NY
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 4.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-25-2020 13:13
    Kinda like Peter, me and my co-conspirators have a virtual office. 

    I've been working remotely for years so having to "Shelter in Place" has not initially impacting my ability to keep chugging along. Go-To meetings, remote file sharing, and zoom are kind of the norm.
    I collaborate dynamically with other small firm and self motivated individuals on projects we pursue. Bring in different people at different phases if needed. After the project finishes we disband and move on. Low overhead, except for the expensive software, remote storage costs and maintenance.
    Years ago when I mentioned that this is how we worked, some people thought we were crazy (ever get that blank stare?).
    It has not been with out its challenges.
    Thank you to Kendal (see below) for posting the article on managing remote workers.
    It has some great ideas which address some of the problems with remote workers that we have had and how to handle these issues.




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    Paul Richards
    Lynnwood WA
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 5.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-18-2020 18:35
    We are a small firm of 4 people. Last Friday was our last day in the office. I really like being with the employees, it allows us to collaborate and design in real time. I sent everyone home for Monday, and while they have remote access and are doing some work, we are already down to half time or less for everyone because I can't roll redlines and designs out to them fast enough. Our sales numbers had already slumped for a couple of weeks prior to this, so I'm predicting a bad year for our firm and for my ability to keep everyone employed. Only one inquiry since this mess started and it was a 'no thanks'. We do have a healthy backlog of work, so fingers crossed. No projects canceled yet. Virtual work and remote work is fine, maybe I can get used to it, but I don't know how to start new projects if we can't meet with clients, or go to buildings. I don't know how to service ongoing projects. Most cities around us are shutting down - we can't submit for permit, for variances, can't get inspections, etc. I'm sure our owners are going to pull back on their projects. It's sad, because Jan and Feb were great months for us and we were on target for a really good year.

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    David Sisson AIA
    Architect
    David Sisson
    Providence RI
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 6.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-18-2020 23:38

    We have offices in 6 locations across 2 states and have instituted company-wide work-from-home capabilities in response to Shelter-in-Place orders that have gone into effect for some locations.  Other locations are under orders from the Health Department to comply with social distancing requirements and prohibit meetings of any kind.  Conditions are constantly changing so we are doing our best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario at all locations.

     

    Melody Tang AIA, LEED AP BD+C

    Project Architect

    Architecture

    D: 949.701.4109 O: 949.261.1001


    LPA Design Studios


    New Address
    5301 California Ave., Suite 100, Irvine, CA 92617




    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 7.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-19-2020 11:21
    Like many, my employer made the decision last week to close its 3 physical offices (2 in Michigan, 1 in Arizona). Monday was the first day of remote work for about 80 employees. Our primary sectors are medical, education, and federal government work. So it will be interesting to see if our current projects continue, or if they get shelved. Like many, we had a pretty good back log going into this (about 8 months out). Hopefully that doesn't completely evaporate.

    I don't know how useful it may be for you, but I do know that there was a CACE discussion about components' response to Coronavirus on Tuesday. I did not listen in, but you might check out the recording that was posted of this webinar:

    2020_0316 CACE Discussion: Components' Response to the Coronavirus

    Related, there is another webinar today at 2:00pm (EDT)  about how to encourage, promote, and provide online CES courses.There is no need to pre-register for this webinar. Just visit the virtual webinar space up to 15 minutes before the webinar start time, and you will be able to join the event from this page: aiaces.adobeconnect.com/newdiscovery/?proto=true

    I'm guessing these are more component-based discussions, as opposed to specific firm discussions. But the two are inter-related.

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    Shawn Cencer AIA
    Project Architect
    Diekema Hamann Architecture + Engineering
    Kalamazoo MI
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 8.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-20-2020 17:37

    Shawn,  your message speaks well for many architects and other professionals – this is uncharted territory for individuals and firms.  Everyone is working to serve clients and projects in new ways.  We all hope that delays will be temporary.  There is some good news: one of our clients, a very good design firm in the Pacific northwest, reported today that many of their clients are determined to move projects forward, because their long-term needs aren't changing.  I hope that you and others share that experience.

     

    image003.png@01CF1B3B.CD1E9E30

    Clark S. Davis, FAIA, LEED AP

    Principal Consultant

     

    CAMERON MACALLISTER GROUP

    davis@cameronmacallister.com

    www.cameronmacallister.com

    636.448.9227

     




    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 9.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-21-2020 00:22

    Same here. In our first week working from home, I managed to squeeze 18 virtual meetings. Worked hard to them under 40 minutes 


    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone




    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 10.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-21-2020 08:36
    Juan, you must be using Zoom! I encountered that same challenge - trying to keep meetings under the 40-minute mark. It is a good motivator to be efficient!

    On the topic of working remotely, as more and more firms make the decision to go remote (and, as more and more regions issue mandatory movement restrictions), it obviously puts burdens on networks and leads to new security challenges. Our firm utilizes a VPN, the functioning of which is dependent on the individual users' internet speeds and maintaining system security. As much as possible, we have been encouraged to pull local copies of files off our of server and work on them remotely via our desktop or local drives, and then upload files back to servers at the end of the day, to minimize the burden on our VPN. Obviously this works better for certain things (AutoCAD), and not as easily for others (shared Revit models). But it does help ease the burden on our network.

    Our firm also just implemented 2-step authentication on its VPN and other cloud based / internet-based systems that employees need to use from home. We had a string of email hacks in the past 2 weeks, as predatory individuals and groups take advantage of everyone who is now working from home networks that are typically far less secure than commercial networks. If your firm hasn't done this already, I highly recommend that they investigate implementing multi-step authentication either internally or with their IT providers.

    Lastly, many AHJ's are suspending in-person building inspections. A local municipality that we conduct a lot of work in (Kalamazoo, MI) recently asked that design professionals (architects and engineers) start providing a version of their field reports to the city inspectors so that they may remotely issue their construction inspection approvals based on these reports. We don't assume to do construction inspections for the AHJ's; we conduct general construction observations to ensure that the construction work complies with the intent of the CD's. 

    This request, therefore, is a huge liability concern for us. But these are unprecedented times.

    It is important that firms do what they can to help keep construction projects moving forward. Over the past few days, our firm leaders have been working with our insurance carrier and their attorney to develop documents that (hopefully) strike a balance between providing inspectors what they request to conduct their project inspections remotely, while still assuming excess liability. Below is the process we have developed so far. I would be interested to know if other firms have been asked to do this in their locales and what their approach has been.

    1. Contract Amendment: The owner must first sign an amendment to the contract, indemnifying the A/E from any additional liability. This simple one-page form notes that we will charge hourly for these additional site observations. I'm told that it is VERY important that we bill for this time separately from our base contract for liability reasons, NOT because it generates additional fee.
    2. Architect's Report: The A/E will use a modified version of a field report form when conducting site observations for the City. Lots of photos and videos are encouraged to be taken and attached to these reports.
    3. Contractor's Report: There will be a document that must be signed by the trade contractors, explaining that the Contractor is representing that the designated portion of the work has been constructed in accordance with the CD's. This serves the purpose to give them a level of responsibility for these approvals too.

     

    Work with your insurance, legal team, clients, CM, and inspectors to best understand what type of inspections they do and what they may be looking for during this time.  Your CM will know when each inspection is needed. Some common inspections are listed below:

    • Footings – Looking for placement of rebar and anything that looks out of place. 
    • Foundations – Same as Footings.
    • Framing – Studs that are structurally compromised, slip connections, bridging, verification studs and framing meet design.drawings.  Floor penetrations fire caulked in stud walls. Anything that looks out of place. ADA clearances.
    • Insulation – Correct R Value and Sufficient Coverage.
    • Plumbing – Proper Air Tests Completed, Proper Venting, Proper Fittings and Connections, Proper protection from drywall screws, proper supports and blocking.
    • Electrical - Open circuits, missing fittings, proper means and methods, uncompromised, conduit supported within 18" of box, check grounds in boxes, loose connectors, etc…
    • Shafts – Fire Stop of Penetrations and at floors and ceilings. No Breeches in fire containment. Ductwork and Fittings tight, Insulation on ductwork, plumbing, etc….
    • Overhead Inspections – Before Ceilings go in. Pretty much the same as above items. 


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    Shawn Cencer AIA
    Project Architect
    Diekema Hamann Architecture + Engineering
    Kalamazoo MI
    ------------------------------

    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 11.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-20-2020 10:28

    Our offices (MA, VT) closed doors yesterday, moving everyone to a work at home status.  We started migrating to that the week before when several staff who had kids lost day care and school.  We began using MS Teams to enhance communications and have meetings, which works quite well (Teams that is).

     

    We're anticipating some loss of productivity, but how bad remains to be seen.  We have a staff of approximately 60 between both offices.

     

    John Thompson,  LEED AP®, MCPPO, CDT, NCIDQ

    Senior Associate

    DORE + WHITTIER

    doreandwhittier.com

    (802) 863-1428  X253

     




    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 12.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-23-2020 17:27
    In IL we had gov. Issue "shelter n place" at 15:00 on Friday. Thanks for that. We gave everyone 48 hours ETO (emergency time off). Will be remote work and work at office as decided by employee. We found many preferred work at office. Many emails from clients requesting confirmation of continuity of service (USPS, WMI, DOT, et. al.). Difficult times at best. Advised to keep "accurate " time  at home as it may be able to be recovered. 




    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 13.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-24-2020 17:34
    We are in Dallas, TX and have been orders SIP as of Monday evening.  Thankfully we had the infrastructure in place to continue almost with no issues (other than re-working a mindset on communication).  Interesting point you made about "tracking time".  What have you heard?

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    Mitchell Harding AIA
    HH Architects
    Garland TX
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 14.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-24-2020 18:42
    I do not anticipate any additional information on accurate recordkeeping during this event and the potential recapture of those expenses until the Senate passes this phase 3 bill and the president signs it. Up until that time, I suspect everything is fluid. We established an additional job code for billing purposes that bridges time between billable hours and normal regular pay for that pay period




    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 15.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-24-2020 11:21

    Harvard Business Review recently published an article many may find interesting (and hopefully helpful):

    A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers

    https://hbr.org/2020/03/a-guide-to-managing-your-newly-remote-workers?ab=hero-subleft-3

     

    Kendal W. Perkins, Architect AIA

    Apex Architectural Services, LLC

    Natchitoches, LA

     




    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 16.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-24-2020 12:21
    Kendal Perkins, thank you for sharing a very useful article.

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    Manuel Mergal AIA
    Mergal Architecture & Design
    New York NY
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!


  • 17.  RE: Coronavirus

    Posted 03-24-2020 17:48
    My firm has offices in four locations across the country, and we've been dealing with each specific location's challenges as the situation evolves.

    One thing that's helped is having a Slack workspace in place - we set it up about 18 months ago to help keep the various offices in contact with one another while colleagues at different sites work on projects together. Slack is such a critical part of my work now, I can't imagine how we'd manage without it. Similarly, we've been using GoTo Meeting for those shared teams, and simply as a screenshare for working meetings with our consultants and clients.Like a lot of others, we've had some technology hiccups with sharing and calling services, as they've seen such a massive uptick in traffic, but it's still useable. Our weekly staffing/scheduling call has expanded from the partners and principals to a company-wide call, and that's been a big help in keeping our teams connected, too, especially as things have been changing so quickly.

    We've also been blessed with some very knowledgeable and nimble staff who have been able to get the IT logistics in place in a very short amount of time, and partners who saw the changing circumstances earlier this year and were able to proactively get the staff ready before shelter-in-place orders went out.

    We're keeping an eye on which projects are expected to delay or fold, and doing our best to keep our clients informed about what work can continue even during this pandemic. Some of our construction has been put on hold due to local moratoriums, but most of the work we currently have in construction is still moving forward. We're also invoicing in shorter intervals, and above all having frequent communication with all of our project teams and clients.

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    Rachel Oleinick AIA
    Chicago IL
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    Open: Call for applications deadline November 6. Learn more and apply to join the PMKC leadership!