UPDATED: Monday, August 3, 11:23 am CDT
7-Eleven to Buy Marathon Petroleum’s Speedway Stores for $21B (Globe St) - August 3
"In what is one of the biggest global acquisitions to be announced this year, Marathon Petroleum Corp. has agreed to sell its chain of Speedway convenience stores and gas stations to 7-Eleven for $21 billion in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals."
How the Pandemic Hastened Tech Adoption in the Multifamily Space (Reality Times) - August 2
"In many important ways the multifamily real estate sector, in its zeal to provide its residents with the best possible amenities, anticipated the coronavirus pandemic. Such things as virtual tours, smart technology and online payments made social distancing possible before it became a necessity."
Only 37% of Hotels Have Brought Back Half of Their Employees (Small Business Trends) - August 1
"Only 37% of hotels have brought back half of their employees according to a survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA). Furthermore, 9 in 10 hotels have been forced to either lay off or furlough their employees due to COVID-19."
Litigation, vacant spaces: How COVID-19 is shifting commercial real estate (MiBiz) - August 2
"The pandemic-led closures also are leading to new litigation over unpaid rent and raising questions about the future uses of space, all while landlords and tenants seek recourse."
The Pandemic Is Revolutionizing Healthcare Benefits: Now Landlords Are Offering Them Too (Bisnow) - July 31
"As the coronavirus pandemic ramped up in mid-March, U.S. employers began to worry that their employee healthcare costs would skyrocket. Meanwhile, telemedicine, which before the novel coronavirus was already being seen as a possible cost-cutting measure in employee health coverage, was poised for an explosion."
We haven’t even seen the coronavirus’s full impact on consumers, says this VC (Forbes) - July 31
"While some consumer-facing startups have suffered from the pandemic, consumer spending has actually shown increases. However, uncertainty looms over the rest of the year."
WSJ Video: The Office Redesign Has Only Just Begun (WSJ) - July 30
"Plexiglass dividers and floor decals might not be permanent, but the pandemic will bring lasting change to offices."
Watch the video
Logistics Real Estate Set for ‘Brisk Recovery’ in Prologis Report (Commercial Property Executive) - July 30
"The outlines of a projected V-shaped recession for industrial real estate appear in Prologis’ latest survey of logistics end users."
McDonald’s partners with Mayo Clinic for aid in coronavirus safety (CNBC) - July 30
"Under the arrangement, the medical center will review the company’s environmental health and safety precautions and some of its global standards."
Race for COVID-19 Vaccine Boosts Real Estate in Life Sciences Hubs (Globe St) - July 30
"Hubs across the nation are looking to use real estate to boost productivity as the growth of the global prescription drug market is expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2022."
As Campus Housing De-Densifies, Private Student Housing Owners Reap The Benefits (Bisnow) - July 30
"The pandemic summer of 2020 has been busier than usual for student housing owners and operators. They are preparing their properties for student move-ins under strict cleaning protocols, adjusting amenities and common areas to the new realities and helping universities find student beds as they de-densify on-campus dorms."
Goldman Bets on Warehouses with Virus Spurring Online Shopping (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - July 30
"Goldman Sachs is partnering with Dalfen Industrial to buy 46 “last-mile” industrial facilities valued at about $500 million."
Hotels: Occupancy Rate Declined 38% Year-over-year (HotelNewsNow.com via Calculated Risk) - July 30
However... "U.S. hotel performance data for the week ending 25 July showed slightly higher occupancy and room rates from the previous week, according to STR."
As Some Office Tenants’ Leases Expire, They Are Opting to Consolidate in Fewer Locations (National Real Estate Investor) - July 30
"COVID-19 is making companies reevaluate their office space needs. Some are opting for consolidation."
Suburban Garden-Style Apartments Will Be the Future of the Multifamily Sector (National Real Estate Investor) - July 29
"With their exterior access and outdoor common areas, garden-style apartments hold greater appeal for virus-wary renters."
Space-Starved Buyers Flock To Master-Planned Communities (Bisnow) - July 29
"In only a few months, the coronavirus pandemic, along with a side of unexpected social unrest in some places, has made people rethink urban living. That new fear of density has been boosting master-planned communities."
Can Smart Buildings Outsmart Coronavirus? (Bisnow) - July 29
"Does the latest approach to master-systems integration really offer the chance to make the post-pandemic workplace hum with life, or is it just another big upfront risk for landlords?"
How Apartment Renter Preferences Are Changing Because of the Pandemic (National Real Estate Investor) - July 28
"The pandemic has marked some shifts in the most wanted apartment amenities."
WeWork Sheds Youthful Image as It Lures Big Corporations (WSJ) - July 28
"Co-working company pitches flexibility amid business uncertainty wrought by the coronavirus."
Hines Breaks Ground on Mass-Timber Office Project in Toronto (Commercial Property Executive) - July 28
"The first phase of T3 Bayside, the workspace component of a master-planned waterfront community, is on schedule to reach completion in early 2023."
Once Considered Expensive And Unnecessary, Touchless Tech Tools Are Catching On (Bisnow) - July 28
"Just a few months ago, touchless tools like app-controlled or voice-controlled doors, elevators and lighting seemed too fanciful or expensive for all but the highest-tiered Class-A luxury buildings, but the coronavirus has turned the commercial real estate industry's view of these amenities on its head."
‘Recession Proof’ Apartment Buildings Set for $12 Billion Test (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - July 28
"Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. is marketing $12 billion worth of apartment buildings for sale amid a 70 percent plunge in transactions."
‘We’re in a World of Hurt,’ Sands President Says of Las Vegas (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - July 27
"Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s two Las Vegas properties, the Venetian and the Palazzo, generated just $36 million in business during the second quarter."
Unlocking the Value of College Real Estate (Inside Higher Ed) - July 27
"While the pandemic has created significant financial challenges for many higher education institutions, the campus itself may be the solution."
Why Mall Landlords Are Turning Empty Anchors into Fulfillment Centers (National Real Estate Investor) - July 27
"Washington Prime Group is among the landlords who are filling anchor vacancies with fulfillment operations."
Can Covid Spread With Air Conditioning? HVAC Makers Plan Upgrades (Bloomberg, via National Real Estate Investor) - July 27
"Many of the methods to reduce pathogens have been around for years, such as UV light and bipolar ionization."
As The Eviction Moratorium Ends, Here Are The Bills In Congress For More Rent Relief (Forbes) - July 25
"The end of the federal eviction ban, which covers any multifamily properties that receive federal assistance, comes when a slew of local moratoriums are also being lifted, which places one in five renters at risk of displacement by Sept. 30."
Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All (WSJ) - July 24
"Projects take longer. Collaboration is harder. And training new workers is a struggle. ‘This is not going to be sustainable."
‘Learning hubs’ opening across SF to help 6,000 kids in need with distance education (SF Chronical) - July 23
"San Francisco officials are readying an unprecedented educational assistance program for the fall meant to help up to 6,000 children with their distance-learning needs, as parents and students confront the reality of starting the school year without classrooms during the COVID-19 pandemic."
U.S. Single-Family Rent Growth Posts Significant Drop (Globe St) - July 23
"Prior to the pandemic, the national rental price growth had been a stable 3%."
White House scrambles on nursing homes as COVID-19 surges (Associated Press) - July 22
"Fearing another grim wave of nursing home deaths as COVID-19 cases rebound, President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his administration will provide $5 billion to help facilities counter the virus."
Construction costs decrease for first time in 10 years (Construction Dive) - July 20
"A variety of pandemic-related forces have caused construction costs to decline slightly for the first time in a decade, which could lead contractors to feel a pinch in profits."
U.S. Airlines Face the End of Business Travel as They Knew It (Bloomberg, via National Real Estate Investor) - July 20
"Half the respondents in a survey of Fortune 500 CEOs said trips at their companies would never return to what they were before Covid-19."
Where Are the Top Tech Talent Markets? (Commercial Property Executive) - July 20
"Three metros continue their dominance, while the entire sector looks to weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic."
'The Robots Are Coming': Hotels Adjust To New Reality With Some Unusual Tools (Bisnow) - July 19
"Having to adhere to new, enhanced, stricter health and cleaning standards, and adjusting to new consumer behaviors toward human-to-human interactions, hotel operators and hospitality experts say they expect to see an acceleration in demand for robots to clean and sanitize rooms and deliver food and drink."
Researchers Closer To Understanding The Role Of Buildings In The Pandemic (Bisnow) - July 19
"New research by the University of Oregon and the University of California-Davis points to HVAC systems as spreaders of the coronavirus, though the study is still preliminary."
Post-COVID-19, Could This Be the Next Hot CRE Asset? (Commercial Property Executive) - July 17
"Though many are working from home now because of stay-at-home orders, eventually there will be a return to offices—and people want to be safe getting there."
Days grow long at nursing homes as virus lockdowns drag on (AP) - July 17
"Life has frozen at this nursing home, walled off for four months by a virus that’s zeroed in on the old. And with the pandemic raging outside, there’s no telling when the thaw might come."
How Retail Leases Will Change in a Post-COVID World (GlobeSt.) - July 16
"We talk to a Cox, Castle & Nicholson partner about the retail lease provisions that will change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic."
Booming E-commerce Sales Drive Demand for Industrial Facilities (National Real Estate Investor) - July 16
"Industrial facilities are seeing rising rents and potential bidding wars as online sales drive demand for space to store merchandise."
Occupancy in Senior Housing Hits 15-Year Low on Pandemic Fears (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - July 16
"In the second quarter, occupancy at independent living and assisted living facilities declined by 2.8 percent."
U.S. Homebuilder Optimism Continues Recovery as Buyers Return (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - July 16
"The housing market continued to attract buyers looking for more space and attracted by low interest rates."
Company Buying Gold’s Gym Out Of Bankruptcy Has Business Model To Reshape Entire U.S. Gym Industry (Bisnow) - July 14
"One of the nation's largest gym brands, Gold's Gym, is about to be acquired out of bankruptcy by German company RSG Group GmbH. RSG is an omnichannel brand, known for its digital workout offerings as much as its footprint of gyms across Europe."
Slideshow: Retailers That Have—and Haven’t—Paid Rent During COVID-19 (National Real Estate Investor) - July 14
"Many businesses have put a pause on paying rent during the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have not missed a beat, according to a Datex report."
Introducing The Hometel: The New Hospitality Concept That Actually Pays Rent, Post-Coronavirus (Bisnow) - July 14
"This week the budget hometel concept joined the aparthotel, the poshtel, the student hotel and half a dozen others in the hunt for new ways to claim a slice of the short and medium-stay market."
'We Were Way High': Reality Of Phased Office Comeback Falls Short Of Landlord Expectations (Bisnow) - July 14
"Office space has been open in Massachusetts since Phase 1 of the commonwealth's reopening plan went into effect on May 25, but office workers and their managers aren't rushing to return. That doesn't mean they never will, just that the uncertainty is still too strong."
Why Suburbs, Secondary CRE Markets Will Benefit From the Next Recovery (Commercial Property Executive) - July 14
"According to reports by Cushman & Wakefield and Marcus & Millichap, COVID-19 is bolstering a preexisting shift in commercial real estate away from core markets."
Coworking Outlook Positive, JLL Finds (Commercial Property Executive) - July 14
"The fallout from COVID-19 will pave the way for the sector's rebirth as a multifaceted office offering."
Is there a way to test for Covid-19 without PPE? (Shepley Bulfinch) - July 14
"We developed a unique design concept: a testing booth that allows healthcare workers to administer tests without using PPE or being exposed."
4 technologies for improving building sanitization in a post-pandemic society (Stantec) - July 13
"Changes in building design and operations can drastically improve public health and safety."
Essential protection for businesses (BD+C) - July 13
"Custom protective barriers help keep essential business employees safe."
Researchers Are Developing Anti-Coronavirus Tech Suitable For Buildings (Bisnow) - July 13
"Early in the coronavirus pandemic, inventors and entrepreneurs devised various simple tools to help people occupy space more safely, such as a hook to open doors hands-free and a bracelet that tells users when they have touched their faces."
‘I Can’t Keep Doing This:’ Small Business Owners Are Giving Up (New York Times via National Real Estate Investor) - July 13
“More owners are permanently shutting their doors after new lockdown orders, realizing that there may be no end in sight to the crisis.”
'Tax us. Tax us. Tax us.' 83 Millionaires Signed Letter Asking for Higher Taxes on the Super-Rich to Pay for COVID-19 Recoveries (Business Insider via National Real Estate Investor) - July 13
“A group of 83 millionaires are pleading in an open letter to be taxed more in order to pay for the damage COVID-19 had caused to economies around the world.”
The hottest job in commercial real estate? Infectious disease expert (Fast Company via National Real Estate Investor) - July 13
"Even after the pandemic, the chief health officer could be a permanent fixture in real estate."
Will Luxury Condos Sell in a Pandemic? SF High-Rise is the Market’s First Big Test (San Francisco Chronicle via National Real Estate Investor) - July 12
“Despite the difficulties of selling luxury condos in a downtown neighborhood mostly bereft of workers and festooned with boarded-up stores and restaurants, San Francisco’s condo market is performing far better than its rental housing market, as families put a premium on quality living spaces during shelter-in-place.”
Sam Zell: U-Shaped Recovery Will Likely Begin In The Fall (Bisnow) - July 12
"Real estate mogul Sam Zell predicts the country should be on track for a U-shaped recovery with an upswing beginning this fall, over a year before he suspects a coronavirus vaccine will become available."
Pandemic-Proofing: Insurance May Never Be the Same Again (Reuters) - July 10
"Insurers are creating products for a world where virus outbreaks could become the new normal after many businesses were left out in the cold during the COVID-19 crisis."
The Weekly show: Carbon-fiber reinforced concrete buildings and back to campus amid COVID-19 (BD+C) - July 10
"The July 9 episode of BD+C's The Weekly is available for viewing on demand."
U.S. May Need Another 1 Billion Square Feet of Warehouse Space by 2025 as E-commerce Booms (CNBC) - July 9
“With online sales proliferating during the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. is going to need more warehouses to store hoards of boxes and handle those orders.”
Walgreens Plans Hundreds Of Doctor's Offices At Its Stores (Bisnow) - July 8
"Walgreens Boots Alliance is planning to open 500 to 700 clinics at Walgreens sites in 30 U.S. markets over the next five years. The company said it will enact the plan in partnership with VillageMD, a Chicago-based primary care provider. The clinics will include doctors on staff."
Construction businesses top one cohort of borrowers under Paycheck Protection Program (BD+C) - July 8
"The loans saved an estimated 17,500 construction jobs."
Standards for reducing risk of COVID-19 in senior living communities (BD+C) - July 8
"AIA releases strategies and illustrations for the sector."
Will The Pandemic Kill Demand For Micro-Units? (Bisnow) - July 8
"Social distancing is the antithesis of the tight-knit living style that micro-units and their cousin, co-living, promote. With bars and restaurants shuttered and remote work gaining more acceptance, renters may see fewer reasons to remain in city centers, where most micro-unit properties are."
Harvard will allow some students on campus this fall so long as they take coronavirus tests every 3 days (CNBC) - July 6
"Harvard University is welcoming freshmen and some other students to campus this fall semester but teaching all classes online amid the coronavirus pandemic."
CEO confidence climbs in 2nd quarter, with 70% expecting economic improvement by 2021 (Business Insider) - July 2
"The Confidence Board's Measure of CEO Confidence jumped to 44 in the second quarter from 34 as optimism for the second half of the year outweighed near-term struggles."
Tech’s ever-evolving impact on the multifamily space (RE Journals) - July 2
"Well before the residents of multifamily properties were asked to shelter in place, they sought to shelter in comfort. Simply put, tenants want nice things. They want the best amenities. They want to coddle themselves. They particularly want technology that makes their lives easier, and they are willing to pay for it."
This startup gives renters a financial stake in their apartments (Fast Company) - July 2
"The average young person will spend more than $200,000 on rent, without the benefits of owning property. Now, Rhove reimagines renters as stakeholders to help them build wealth."
For Retailers, Safely Reopening Is One Thing, Keeping Shoppers Is Another (Bisnow) - July 1
"To keep shoppers coming in during the coronavirus pandemic, retailers are getting creative. Art walks in malls, drive-in movies in vacant parking lots and even hosting early morning yoga sessions, in which each participant takes up a parking slot as a way to follow social distancing protocols, are some of the events retailers have planned to attract customers to their properties in the midst of the coronavirus crisis."
Questions Linger About Housing College Students This Fall (Bisnow) - July 1
"The only thing certain about the college housing market is that no one is sure what's going to happen this fall, given the coronavirus pandemic's unpredictable nature."
Cuomo: N.Y. Malls Will Only Be Allowed To Open If They Install Virus-Blocking Air Filters (Bisnow) - June 30
"New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo provided an indication of how malls across the state may be able to reopen, saying this week there will be mandates on how air is filtered in the buildings."
Virtual Apartment Showings Will Play Vital Role in Leasing Process Even After Pandemic Ends (National Real Estate Investor) - June 29
"In-person tours still account for a far greater share of lease closings. But virtual tours help prospective renters narrow down their choices."
The Long, Unhappy History of Working From Home (New York Times) - June 29
"As the coronavirus keeps spreading, employers are convinced remote work has a bright future. Decades of setbacks suggest otherwise."
What Will Construction Look Like When COVID-19 Ends? (Commercial Property Executive) - June 29
"Dramatic change is ahead for the construction industry. Here’s what owners, designers and other stakeholders need to know, says the veteran consultant and author Barry LePatner."
Can American skyscrapers survive the coronavirus? (Fox Business) - June 27
"Coronavirus lockdowns proved many Americans can efficiently work from home."
Going Up? Not So Fast: Strict New Rules to Govern Elevator Culture (New York Times) - June 26
"Small, crowded, enclosed spaces are petri dishes for the coronavirus. But in urban office buildings, elevators are a necessity, so companies are wrestling with how to make them safer."
Infection control in buildings in the age of the coronavirus (BD+C) - June 26
"Controlling future infection spreads could become job one for most buildings and spaces."
ICYMI The Weekly show: The hotel sector's 'competition for cleanliness' and workplace design amid COVID-19 (BD+C) - June 25
"This week on The Weekly, BD+C editors spoke with leaders from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Henderson Engineers, and Shawmut Design & Construction on three timely topics:
• Is the open-plan office dead?
• Misconceptions around advanced infection control strategies like UV lighting and bi-polar ionization.
• The post-pandemic hotel and hospitality market, from the “competition for cleanliness” to the latest trends in amenities and features."
Watch the episode
New survey: Without federal support, hotels face a grim future (RE Journals) - June 25
"A new survey released June 24 by the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that just 18 percent of respondents had taken an overnight trip since March, a good indicator of how the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the hospitality industry."
Coronavirus Spikes Might Slam The Brakes On Space Reopening (Bisnow) - June 25
"To reopen or not to reopen? That is the question for governments, and companies occupying commercial space, in the face of a pandemic that won't quite go away."
Mall Owners Open Micro Distribution Hubs For E-Commerce Fulfillment (GlobeSt) - June 25
"Mall-based distribution centers will help retailers more efficiently distribute merchandise to their online and offline shoppers."
These Are The Top 10 Issues Affecting Real Estate In 2020 And 2021 (Bisnow) - June 25
"This year will likely be defined by its deluge of black swan events, with the coronavirus pandemic, ensuing economic downturn, civil unrest, and sustainability and environmental issues leaving marks on multiple industries."
The Pandemic Might Have Broken The Office Market's Supply-Demand Dynamic. For Now. (Bisnow) - June 24
"You sell apples. Suddenly everyone wants oranges. What do you do?"
Brookfield Says Office Demand Has Increased as Workers Return (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - June 24
"Company CEO Bruce Flatt says companies are leasing great amounts of space to accommodate social distancing."
NMHC Rent Payment Tracker Finds 92.2 Percent of Apartment Households Paid Rent as of June 20 (National Multifamily Housing Council) - June 24
"The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 92.2 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by June 20 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country. This is unchanged from the share who paid rent through June 20, 2019 and compares to 90.8 percent that had paid by May 20, 2020."
What, Us Worry? Multifamily Developers Sanguine About Supply. (Bisnow) - June 23
"Booming multifamily housing production, a pandemic and increasingly difficult restrictions on tours and amenities don't have the sector's biggest developers worried, they say."
How Physical Spaces May Adapt To A Post-COVID World (Forbes) - June 23
"Lots of questions are being asked about how life will change in the wake of COVID-19. Because physical distancing is a big part of that conversation, designers of physical spaces are among those expected to supply answers."
Office Buildings Are Becoming Greener Post-Coronavirus, Experts Say (Bisnow) - June 23
"Before the coronavirus crisis, Hudson Pacific Properties was preparing to roll out a new mobile app for its office tenants within the next year and a half."
Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman forecasts 'big V' economic recovery this summer (Business Insider) - June 22
"Economic reopenings will drive the first bounce-back but fail to completely bring the US back to 2019 levels of activity, he said during the Bloomberg Invest Global virtual conference."
A Multibillion-Dollar Opportunity: Virus-Proofing the New Office (New York Times) - June 22
"Tech, catering and design companies are rushing to sell employers on fever scanners, box lunches and office floor-planning apps for social distancing. But it’s too soon to tell if they will work."
What Re-entry Looks Like in Portland's Largest Office Building (GlobeSt) - June 22
"Unico Properties has a strategy to deliver a safe and sanitized office environment across its portfolio and this includes plans for US Bancorp Tower located at 111 SW 5th Ave., Portland’s largest office building."
Some Types of Office Tenants are Returning Faster Than Others (National Real Estate Investor) - June 22
"Some industries face constraints in how much of their work can be done from home."
Will Pre-COVID-19 Senior Housing Trends Help Fuel a Post-Pandemic Recovery? (GlobeSt) - June 22
"The JLL Spring 2020 Senior Housing and Care Investor Survey and Trends Outlook reports that potential market disruptors are active adult developments and the needs of middle-income seniors."
E-Commerce Driving Industrial Growth Even Faster Due to Pandemic (GlobeSt) - June 22
"E-commerce companies require, on average, triple the amount of logistics property space as brick-and-mortar retailers, according to Prologis Inc., a real estate investment trust."
Can’t Touch This: What You Need To Know About Antimicrobial And 'Self-Cleaning' Surfaces (Bisnow) - June 21
"While antimicrobial metals may actually kill microbes, it can take hours for them to do that work."
America Is on the Road to Relapse Not Recovery (Bloomberg) - June 21
"The U.S. isn’t following the example of countries that have shown what a “smart reopening” entails."
This Is Not the End of Cities (Bloomberg) - June 19
"Both the coronavirus pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement create opportunities to reshape cities in more equitable ways."
The Head of Hilton Talks About How His Business Will Survive (Bloomberg) - June 19
"CEO Christopher Nassetta says many things will never be the same, but people will still be traveling."
For Newly Remote Workers, Small Town U.S.A. Will Lose its Appeal Soon Enough (WSJ) - June 19
“While the promise of more land, more space and less commute may sound compelling, there is the threat of boredom or, a worse fate for many, career marginalization. Working away from main offices also could be more “work” than employees bargained for."
The Pandemic Sent Young New Yorkers Packing. Will They Return? (New York Times) - June 19
"The financial crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak has led young people from elsewhere to leave the city, uncertain if they will come back."
When Will Building New Units Make Sense Again? Apartment Developers Remain Uncertain (National Real Estate Investor) - June 18
"Developers will likely delay starting new apartment projects until they see strong employment growth."
Gyms, Theaters, Restaurants Among Retail Tenants Most in Need of Rent Relief (National Real Estate Investor) - June 18
"While rent relief requests are widespread among retail tenants, restaurants, gyms, theaters and apparel sellers seem to need it the most."
University of Illinois will reopen with face masks and COVID-19 testing but also virtual classes; other colleges plan blend of online, in-person learning (Chicago Tribune) - June 18
"In a welcome announcement for restless college students, the University of Illinois confirmed Thursday that all three of its schools will hold modified classes on campus this fall as long as the masses of students coming back wear face masks, undergo coronavirus tests and practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19."
New data shows construction activity returning to pre-coronavirus levels in many parts of the country (AGC) - June 18
"Association survey and data collected by Procore measure impacts of the pandemic, showing signs of a construction recovery, but labor shortages and project cancellations show industry needs federal help."
AIA releases strategies and illustrations for reducing risk of COVID-19 in schools (AIA) - June 18
"For the 2020-21 school year, districts are facing the difficult task of determining if K-12 schools will reopen this fall."
Once Booming San Francisco Apartment Market Goes in Reverse (WSJ) - June 18
“Rents in San Francisco, the most expensive apartment market in the U.S., are tumbling as the city’s vaunted tech sector sheds jobs and more tenants leave the city.”
Will Contactless Technology Be a Priority for Post-COVID-19 Workplace? (Mortgage Professional America) - June 18
"The workplace is being reimagined to include more square footage per person, plexiglass dividers, and hybrid work from home and office structures and schedules, in order to conform to new health and safety regulations. But what role will technology play, as companies look to reduce contamination on high touch surfaces?”
Hotels See Leisure Travel Return, But It's Still Going To Be A Tough Year (Bisnow) - June 17
"Leisure travelers are slowly returning to the hotel market even though the lodging industry as a whole faces ongoing financial strain from the coronavirus pandemic and a longer road to full recovery, industry experts say."
HOK and Germfree partner to design mobile COVID-19 testing lab (HOK) - June 17
"Access to quick, reliable, and repeated testing has been one of the greatest challenges for businesses, institutions and individuals during the COVID-19 crisis."
Clothing Stores, Not Bars and Restaurants, Took the Biggest Sales Hit from the Coronavirus (MarketWatch) - June 17
“It turns out that bars and restaurants did not take the biggest hit from the coronavirus pandemic — it was clothing stores that suffered the biggest revenue losses over the past three months, with sales slashed by 66.6%. By contrast, sales at restaurants and bars were down “only” 40%."
AIA offers retail and office 3D models for reducing risk of COVID-19 transmission (AIA) - June 17
"For modifying stores and offices with 17-point architectural, engineering, and administrative framework."
Low Office Occupancy Delays Hard Choices About Elevators And Stairwells (Bisnow) - June 17
"Though many of the country’s stay-at-home orders have begun to lift, the return to the workplace has been slow for many employees. Property management companies are finding that many office tenants are being cautious in their return, with building occupancy rarely surpassing 25%."
Guiding changes in the workplace: Past, present, and future (HGA) - June 17
"Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are managing sudden change as they assess the impact on workplace design and how people use spaces."
How Hotels are Trying to Keep Guests and Employees Safe (National Real Estate Investor) - June 17
"Guidelines are in the market, although not all properties seem to be applying best practices."
89 Percent of Apartment Households Paid Rent as of June 13 (The National Multifamily Housing Council) - June 17
"The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 89.0 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by June 13 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country. This is a 0.1-percentage point increase from the share who paid rent through June 13, 2019 and compares to 87.7 percent that had paid by May 13, 2020."
thyssenkrupp Elevator launches forward-looking technologies for a more comfortable and secure mobility experience (thyssenkrupp) - June 16
"To ensure peace of mind for passengers, the company is focusing on three pillars: hygiene, social distancing and touchless technologies."
Gyms Were The Belle Of The Retail Ball. Now They're Going Bankrupt And Leaving Gaps In Shopping Centers (Bisnow) - June 16
"Before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, fitness gyms across the U.S. served as consistent traffic drivers for shopping centers that could no longer rely solely on traditional retailers to attract patrons."
Warehouses Serve as a Pandemic Haven for Property Investors (WSJ) - June 16
"Demand for industrial space remains high as consumers stay home and order goods online."
CFOs Look To Further Trim Real Estate Costs (Forbes) - June 15
"According to a survey released Monday, chief financial officers are targeting real estate expenses for further cost cuts heading into the second half of the year in the latest indication that the expansion of remote work is here to stay."
Without A Trace: For Tenants And Employees, Contact Tracing May Be A Tough Sell (Bisnow) - June 15
"Real estate is in a position to play a central part in the rollout of contact tracing technology: The proptech solutions that many owners have integrated into buildings have the ability to track and trace where building users go and with whom they interact."
Harrowing blame game over COVID-19 toll in nursing homes (Associated Press) - June 15
"A grim blame game with partisan overtones is breaking out over COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents, a tiny slice of the population that represents a shockingly high proportion of Americans who have perished in the pandemic. The Trump administration has been pointing to a segment of the industry — facilities with low federal ratings for infection control — and to some Democratic governors who required nursing homes to take recovering coronavirus patients."
As Young Renters Move Back Home, Lost Rent Could Have Ripple Effect (GloveSt) - June 15
"Zillow said the 2.2 million Gen Zers represent an estimated $726 million in rent payments each month -- about 1.4% of the rental market at risk."
New Chicago Office Building Is One Of The First In The U.S. Designed For Post COVID-19 Environment (Forbes) - June 15
"Located in Chicago’s Fulton Market District, Fulton East (215 N. Peoria St.) is a 12-story, 90,000-square-foot office and retail building slated to open late summer 2020. The newly constructed development is also among the first commercial buildings specifically designed for a post COVID-19 world."
COVID Is Accelerating Millennials’ Move from Apartments to Single-Family Rentals (National Real Estate Investor) - June 15
"Big SFR operators reported slight growth in leasing rates in the months since the lockdowns started."
Assisted Living Looks for an Assist (Bloomberg) - June 15
"Nursing homes have become the focal point of America’s coronavirus crisis, with more than one-third of the nation’s deaths occurring among residents. The outsized attention has another industry that cares for some of the most vulnerable people feeling left out."
Rush to Disinfect Offices Has Some Environmental Health Experts Worried (Bloomberg) - June 15
"The EPA list of approved cleaning agents for the coronavirus includes some that haven’t been proven safe for humans."
Housing Is Hot With the Economy in the Deep Freeze (Bloomberg) - June 15
"A slowdown in construction and a halt to foreclosures squeezed supply, while low rates spurred demand."
Business Travel Won’t Be Taking Off Soon Amid Coronavirus (WSJ) - June 15
"Executives rethink multiday trips and plan for less travel; some prefer Zoom—‘Everybody has the same size box’"
A new report on how campus buildings can reopen safely (Leo A Daly) - June 14
"Leo A Daly white paper suggests dividing students into smaller “cohorts,” and assigning bathroom spaces."
Density Has Taken 'A Complete U-Turn,' Boston Properties VP Says (Bisnow) - June 14
"Dense floor plans, from what we're hearing in the marketplace, have done an absolute U-turn," Boston Properties Vice President of Engineering Danny Murtagh said during Bisnow's Sustainability In Bay Area Design and Development webinar Thursday afternoon."
New Health Guidelines Burdensome And Costly, Kilroy Exec Says (Bisnow) - June 14
"Emerging health guidelines and tenant requests are often stressing landlords' wallets and sustainability goals, a commercial real estate executive said last week."
The Megacity is Dead. Long Live the Megacity (Bloomberg) - June 14
"The coronavirus has drained the appeal of living in Asia’s densely packed metro areas. But reverse migration is easier said than done."
Hotels Are Reopening. Will Guests Have Any Reservations? (WSJ) - June 13
"The pandemic closed more than 5,000 U.S. hotels. To bounce back, the hospitality industry has to reinvent itself as it reopens."
Los Angeles Eviction Ban Faces Legal Challenge by City Landlords (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - June 12
"A group of Los Angeles landlords asked a federal judge to overturn eviction bans the city imposed during the pandemic, the latest challenge by property owners of local moves to aid cash-strapped tenants who have lost their jobs during the crisis."
What It Will Take to Make the Indoors Feel Safe Again (WSJ) - June 12
"Technologies new and old will soon be appearing in offices, airports, schools, restaurants, retail spaces and sports arenas to arrest the spread of Covid-19 and prevent future pandemics."
BD+C launches 'The Weekly,' a streaming program for the design and construction industry (BD+C) - June 12
"The first episode, now available on demand, features experts from Robins & Morton, Gensler, and FMI on the current state of the AEC market."
COVID-19: An "outdoor living room" for senior living residents to safely visit with their families (Aegis Living) - June 11
"Aegis Living creates a plexiglass-wrapped outdoor space for residents to sit while visiting with family members."
Telehealth Gets A Sudden Boost From The Pandemic. Can Hospitals Handle It? (Bisnow) - June 11
"The coronavirus pandemic has given a boost to telehealth every bit as strong as it has for Zoom and other videoconferencing platforms, but the long-term use of the technology is still uncertain — along with its impact on healthcare real estate."
Starbucks to transform U.S. store portfolio and close some 400 locations (Chain Store Age) - June 10
"During the next 18 months, the coffee giant plans to accelerate the expansion of convenience-led store formats such as drive-thru, mobile order only, counter pickup and curbside pickup. It also plans to relocate stores from low-traffic malls to new locations that combine the store experience with drive-thrus."
Despite Essential Tenants Remaining Open, Shopping Center Landlords Saw 40% Drop in Rent Collections (National Real Estate Investor) - June 10
"Grocery-anchored shopping centers collected about two-thirds of their normal rents from March through May."
CannonDesign unveils COVID Shield (CannonDesign) - June 9
"As the world evolves its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, one clear reality is testing for the virus will be part of our daily lives for the foreseeable future."
Contractors hire medical professionals for COVID-19 guidance, site visits (Construction Dive) - June 9
"Now that moratoriums on nonessential construction have been lifted across the country, contractors are getting back to work with new protocols and provisions in place. From tool sanitization, hand-washing stations, staggered work schedules and mandatory face coverings, an emphasis on clean and healthy jobsites is driving a new way of building."
Coronavirus Downdraft Has Airports Scaling Back Renovation Plans (WSJ) - June 8
"San Francisco, Orlando and Heathrow delay or reduce construction projects; ‘it simply wasn’t required that we do it right now’"
New York City reopens nonessential construction work (Construction Dive) - June 8
"Between 200,000 and 400,000 people are expected to return to work as New York City enters Phase I of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's reopening plan. Much of the rest of the state has already entered Phase II or will do so this week."
Survey Finds May Was Better Than April For Commercial Real Estate Developers (GlobeSt) - June 8
"There was only one metric that got worse from April to May: The number of respondents who see delays in financing. Otherwise, coronavirus impacts on projects got slightly better for every metric that the survey measured."
Soon Your Building Might Have A COVID-19 Safety Rating (Bisnow) - June 8
"The International WELL Building Institute has launched a new standard to rate how well a building protects its occupants from the transmission of the novel coronavirus."
WeWork Explores Ending Its Push into Shared Apartment Living (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - June 8
"The company is holding talks about handing over operations of its WeLive location near Washington, D.C."
Trump orders federal agencies to waive environmental regulations (Construction Dive) - June 8
"Through a new executive order issued last week, President Donald Trump directed federal government agencies to waive environmental regulations and to take other actions necessary to streamline and expedite infrastructure projects in order to hasten the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic."
Minimize Your Risk When Reopening Construction Projects (AIA Contract Documents) - Posted on June 8, recorded May 26
"In this video, we discuss risk management methods when re-opening a project and how to discuss re-opening procedures and protocols with the owner, the contractor, and the entire project team."
The Office Isn't Dead. It's Just Convalescing: Nisha Gopalan (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - June 8
"There are many office jobs that can’t be done remotely."
PPP loans now only require 60% of funds for payroll use (Construction Dive) - June 8
"Borrowers only have to use 60% of their loan funds for payroll costs under changes the federal government made to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that President Trump signed into law Friday. Previously, the program required borrowers to use 75% of the funds on payroll, a requirement contractors and other businesses said was too restrictive. For many companies impacted by mandatory stay-at-home orders, the money would have been better spent on rent and other operating costs, they argued."
These Companies Are Redesigning Hospitals to Fight Covid (Inc.) - June 8
"The future of health care may be flexible interiors--quick-to-construct rooms that contain contagion. Businesses are pivoting to seize that market."
Minimize Your Risk When Reopening Your Architecture Firm (AIA Contract Documents) - Posted on June 8, recorded on May 26
"In this video, we discuss risk management methods for design firms re-opening during COVID-19."
Tenants’ Troubles Put Stress on Commercial Real Estate (New York Times) - June 5
"As landlords face rent shortfalls and renegotiation because of the pandemic, lenders are also exposed. Hotels and retail spaces have been hit hardest."
The Only Way to Save Higher Education Is to Make It Free (New York Times) - June 5
"College was already a financial house of cards. Then coronavirus hit."
From New Tech to Rearranging the Furniture, DC Landlords Plot Reopenings (Commercial Observer) - June 5
"At Monday Properties, the firm is partnering with security firm Kastle Systems to launch KastleSafeSpaces, a new tech-enabled, building-wide system to help monitor worker health and safety. The technology will be installed in the firm’s 1812 North Moore Street in Arlington, Va., home of Nestle’s U.S. Headquarters."
JLL CEO Christian Ulbrich talks to CNN about re-entry strategies (JLL) - June 5
"Watch Christian’s discussion with CNN International about re-entry strategies for companies around the globe."
Impacts on the Office Market: CBRE Roundtable (CBRE) - June 5
"As occupiers prepare to bring their people back to the workplace, CBRE hosted a discussion on the implications for the office market, featuring Mary Ann Tighe, CEO of CBRE’s New York Tri-State Region, and CBRE experts from around the world delved into a wide range of topics related to capital markets."
3 strategies to improve the wellness of building systems and gain tenant trust - June 5
"Three operational issues that must be prioritized for every building in order to achieve tenant trust are air quality/ventilation, relative humidity, and building commissioning."
A $30 Billion Property Investor Says Offices Remain a Good Bet (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - June 4
"Karsten Kallevig, who oversees Norway’s sovereign wealth fund’s real estate, says it’s hard for him to see the entire concept of offices disappearing."
The next normal in construction: How disruption is reshaping the world’s largest ecosystem (McKinsey) - June 4
"The COVID-19 crisis looks set to accelerate an overdue transformation of the world's largest ecosystem. We expect nine shifts to radically change the construction value chain, and offer a blueprint for the next normal ahead."
U.S. Recession Model at 100% Confirms Downturn Is Already Here (Bloomberg) - June 4
Now the questions is: Will it be shallow or deep?
Affordable Housing Developers Remain Eager to Build New Projects (National Real Estate Investor) - June 4
"Affordable housing projects continued to move forward in many areas in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, although some obstacles have emerged."
Designing for a Pandemic (AIA Contract Documents) - June 3
"In this video, we talk with an architect, mechanical engineer, and an owner's representative about design strategies for reopening office space in the wake of COVID-19."
Coronavirus Shock Could Upend Las Vegas Economy for Years (WSJ) - June 3
"Pandemic hit Nevada’s workforce harder than any other U.S. state and poses a potentially existential threat to the city’s business model."
The Most Important Word in the Hospitality Industry? ‘Clean’ (New York Times) - June 3
“The world’s largest hotel companies have all come forward in recent weeks to announce new cleaning playbooks.”
Mall Stocks Surge with Shoppers Coming Back Faster Than Expected (Bloomberg via National Real Estate Investor) - June 3
"At North Carolina centers owned by Tanger traffic was at 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels."
Surge In Suburban Housing Interest Hasn't Impacted Multifamily Rental Market (Bisnow) - June 3
"Apartments in the suburbs may not be feeling the heat of a suddenly on-fire housing market as city-dwellers flee to more space."
What Will College Be Like in the Fall? (New York Times) - June 3
"Administrators, professors, a union representative and students consider the new realities of life on campus in the midst of a pandemic."
Show's Over For AMC Theatres? (Bisnow) - June 3
"AMC Entertainment Holdings, which operates almost 1,000 movie theaters in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, said in a regulatory filing this week that there is uncertainty about its survival."
Co-Working Firms Respond to Industry Threat With Joint Safety Effort (WSJ) - June 2
"Pandemic undermines normal use of office space—and the co-working business model."
Perkins and Will, Healthy Building Network advise against the use of antimicrobial building products (BD+C) - June 2
"Even during a pandemic, antimicrobial building products may do more harm than good."
COVID-19 and teaching the next generation of nurses (Clark Nexuses) - June 2
"COVID-19 hasn’t just upended healthcare delivery, the workplace, and all levels of education – the economic toll is still being realized – and capital projects on college and university campuses will inevitably be impacted as public and privately funded projects adjust to the budget crunch."
5 ways to improve hand washing and minimize germs in public restrooms (Bradley Corp.) - June 2
"Bradley Corp. offers five upgrades to make public restrooms more sanitary."
Related CEO Jeff Blau On Retail's Reckoning And Why He ‘Vehemently’ Disagrees Remote Work Is Here To Stay (Bisnow) - June 1
“I believe that people don't really like working from home, and I think it's not productive,” Blau told Bisnow in an interview Monday. “There's lots of distractions at home and bad WiFi and kids to take care of and dogs that bark. … As we look past this year, I think that people will return back to the office in droves.”
The Spectacular Rise and Fall of WeWork (Bloomberg) - June 1
"In less than one year, WeWork went from having a $47 billion valuation and being the darling of the venture capital world to needing an $8 billion infusion to avoid running out of money. This is the story of how we got here."
Watch the video
Office Owners Are In No Hurry For Tenants To Return (Bisnow) - June 1
"Owners of office buildings that have stood mainly vacant since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March say they aren't in a rush to see their tenants return when they are permitted to do so by government officials."
Sign Here First: U.S. Salons, Gyms, Offices Require Coronavirus Waivers (Reuters) - June 1
"From hair salons and recreation centers to stock exchanges and wedding photographers, the notices have sprung up across the country, asking guests to acknowledge they might contract a disease that has so far killed over 100,000 Americans."
Chain restaurants have permanently closed over 500 locations so far in 2020. Here's the full list. (Business Insider) - May 31
"It has begun. As soon as the pandemic hit, restaurant-industry experts knew that many restaurants wouldn't make it through. On April 1, UBS predicted that one in five restaurants may close as a result of the pandemic."
Office Space Demand to Decrease, NAIOP Predicts (Commercial Property Executive) - June 1
"In a just-released forecast, NAIOP predicts net negative U.S. office market absorption for the next four quarters."
Moody's: Expect more coronavirus-induced project delays (Construction Dive) - June 1
"Some types of construction projects historically have been prone to delays, and thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, those delays are about to get worse, according to a Moody's Analytics REIS analysis."
As Stores Reopen, How Quickly Will Retail Recover? (Commercial Property Executive) - June 1
"Marcus & Millichap’s latest report details how the sector was forced to adjust to the COVID-19 crisis and how the reopenings may play out."
New CDC Guidelines Would Remake Office Space (Bisnow) - May 31
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued recommendations for the reopening of office space that cover a wide of array of steps it says will slow the spread of the coronavirus. If implemented, the recommendations would markedly change the look and feel of office space."
A welcoming entry-point for wellness screening anywhere (BD+C) - May 30
"Modular WorkWell ecosystem can process up to 40 people per minute."
House-passed bill making needed improvements to paycheck protection program will allow construction firms to save more jobs (AGC) - May 29
"Construction official urges senate and White House to quickly pass and sign into law the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act."
Not So Fast: Plexiglass Cubes Can’t Solve Coronavirus Conundrum (Bisnow) - May 29
"Due to the coronavirus pandemic, plastic partitions between desks are “hot right now.” From Cushman & Wakefield to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, recommendations are pouring forth for how the owners and managers of buildings — offices, casinos, even schools — should rework their floor plans so as to stop the spread of the coronavirus with see-through barriers. Plexiglass companies are overwhelmed with orders accordingly."
Hotels Race To Install Hottest New Tech For Post-Pandemic Travelers (Bisnow) - May 28
"When travelers return, hotels will be different places, replete with new technology used to provide a safer post-pandemic environment, hotel operators and other experts say."
Black & Veatch, DPR, Haskell, McCarthy launch COVID-19 construction safety coalition (NEXT Coalition) - May 29
"The NEXT Coalition will challenge engineering and construction firms to enhance health and safety amid the Coronavirus pandemic."
Cushman & Wakefield report examines work-at-home pros and cons (BD+C) - May 28
"The office, now part of a larger workplace ecosystem, still reinforces employees’ connections with their companies."
Rent Deferral In the Time of COVID-19 (Commercial Property Executive) - May 28
"When it comes to tenants that cannot pay rent, owners need to apply empathy as well as solid legal counsel, according to Jonathan Hipp of Avison Young."
Cushman & Wakefield CEO Brett White on workplace return (CNBC) - May 28
"Brett White, executive chairman and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield, joins “Squawk on the Street” to discuss employees returning to their office spaces."
In a Post-COVID World, Office Landlords May Be More Willing to Offer Short-Term, Flexible Leases (National Real Estate Investor) - May 27
"As corporate tenants figure out how much space they may need in the long term, office landlords have little choice but to be flexible."
One-way halls, lunch at desk, playing alone. L.A. schools could reopen with stark rules (Los Angeles Times) - May 27
"Sixteen students to a class. One-way hallways. Students lunch at their desks. Children could get one ball to play with — alone. Masks are required. A staggered school day brings on new schedules to juggle. These campus scenarios could play out based on new Los Angeles County school reopening guidelines released Wednesday."
Finding Durable Employment Sectors During a Pandemic (Commercial Property Executive) - May 27
"Yardi Matrix looks at which U.S. metros have the highest concentration of positions in finance, professional and technical services, and government—sectors that have lost the lowest proportion of jobs."
An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters (New York Times) - May 27
"The economic downturn is shaping up to be particularly devastating for renters, who are more likely to be lower-income and work hourly jobs cut during the pandemic."
Coronavirus has affected construction the most in these 10 states (Construction Dive) - May 27
Vermont, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania lead the list of states that lost the most construction employment.
Harvard University's plan for managing construction’s return to a ‘new normal’ (The Harvard Gazette) - May 26
"When students, faculty, and other personnel vacated campus in late March, Harvard’s lecture halls, offices, and community spaces weren’t the only areas left empty. The University’s many capital projects also had to quickly pivot from normal operations and leave sites across campus after Boston and Cambridge temporarily halted construction work to protect public health."
Dimon says U.S. has good chance for rapid economic recovery (Crain's Chicago Business) - May 27
“The government has been pretty responsive, large companies have the wherewithal, hopefully we’re keeping the small ones alive.”
Why Remote Work Is So Hard—and How It Can Be Fixed (The New Yorker) - May 27
"The challenges aren’t just technological. They’re managerial."
Boeing and Airbus Study How Coronavirus Behaves During Air Travel (WSJ) - May 27
"Industry is working to curb pandemic risks that have brought air traffic to a near standstill."
Multifamily developers report mounting delays in permitting and starts due to coronavirus pandemic (NMHC) - May 27
"The good news is that labor availability is on the rise, possibly due to better benefits and incentives."
9 tips for mastering virtual public meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic (BD+C) - May 27
"Making a presentation to public officials and community groups via Zoom, vimeo, or another virtual platform takes special preparation."
Fitness Clubs Facing $10 Billion Revenue Hit as Members Flee (Bloomberg, National Real Estate Investor) - May 26
"A survey of 1,000 fitness club users showed more than a third have cancelled or plan to cancel their gym memberships."
How Will the Popularity of Online Grocery Deliveries Play Out for the Cold Storage Sector? (National Real Estate Investor) - May 26
"A surge in cold storage demand is expected to last. But exactly how it will play out is still an open question."
The Price of a Virus Lockdown: Economic ‘Free Fall’ in California (WSJ) - May 26
"California’s strengths — as a hub for commerce, tourism and education in the Pacific Rim — have become liabilities in the pandemic."
Why Experts Expect Challenges Pricing Student Housing (GlobeSt) - May 26
"Fundamental differences in student housing will make pricing student housing assets more challenging than traditional apartments."
For colleges and students, COVID presents a game of chicken (Bloomberg via Crain's Chicago Business) - May 26
"Institutions want students to sign up and pay tuition deposits. Students wonder if it's worth shelling out tens of thousands for what could be a largely online experience. Who will swerve?"
Only 12% of U.S. workers want to work from home full-time. Most want to return to the workplace, but with critical changes (Gensler) - May 26
"The lessons learned from the experience of working from home during COVID-19 offer an unprecedented opportunity to rethink the future of the physical workplace. Only one in ten U.S. office workers had worked from home regularly before this experience, and less than a third had the choice to work from home. While many of the effects of COVID-19 on the workplace are still unfolding, some points are emerging clearly from our data:
1) Most workers want to come back to the office.
2) Workers expect crucial changes to the workplace before they’re comfortable returning."
69% of contractors report having a project canceled or delayed since the start of the outbreak in early March (AGC) - May 26
"AGC’s latest industry survey found that more than two-thirds (69%) of the 742 respondents report having a project canceled or delayed since the start of the outbreak in early March. An increasing share of respondents reported that projects they expected to start in June or later had been canceled: 24 percent in the May 18-21 survey, compared to 20 percent in the association’s May 4-7 survey and 16 percent in the April 20-23 survey. Project cancellations have forced 30 percent of firms to furlough or terminate employees. But an equal share has added workers, including some firms that laid off employees earlier, according to the survey."
OSHA Reverses Course and Now Requires Employers to Track COVID-19 Cases (NAHB) - May 26
"The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration this week announced a significant reversal of previous policy on an employer’s obligation to record work-related cases of COVID-19 on OSHA injury and illness logs. The new requirements go into effect Tuesday, May 26."
ULI Forecasts Strong CRE Growth to Return in 2022 (Commercial Property Executive) - May 26
"Despite numerous uncertainties, economic and real estate recovery should begin in the second half of 2020, followed by stronger growth in 2021 and significant growth in 2022, according to the Urban Land Institute’s semi-annual Real Estate Economic Forecast.
The three-year “consensus” forecast measures 27 economic and real estate factors and represents the average of forecasts from 39 economists/analysts at 35 real estate organizations. The 17th semi-annual forecast was based on responses collected from May 1 to May 18.
Mechanics liens up 40% as COVID-19 pandemic disrupts industry (Construction Dive) - May 26
"U.S. mechanics lien filings have risen significantly since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all but the most essential projects in many states, according to notice and lien service provider Levelset. The number of liens filed through March 2020 jumped 40% since January."
Biggest U.S. Mall Is Two Months Delinquent on $1.4 Billion Loan (Bloomberg, National Real Estate Investor) - May 26
"The Mall of America missed two months of payments on a $1.4 billion CMBS loan."
Will Remote Working Spell the Demise of the Office Sector? (National Real Estate Investor) - May 26
"While some tech and banking firms are considering major shifts to permanent work-from-home policies, offices will still be around."
Coworking’s Digital Alternatives in Coronavirus Times (Commercial Property Executive) - May 20
"Shared space operators are navigating the coronavirus pandemic by providing new types of memberships and other flexible solutions."
How Much Further Could U.S. Retail Rents Drop? (National Real Estate Investor) - May 20
"Estimates range from declines of 8.5 percent to 13.0 percent through 2020."
Designing a health facility for the next pandemic (BD+C) - May 22
"Planning with intent is the key to readiness, states Epstein Ulen Architects, the guide’s author."
Healthcare designers look to the future of medical facilities in light of coronavirus pandemic (BD+C) - May 22
"The American College of Healthcare Architects (ACHA) has released the key findings of a survey of its members revealing their insights on the future of healthcare architecture and the role of design in the context of the COVID-19 healthcare crisis."
“The Weekly,” a live streaming program for the design and construction industry, debuts May 28 (BD+C) - May 22
Experts from Perkins Eastman and FMI will be interviewed by the editors of Building Design+Construction in this new fast-paced online program for the AEC sector.
Creepy Technologies Invade European Post-Pandemic Workplaces (Bloomberg, National Real Estate Investor) - May 20
"Businesses are walking a fine line between keeping people safe and protecting their privacy."
Facebook’s Offices Will Be 75% Quieter When They Reopen In July (Forbes) - May 20
“Facebook is introducing a raft of social distancing measures in its offices as it prepares to welcome a limited number of employees back from July 6, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg.”
U.S. Hotel Market Now At A Standstill (Bisnow) - May 20
"U.S. hotel sales have dropped to historic lows, with fewer than 10 properties trading hands nationwide in April, Real Capital Analytics reports."
Trust CEO: Hotel Operators Not 'Receiving Any Income For The Remainder Of Year Of Any Kind' (Bisnow) - May 18
"Trust Hospitality CEO Richard Millard said the coronavirus has eliminated his company's revenue. Trust operates 31 boutique hotels, and as an operator, he said 2021 might be the next time his company takes in revenue."
Here’s what Designers and Architects Anticipate Schools Will Look Like in the Fall and After COVID-19 (Spaces4Learning) - May 20
Spaces4Learning, which covers trends in educational facilities design and management, asked designers and architects from across the country what they anticipate classrooms will look like in the fall if they were to reopen, how the coronavirus will impact school design in the long-term, and suggestions on design concepts schools can implement right away to help with social distancing in facilities. Their answers offer insight to available design options and possibilities that can help school leaders plan and make the best decisions for their students and staff.
Why Multifamily Rents are Holding Up Better than Expected (National Real Estate Investor) - May 19
"A feared collapse in apartment rent collections amid the COVID-19 shutdowns has failed to materialize. But can that streak last?"
Contractors challenged by lack of labor, jobsite tension and delays (Construction Dive) - May 19
"In most jurisdictions, projects are coming back on line, and construction managers are struggling to fill jobs. There are several factors suppressing skilled labor across the country, according to panelist Bob Majerus, vice president and general counsel for Hensel Phelps."
Fever Checks and Quarantine Dorms: The Fall College Experience? (New York Times) - May 19
"We listened as University of Kentucky administrators discussed bringing students back to campus, providing a glimpse into what other schools might do in the fall."
8 Ways COVID-19 Will Change Architecture (Architizer) - May 19
"The way we design, build and inhabit cities may never be the same."
Landlords Fume as Starbucks, Other Chains Seek Extended Rent Cuts (WSJ) - May 19
"Property owners are generally reluctant to offer relief because of accounting rules, effect on ability to get loans."
Loaded with Cash, Real Estate Buyers Wait for Sellers to Crack (Bloomberg) - May 19
"Private equity firms across the globe hold an estimated $328 billion in dry powder for real estate deployment."
WeWork Wants a Rent Break. Its Customers Do, Too. (New York Times) - May 18
"Some who rent space from the troubled company say it has not been generous with them even as it seeks concessions from building owners."
How the Restaurant Consumer Will Change in a Post-COVID-19 World (Nation’s Restaurant News) - May 18
"Financial pressures and fears around health and safety are predicted to shape purchasing behavior for years to come."
Infection control in office buildings: Preparing for re-occupancy amid the coronavirus (BD+C) - May 18
"Making workplaces safer will require behavioral resolve nudged by design."
Gilbane's Supply Chain Update: Lead Times and Prices
The table above was assembled by Joe Piro, Gilbane Building Company's Vice President and Director of Supply Chain Management. The table shows lead times and price impacts to common materials as of May 15, 2020.
COVID-19 will cause North America construction output to fall by $122.4bn in 2020 (GlobalData) - May 18
"Amid the rapid decline in demand for new projects and safety regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, construction output in North America is now anticipated to fall by 6.6% in 2020, which is equivalent to $122.4bn, and down sharply from the previously expected rise of 0.6% prior to the outbreak (+$12bn), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company."
Dump on Your Office All You Like. You’ll Miss It When It’s Gone. (New York Times) - May 17
"Your workplace shaped your identity in ways you never knew."
Coronavirus will end the golden age for college towns (Crain's Chicago Business) - May 17
"These engines of regional growth will struggle with state funding cuts, fewer foreign students and destroyed household finances."
Most Employers in CBRE Study Favor Phased Return to Workplace, Adding Touchless Tech, Restricting Visitors (CBRE) - May 15
"New CBRE analysis across the globe shows many companies have implemented return-to-work guidelines stricter than local government requirements."
NMHC Rent Payment Tracker Finds 87.7 Percent of Apartment Households Paid Rent as of May 13 (National Multifamily Housing Council) - May 15
"The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 87.7 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by May 13 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country. This is a 2.1-percentage point decrease in the share who paid rent through May 13, 2019 and compares to 85.0 percent that had paid by April 13, 2020. These data encompass a wide variety of market-rate rental properties across the United States, which can vary by size, type and average rental price."
AI Cameras Police Social Distancing at Work (WSJ) - May 15
“Coronavirus concerns lead companies to repurpose sensors that monitor office space, but privacy experts worry about mission creep.”
Construction Starts Show Sharp Contraction in April (Dodge Data & Analytics) - May 14
"Total construction starts declined 25% from March to April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $572.2 billion as COVID-19 and economic recession hit the construction sector. In April, nonresidential building starts fell 37% from March, while residential dropped 25%. The decline in nonbuilding construction starts was more tepid, falling just 5% due to strong activity in streets and bridges."
Commercial Real Estate’s Survival Plan Looks a Lot Like WeWork (Bloomberg) - May 14
"Landlords were already beginning to offer shorter, more flexible office leases. The pandemic is accelerating all of those plans."
Even the Pandemic Can’t Kill the Open-Plan Office (CityLab) - May 14
"Even before coronavirus, many workers hated the open-plan office. Now that shared work spaces are a public health risk, employers are rethinking office design."
Twitter Says It’s Keeping All Its Office Space, Despite Forever Work-From-Home Policy (Bisnow) - May 14
"Twitter may be allowing all its employees to work from home forever, but it doesn't have any plans to reduce its office footprint, the company told Bisnow Thursday."
Class A Meet Plan B: How the Coronavirus Could Impact NYC’s Newly Built Office Space (Commercial Observer) - May 14
"The outlook for new office space just got a whole lot more complicated."
‘Too early to write the epitaph’ for office real estate, UBS analyst says (CNBC) - May 14
"In a new forecast, CBRE predicts that after hitting $35.66 per square foot per year in the first quarter of 2020, the average office rent will hit a low of $33.23 in the fourth quarter and then gradually recover by the first quarter of 2022."
Some Hotel Developers Start Considering Whether to Abandon Construction Projects (National Real Estate Investor) - May 13
"With tourism imploding and lenders wary, some hotels under construction are no longer worth completing."
ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator falls in April; Contractor Confidence rebounds from historic lows (ABC) - May 13
"Nonresidential construction backlog is down 0.4 months compared to the March 2020 ABC survey and 1.7 months from April 2019."
Understanding the touchless workplace (Gensler) - May 13
"In the workplace, digital solutions and platforms have eliminated some of the noise by improving guest check-in, conference room booking, company communications, wayfinding, food and beverage service, and more."
Designing resilient libraries for a post-covid world (GBBN) - May 13
"As architects, it has been especially interesting to see how public libraries have deployed their physical resources and spaces to continue serving their communities despite these closures."
As businesses prepare to re-open, new NFPA checklist helps building owners and facility managers ensure fire and life safety for all occupants (NFPA) - May 12
"The newly available checklist reflects the latest in a series of COVID-19 related resource developed by NFPA to address fire and life safety issues, concerns, and challenges that have emerged over the past couple of months."
On demand webinar: NIBS COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall - Preparing for Reentering Buildings (National Institute of Building Sciences) - May 12
One May 7, the National Institute of Building Sciences hosted a Virtual Town Hall with leaders from across the built environment to address concerns regarding building safety around COVID-19. Stakeholders discussed preparing for safely opening businesses and offices again to workforce and customers. Topics covered will include:
* Re-population of commercial buildings
* HVAC systems and air circulation
* Public transit and other public infrastructure needs
* Pandemics and the future of cities
* Sanitation standards
Watch the video
Reopening the Coronavirus-Era Office: One-Person Elevators, No Cafeterias (WSJ) - May 12
“Welcome back to work. The corporate cafeteria is closed. The coffee makers are unplugged. And the desks are separated by plastic. Every part of office life is being re-examined in the era of Covid-19."
Experts offer a 13-point plan to reduce coronavirus deaths in nursing homes (Perkins Eastman) - May 11
"Two nationally recognized experts in the design of senior living facilities offer a 13-point plan to protect our frailest citizens."
Wall Street Bets Virus Meltdown Gives Landlords a Chance to Grow (WSJ) - May 11
“Wall Street’s wager on high-earning suburban renters is paying off, and it is raising its stakes. Investors are flocking to America’s mega landlords, drawn by signs the companies that emerged from last decade’s foreclosure crisis owning huge pools of rental houses are weathering the economic shutdown far better than feared."
Vacation real-estate markets are ‘toast’ because of the pandemic as Airbnb owners rush to offload their homes, Redfin CEO says (MarketWatch) - May 11
"As the company reopens its iBuying division, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman sees opportunity for iBuyers in beach towns."
The Good News About Rent Might Not Be So Good (CityLab) - May 11
"Momentum is building in Congress around a bill that would authorize $100 billion in rental aid for low-income families who are most at risk of losing their homes, writes Kriston Capps, but the White House has other ideas."
Dodge Momentum Index Trips on COVID-19 in April (Dodge Data & Analytics) - May 11
"The Dodge Momentum Index moved 6.0% lower in April to 135.9 (2000=100) from the revised March reading of 144.5. The Momentum Index, issued by Dodge Data & Analytics, is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. Both components of the Momentum Index pulled back during the month – the commercial component fell 7.6%, while the institutional component dropped 3.2%."
NMHC Rent Payment Tracker Finds 80.2% of Apartment Households Paid Rent as of May 6 (National Multifamily Housing Council) - May 11
"The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC)’s Rent Payment Tracker found 80.2 percent of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by May 6 in its survey of 11.4 million units of professionally managed apartment units across the country."
How Might the COVID-19 Change Architecture and Urban Design? (Common Edge) - May 10
"In the wake of the global pandemic crisis, there’s been speculation about how architecture, urban planning, and design might be permanently affected. Ashraf M. Salama, a professor at the Department of Architecture, University of Strathclyde, in Glasgow, Scotland, and the director of the university’s Cluster for Research in Architecture and Urbanism of Cities in the Global South, has been following how these disciplines might be changing."
‘This Is The Moment’: Tenant Advocates Look To Use Economic Pain To Make Gains (Bisnow) - May 10
"While a feared collapse — or a mass strike — in residential rent and mortgage payments didn't materialize this month, housing activists plan to keep the pressure on all levels of government to cancel monthly housing payments until the pandemic has subsided."
OZ Architecture releases insight report on future of senior living design (OZ Architecture) - May 8
"Report provides design solutions that can help reduce germ transmission in older adult communities."
While Luxury Buyers Chase ‘COVID Discount,' Developers Insist Prices Can't Go Any Lower (Bisnow) - May 8
"Developers in New York City with pricey luxury apartments to sell were facing an uphill battle in 2020, faced with a supply glut and waning demand. The hill has only gotten steeper the last two months."
Construction industry loses 975,000 jobs in April as new association survey shows deteriorating demand for construction projects (AGC) - May 8
"Construction employment declined by 975,000 jobs in April as a new survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and data from construction technology firm Procore show deteriorating demand for construction, officials with the association announced today. The new economic data underscores the need for new federal measures to help the construction industry recover, including infrastructure funding, safe harbor provisions and fixes to the Paycheck Protection Program guidance, association officials added."
Is the use of office space ever going to be what it once was? (CNBC) - May 7
"CBRE CEO Bob Sulentic discussed the outlook for commercial real estate, including future office space demand, on CNBC's 'Power Lunch' program."
The Pandemic Is Changing How The Next Wave Of Apartment Amenities Will Be Designed (Bisnow) - May 7
"The coronavirus pandemic is forcing a rethinking of the multifamily amenities so important to attracting and keeping tenants in apartments over the last decade."
Architects release new resource for safer re-occupancy of buildings (AIA) - May 7
"AIA convenes collaborative team to develop design strategies that limit exposure to COVID-19 in offices, stores and more buildings."
COVID-19 Standards for U.S. Construction Sites (The Center for Construction Research and Training) - May 6
"As part of our commitment to helping the construction industry take necessary precautions during the coronavirus pandemic, CPWR and NABTU have released the COVID-19 Standards for U.S. Construction Sites. They are an evolution of the guidance we have been updating since early March and identify what steps should be taken to reduce construction worker exposure to the virus on the job."
Nurses contracted by Tampa, Florida, officials drop in on jobsites in fight against coronavirus (Construction Dive) - May 6
"Tampa officials launched a COVID-19 construction site safety program for threshold buildings — those structures taller than three stories, or 50 feet in height, or with an assembly occupancy classification exceeding 5,000 square feet in area and/or an occupant content of more than 500 persons. There are currently 52 threshold projects within the Tampa city limits."
Shutdown Tests MOBs as Investment (Commercial Property Executive) - May 6
"With non-emergency procedures suspended, medical office properties are empty—for now."
Report Addresses UV Technology in Fighting Coronavirus (Maintenance & Operations) - May 6
"In response to a wave of seemingly conflicting statements and opinions about the disinfection capabilities and safety of GUV (germicidal ultraviolet light), the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) recently issued a report explaining GUV disinfection and its potential to safely reduce the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19."
Will You Want to Go Straight Back Into the Crowd? (New York Times) - May 6
"Planners once dreamed of cities with vast empty plazas and quiet streets. Post-pandemic, might they do so again?"
Sloan Publishes Building Commissioning Guide Outlining How to Prepare Commercial Restrooms Prior to Building Re-Opening from COVID-19 (Sloan) - May 6
"There are serious risks associated with prolonged system inactivity. Water that sits in plumbing lines for extended periods of time becomes stagnant, which could lead to elevated levels of lead and copper. This water also has the potential to contain little to no residual disinfectant, leading to elevated levels of bacteria and other microbiological contaminants."
Death of the office (The Economist) - May 6
"As the pandemic leaves offices around the world empty, Catherine Nixey asks what was the point of them anyway?"
The New Norm: A Report by Peter Piven, FAIA (ArchNewsNow) - May 6
"The results of a survey of firm principals across the U.S. about the differences they envision in technology/working remotely, in markets and marketing, in work life and culture, and in society in our post-pandemic future."
Making jobsites safer in the COVID-19 world (BD+C) - May 6
"A leading construction manager and installer certification alliance share their insights."
Array Architects' Toolkit Provides Resources for Resuming Outpatient Services (Array Architects) - May 5
"As healthcare providers prepare to resume outpatient services, there are several considerations and opportunities to improve the safety of staff and patients. Array has developed a consolidated toolkit to reduce infection risk, acknowledge and ameliorate patient and staff anxiety, and streamline patient throughput. We have also included links to expanded resources and sample products to support healthcare teams."
Coronavirus Crisis Threatens Push for Denser Housing (New York Times) - May 5
"Transit-oriented developments were seen as a solution to severe housing shortages, but experts say developers need to rethink the design for a post-pandemic world."
Bringing Innovation to Construction Sites During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Oracle Industries Innovation Lab) - May 5
"Since late 2019, our Oracle Industries Innovation Lab, a simulated worksite for testing and exploring cutting-edge technologies, has also been an actual construction worksite, full of equipment, materials, and teams working to deliver a planned expansion of the facility. Then, several weeks ago, the landscape shifted dramatically for our and many construction projects, as owners and contractors worked to come to grips with the impact of the growing COVID-19 health crisis. Since then, our project teams have explored new processes and practices intended to safeguard the health of workers and the general public, while also keeping the project moving forward with as little disruption as possible," writes Burcin Kaplanoglu, Executive Director, Innovation Officer at Oracle and Co-Founder of Oracle Industries Innovation Lab.
How will COVID-19 change the procurement of professional design services? (SmithGroup) - May 5
"We can use this moment as a test-case to build greater flexibility into how we pursue, win and deliver capital projects, better preparing the industry to meet the next disruption."
Survey: About half of AEC firms report slight to some reduction with ordinary/typical marketing activities (SMPS + BD+C) - May 5
"More than 480 marketing professionals provided data on their personal work experiences and marketing-related operations of their firms. Not surprisingly, 90% reported they are working at home 100% of the time with 89% employed full-time. 52% reported slight to some reduction with ordinary/typical marketing activities; 39% say it’s “business as usual,” and 8% reported most of all activities have stopped. 87% reported the ability to secure new projects/clients is typical or they are experiencing some reduction; 13% indicated most or all activity has stopped. The pace of new business opportunities in terms of receiving RFPs or similar is status quo or better according to 56% of the participants; 44% report reduced to no activity. View the dashboards below to see details and additional information including specific innovations, opportunities, or challenges."
View more findings from the survey
Well Living Lab, Delos, Cushman & Wakefield, and Hines align to advance return-to-workplace guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (Cushman & Wakefield) - May 5
"The Well Living Lab, a Delos and Mayo Clinic collaboration dedicated to researching the indoor environment’s impact on human health, today announced a comprehensive plan to study the design and operation of workspaces to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. This will include research conducted in the lab, along with applications and interventions into corporate offices in the U.S. and internationally."
Maze parks to micromarkets: How coronavirus could bring cities closer to home (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - May 4
"Architects are rethinking urban design to let people get the best of city living while staying safe during the next pandemic."
Consumers retrenching in the face of COVID-19 (JLL) - May 4
"Personal savings are up while consumer confidence is down. Americans are undoubtedly retrenching in the face of this pandemic. But the Fed remains committed to doing “whatever it takes” to help shore up the economy."
Commercial Leases in the Era of COVID-19 (Mortgage Professional America via National Real Estate Investor) - May 4
“Commercial real estate is poised to be hit especially hard by COVID-19. While homeowners and renters have their own worries, commercial owners and their tenants are anxiously navigating their way through a morass of decimated income levels and unpayable rent, the path fogged-over by the novelty and unique horror of the current situation.”
Commercial Real Estate's Projected Recovery Has Morphed Into a Swoosh Shape (GlobeSt) - May 4
"While CBRE is optimistic about the larger US economy’s recovery, commercial real estate will take a longer time."
'The era of tax cuts is over': The wealthy US 'investor class' will have to pick up the tab for coronavirus stimulus, Guggenheim co-chair says (Bloomberg) - May 4
"The national deficit is expected to quadruple to $3.8 trillion in 2020, according to a federal watchdog agency. Wealthy Americans face "inevitable" tax hikes to cover much of the debt, Millstein said in an interview with Bloomberg TV."
What will it take to reopen embattled hotels during the coronavirus pandemic? (BD+C) - May 4
"TPG Architecture's Shay Lam shares the firm's three-stage reopening plan for hospitality clients."
Video: What Architects Need to Know About the CARES Act (AIA Contract Documents Education) - May 4
A new video by AIA Contract Documents covers the most important aspects of the CARES Act, and how the AIA is working to help architects during COVID-19, so they can protect their firm.
See more COVID-19 resources from AIA Contract Documents
COVID-19 and the Future of Furniture (CBRE) - May 4
CBRE's new guide offers recommendations for outfitting commercial office spaces for the return to work.
View the PDF guide
The Pandemic May Mean the End of the Open-Floor Office (New York Times) - May 4
"As businesses contemplate the return of workers to their desks, many are considering large and small changes to the modern workplace culture and trappings."
Rent Is Due Today, But Many Tenants Can’t—or Won’t—Pay “April rent payments (WSJ) - May 4
“April rent payments turned out better than expected, landlord representatives said. With the economy still strong in the first half of March—before the worst hit from the coronavirus pandemic—about 9 in 10 renters in professionally managed apartments paid at least some of their April rent."
Sensor taps and no door handles: Covid-19 shows it's time to rethink public toilets (The Guardian) - May 3
"Better building codes and some design innovation could greatly improve hygiene, experts say."
The Future Of DFW Office Is Touchless Entry And Germ-Free. What The Near Future Is Not: Spec Building (Bisnow) - May 1
"When the coronavirus crisis ends, building owners with newer assets armed with germ-fighting technologies are most equipped to succeed in the new normal, DFW developers Bill Cawley and Bill Brokaw say."
Apartment Firms’ Reactivation Plans Begin to Take Shape (National Multifamily Housing Council) - May 1
"With some states announcing reopening plans—and more importantly, dates—apartment firms prepare for a phased opening of leasing offices, amenities and corporate offices, some starting sooner than later."
Pandemic Risk & Liability: NMHC Calls for Loss Recovery Measures (National Multifamily Housing Council) - May 1
"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to challenge the U.S. economy, the rental housing sector and commercial real estate industry are straining under reduced rental income, while still needing to maintain essential operation. But many rental property owners and businesses may find themselves without recourse as uncertainty remains as to whether traditional business interruption (BI) or other insurance policies cover losses as a result of a pandemic, including COVID-19. To address this, NMHC has called on Congress to provide two additional economic recovery measures to lessen financial losses of property owners as a result of this pandemic and any future event of this nature."
How contractors are using tech to continue essential work (Construction Dive) - May 1
"From remote meetings to virtual inspections to integrating social distancing safety devices, contractors are finding technology-based solutions to continue work as most states have deemed at least some construction essential and as some re-allow all construction work. Tech solutions continue to pop up to help contractors follow local safety guidelines to protect workers as well as allow remote stakeholders to be up to date on a project's progress."
Nonresidential construction spending declines in March as pandemic halts projects (AGC) - May 1
"Group warns loan threats are hurting relief program."
Pandemic Unlikely to End Construction in 2020 (Commercial Property Executive) - May 1
"While demand in most commercial real estate sectors has taken a nosedive, some shovels will still hit the ground in 2020."
COVID-19 shows how we can beat climate change (Leo A Daly) - May 1
"The resiliency seen across the world during the pandemic offers hope for addressing the climate crisis," writes Leo A Daly's Lauren Funk, IIDA.
Survey: 69% Of Companies Plan To Shrink Office Footprint, Increase Remote Work (Bisnow) - April 30
"A new survey suggests working from home will be a permanent fixture of corporate life. Sixty-nine percent of corporate real estate professionals said their company will take up less real estate after spending time working from home, according to a CoreNet Global survey released Wednesday."
Billings Are Down, But Architects Are Planning Ahead Of The Pandemic (Bisnow) - April 30
"Omgivning founder and principal Karin Liljegren is keeping a positive mindset. Liljegren founded her company during the last recession to help companies redesign their space. Ten years later, the coronavirus has sparked the start of another downturn, and much commercial real estate space has turned upside down."
Top US Managers, Owners Share Reopening Strategies (Commercial Property Executive) - April 30
"What will operations look like in the new normal? Hines, JLL, Transwestern, Cushman & Wakefield and other heavyweights offer a deep dive into best practices."
Coronavirus Pushes Colleges to the Breaking Point, Forcing ‘Hard Choices’ About Education (WSJ) - April 30
"Forecasted declines in enrollment and revenue have triggered spending cuts and salary freezes."
Gilbane shares supply-chain status of products affected by coronavirus (BD+C) - April 30
"Imported products seem more susceptible to delays"
Banks Not Returning to Skyscrapers Anytime Soon (Bloomberg, National Real Estate Investor) - April 30
"Bank headquarters housing thousands of staff might go out of fashion if people need to take the elevator only two at a time."
Lease Insurance Could Come into Play Amid COVID Crisis (National Real Estate Investor) - April 29
"Millions of apartment renters across the U.S. have lost jobs and income in the economic crisis caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus. Many are working with landlords by making partial payments and creating payments plans. But another aspect of the industry is being tested by the crisis: lease insurance products that have replaced security deposits for some renters."
Over 50% of department stores in malls predicted to close by 2021, real estate services firm says (CNBC) - April 29
"Department stores still represent about 60% of the anchor space within malls today, according to Green Street Advisors. Up until the coronavirus pandemic, it has been years of “kicking the can down the road,” analyst Vince Tibone said."
Mystery May: Landlords Armed With April Data Still Unsure What May Will Bring (Bisnow) - April 29
"For all of the pain April seemed to promise, most landlords — with the exception of retail owners — were left pleasantly surprised: They recouped close to 90% of their expected rents. But as rent comes due again on Friday following the first full month of the U.S. economy’s near-complete shutdown, what May will deliver for landlords is anyone’s guess."
New York City tightens restrictions on construction during pandemic (BD+C) - April 29
"The Dept. of Buildings has issued more than 100 violations and stop-work orders."
Construction Employment Declines In 99 Metro Areas In March From 2019 As Industry Officials Call For New State & Federal Funding To Add Jobs (AGC) - April 29
"Construction employment declined in 99 out of 358 metro areas from March 2019 to last month as the coronavirus pandemic triggered the first shutdown orders and project cancellations."
U.S. Economy Falls 4.8% in 1st Quarter of 2020 Due to COVID-19 (Associated Builders and Contractors) - April 29
"The U.S. economy contracted at an annualized 4.8% rate during the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the ongoing global pandemic, according to an Associated Builders and Contractors analysis of data released today by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The decline in GDP is largely a reflection of the final three weeks of March, which devastated the economy.
Declines in consumption expenditures, nonresidential fixed investment, exports and private inventory all contributed to the onset of recession during the year’s first quarter, while increases in residential fixed investment, federal government spending and state and local government spending helped offset some of the losses. Investment in nonresidential structures fell 9.7% on an annualized basis and has declined for four consecutive quarters.
'The question has been how much the pre-existing backlog—which stood at 8.2 months in February, according to ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator—would shield the nonresidential construction sector from what has become a remarkably deep recession,' said ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu. 'Combined with the categorization of construction as an essential industry in many states, it was expected that construction activity would hold up well. Today’s release indicates that backlog is not the sturdy shield against the initial phases of a recession that it was in the past. In certain communities, including California, Pennsylvania and Boston, a significant fraction of construction activities have not been viewed as essential.'
A National Movement to Cancel the May Rent Takes Shape (CityLab) - April 29
"A campaign dubbed Our Homes, Our Health is pressuring lawmakers to suspend rent and mortgage payments nationwide during the coronavirus crisis."
FMI’s Outlook Preview & CIRT Current Issues Survey: Second Quarter 2020 (FMI) - April 29
"FMI’s Q2 forecast revisions will exhibit lower construction put in place spending levels. Extended economic disruptions are anticipated
due to ongoing regulation/work from home provisions, unemployment and troubles in the O&G industry. Across the U.S., the Northeast will experience the largest and broadest near-term construction declines, followed by economic pockets of the West and South."
COVID-19 Impact Sends Engineering and Construction Costs Negative for First Time Since November 2016 (IHS Markit) - April 29
"After 41 consecutive monthly increases, Engineering and Construction costs fell in April, according to IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) and the Procurement Executives Group (PEG). The current headline IHS Markit PEG Engineering and Construction Cost Index registered 34.9 in April, after staying barely neutral in March. The materials and equipment portion of the index came in at 35.2 and the sub-contractor portion came in at 34.3; any figure below 50 indicates falling prices. The materials and equipment sub-index registered 35.2, recording both the second consecutive month of falling prices and an all-time low. Survey respondents reported falling prices for 11 out of the 12 components with only ready-mix prices coming in at neutral."
NYC Could Lose ‘Sizable Portion’ of Tech Startups Due to Coronavirus Pandemic (Commercial Observer) - April 28
"A report from the Center for an Urban Future (CUF) and Tech:NYC found that while some tech companies in the city have been able to weather the coronavirus pandemic — with some even actually growing during this time — most are struggling to survive."
(re)entry: A framework for working in the next normal (JLL) - April 28
"To ensure we are ready to navigate what’s next, it’s vital that we (re)activate our spaces to balance health, safety and financial implications. And that we continue to (re)spect each other’s well-being. Preparedness, agility, and resilience will be key."
ASHRAE, WELL panels to tackle revising standards to limit spread of viruses in buildings (BD+C) - April 28
"The groups will examine ways to reduce infectious threats through building designs and operations."
Construction Employment Declines In 99 Metro Areas In March From 2019 As Industry Officials Call For New State & Federal Funding To Add Jobs (AGC) - April 28
"Construction employment declined in 99 out of 358 metro areas from March 2019 to last month as the coronavirus pandemic triggered the first shutdown orders and project cancellations, according to an analysis released by the Associated General Contractors of America today. Association officials urged federal and state officials to boost investments in infrastructure to help put more people to work amid rising unemployment levels."
Construction will resume Friday across Pennsylvania, but crews will have new rules to follow (Centre Daily Times) - April 28
"Following a push from state legislators, Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that all public and private construction projects would reopen May 1 — as long as companies follow safety regulations meant to protect employees from COVID-19."
The post-pandemic workplace will hardly look like the one we left behind (Washington Post) - April 28
"Contact-tracing apps for co-workers, elevator ‘safe zones,’ infrared body temperature scanners — businesses are beginning to reimagine office spaces after the coronavirus."
Dept. of Labor issues guidance for respiratory protection during N95 shortage (BD+C) - April 27
"Elastomeric respirators or powered, air-purifying respirators, and expired N95s are allowable alternatives."
Is Covid-19 bringing virtual real estate tours into the mainstream? (JLL) - April 27
"Virtual property tours are offering investors and occupiers a way through restrictions on site visits during the Covid-19 pandemic."
PCL Construction rolls out portable coronavirus testing centers (BD+C) - April 26
"The Portable Virus Testing Centers allow health professionals to conduct tests at a safe distance from the business establishment. For example, in Minnesota the mobile testing center is a 160-sf retrofitted prefab structure with ceiling heights that range from 8 feet to 9.6 feet. The testing center are available in two design options—walk-ups and drive-throughs—and can also be fitted out with security cameras, sensors, and digital communications equipment."
In A Post-Pandemic Future, Coworking May Be Multifamily's Newest Amenity (Bisnow) - April 26
"A surge in remote work after the coronavirus pandemic would also change residents' needs in an apartment community, multifamily experts say."
Mnuchin Sees Third-Quarter Rebound for U.S. Economy (WSJ) - April 26
"Business reopenings should lead to a demand boost, the Treasury secretary says."
Silverstein CEO Marty Burger: Don’t Expect Office Demand To Go Down, Despite Decrease In Leasing Activity (Bisnow) - April 26
"Two major office landlords said they don’t expect a drop-off in demand or a significant decrease in rent rates for office space as New York City navigates out of the coronavirus shutdown."
How Coronavirus Will Forever Change Airlines and the Way We Fly (Bloomberg) - April 24
"From air fares to destinations to cabin layouts, things may look very different once we start traveling again."
Paycheck Protection Program Is Allowing Construction Firms To Add And Retain Employees Despite Declining Demand, New Survey Finds (AGC) - April 24
"A large share of construction firms promptly received loan funds under the new Paycheck Protection Program, enabling many of them to hire or retain employees despite a surge in project cancellations, according to a survey released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials said the job-saving measure appeared to be working but cautioned that longer term recovery measures, like new infrastructure funding and establishing a recovery fund, are needed."
COVID-19 and the future of the workplace: Where do we go from here? (Margulies Perruzzi Architects) - April 24
"The data shown in this report is a result of a survey sent to MP clients, brokers, OPM’s and consultants to which more than 500 people responded."
Gap Stops Paying Rents, Says It May Not Have Enough Cash for Operations (CNBC) - April 23
“Gap warned on Thursday it may not have enough cash flow to sufficiently fund its operations as stores remain shut because of the coronavirus pandemic. The apparel retailer said in a securities filing that it must take further actions to find liquidity over the next 12 months, such additional job cuts and new debt financing."
The Tech Sector Looks Well-Positioned to Survive the Pandemic (National Real Estate Investor) - April 23
"As tech firms prepare for employees to return to the office, some are downsizing to cut costs or pausing expansion plans."
Looking Beyond the Storm: How to Remain Competitive in the New Era of Construction (FMI) - April 23
"Leaders are doing their best to keep calm and level-headed, hoping that this period of upset will pass quickly. Nevertheless, some experts predict that we will be in this for the long haul.2 With no firm promise of the market thawing out in the coming weeks, we cannot afford to wait for things to return to 'normal.'"
Social distancing in the workplace: The new norm (BuroHappold Engineering) - April 23
"How analytics and insight will help organizations implement social distancing in the workplace."
COVID-19 epidemic demonstrates value of flexible hospital space (BD+C) - April 23
"In many states, regulations require treatment rooms to be different sizes depending on the stage of patient care being provided. Facilities may now be more likely to specify space for acuity-adaptable units that are designed to match the square footage of ICU rooms."
Is this the end of Airbnb? (Wired) - April 22
"Hosts are calling it the Airbnb apocalypse. But it’s more akin to an enema."
Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace (Cushman & Wakefield) - April 22
"We are proud to announce the release of Recovery Readiness: A How-to Guide for Reopening your Workplace, a comprehensive guide for real estate tenants and landlords on reopening workplaces as stay-at-home restrictions are lifted."
AIA cancels Conference on Architecture 2020, postpones announcement of COTE Top Ten Awards (AIA) - April 22
“As we continue to navigate the wide-ranging impacts of this pandemic and the intense focus on it and related issues, we have delayed the announcement of our COTE Top Ten Awards to a later date” said AIA 2020 President Jane Frederick, FAIA. “In the meantime, we will continue our efforts to provide our members and firms with the critical economic support and resources they need as well as assist in the response to COVID-19.”
On-demand webinar: Recovery Readiness Replay (Cushman & Wakefield) - April 22
"Watch the webinar to hear Cushman & Wakefield’s Recovery Readiness Task Force (RRTF) discuss the Recovery Readiness Protocols that address many questions pertaining to the eventual return to the workplace post-COVID-19 recovery, outlining some of the best thinking and practices our more than 53,000 professionals have compiled across the globe and with the help of insights from partners."
Watch the webinar
It's time to make your back-to-the-office plan (GBBN Architects) - April 22
"Congratulations! Your organization has successfully pivoted to remote work and settled into a new routine. Now, it’s time to start preparing for your return to the office."
Construction activity in 2020 expected to drop steeply (BD+C) - April 22
"Commercial construction starts are expected to fall by 16% in 2020, with retail starts projected to be down by 33% and hotel/motel starts by 31%. That’s the grim outlook that Richard Branch, chief economist for Dodge Data & Analytics, foresees that reflects the current and potential impact of the coronavirus on North America’s construction industry."
Architecture Billings Index Points to Major Downturn in Commercial Construction (AIA) - April 22
"AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score of 33.3 for March reflects a decrease in design services provided by U.S. architecture firms (any score below 50 indicates a decrease in billings). During March, both the new project inquiries and design contracts scores dropped dramatically, posting scores of 23.8 and 27.1 respectively.
'Though most architecture firms have made quick transitions to remote operations, the complete shutdown of business activity is severely impacting architects,' said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. 'The dramatic pullback in new and ongoing design projects reflects just how quickly and fundamentally business conditions have changed across the country and around the world in the last month as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.'"
Rent Payment Tracker Finds Rent Payment Rate at 95% of Prior Month (National Multifamily Housing Council) - April 22
"The share of residents who paid in April increased by 5 percentage points compared to last week."
Senate passes $484 billion coronavirus deal after weeks of deadlock (Politico) - April 22
"The legislation delivers funding to small businesses, hospitals and for testing."
ABC's Construction Backlog Indicator down in February (Associated Builders and Contractors ) - April 21
"Backlog for firms working in the infrastructure segment rose by 1.3 months in February while backlog for commercial and institutional and heavy industrial firms declined by 0.6 months and 0.7 months, respectively."
CallisonRTKL, PODS, and USACE collaborate on repurposed containers for ACFs (CallisonRTKL) - April 21
"Existing POD containers were modified to be used as rapid response airborne infection isolation rooms."
The death of the department store: ‘Very few are likely to survive’ (New York Times) - April 21
"Shuttered flagships. Empty malls. Canceled orders. Risks of bankruptcy. The coronavirus has hit the behemoths of the retail world."
Additional $310 Billion In Funding For Paycheck Protection Program Loans Will Help Support Thousands Of Essential Construction Jobs (AGC) - April 21
"Construction Officials Urge Congress to Quickly Pass New Coronavirus Relief Measure and Start Work on Broader Recovery Measures, Including New Infrastructure Funding and Pension Relief."
ABC's Construction Backlog Indicator down in February (ABC) - April 21
"Backlog for firms working in the infrastructure segment rose by 1.3 months in February while backlog for commercial and institutional and heavy industrial firms declined by 0.6 months and 0.7 months, respectively."
Gallup poll: How Leaders Are Responding to COVID-19 Workplace Disruption (Gallup) - April 21
"Record-level disruption means employers have had to respond at a record-level pace -- recrafting remote jobs on the fly while, as much as possible, easing employees' concerns to reduce worry and stress. So, how are employers doing?"
Tenant needs in a post-pandemic world: 2020 Forecast Series (JLL) - April 20
"The coronavirus has caused an abrupt shift in workplace operations that may have a lasting impact on workspace design thinking and use. What is the future of work in a post-COVID-19 world?"
Hensel Phelps tapped for convention center conversion (Bisnow) - April 20
Washington, D.C., and the Army Corps of Engineers have granted a design-build contract to Hensel Phelps Construction to convert three halls in the city's primary convention center into a medical facility for coronavirus patients. The conversion will cover 473,000 square feet and will eventually offer 1,500 beds for less-ill patients.
PCL develops mobile virus testing centers (Finance & Commerce) - April 20
"Known as Portable Virus Testing Centers, the prototypes are designed to serve end users that include large manufacturing facilities, office towers, and retail centers. The idea is to allow medical professionals to conduct testing at a safe distance from the business establishment."
Why COVID-19 Raises the Stakes for Healthy Buildings (Harvard Business School) - April 20
"Like it or not, humans have become an indoor species, so buildings have a major impact on our health. That's why the Healthy Building Movement is gaining momentum, say John Macomber and Joseph Allen."
Is the City Itself the Problem? (CityLab) - April 20
"There’s a long history of blaming urban areas rather than economic factors for physical and moral ills. But density can be an asset for fighting coronavirus."
Coronavirus Pandemic May Create More Permanent Renters (Bisnow) - April 20
"The global downturn as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is the latest economic scar on the psyche of an entire generation that could convince them to remain renters long after the virus is a chapter in the history books."
Multifamily market flattens as construction proposal activity sinks (PSMJ) - April 20
"Multifamily has consistently been one of the strongest performers among 58 submarkets measured in PSMJ Resources’ quarterly survey."
Virtual site visits help control infection on project sites (Leo A Daly) - April 20
"As COVID-19 threatens to slow construction work, point cloud technology helps us work safer and faster."
Is there a way to test for Covid-19 without PPE? (Shepley Bulfinch) - April 20
"We reimagined a premanufactured inflatable structure, shaped like a bubble and intended for pool covering, as a testing booth. The “Bubble” consists of fiber-reinforced vinyl, which acts as a protective layer, fully separating healthcare workers who are inside the structure administering the tests, from those being tested, who stand outside," writes Luke Voiland, AIA.
Robins & Morton Completes 450-Bed Miami Beach Convention Field Hospital Ahead of Schedule (Robins & Morton) - April 20
"Robins & Morton completed a 450-bed hospital built inside the Miami Beach Convention Center more than a full day ahead of a very aggressive two-week schedule, ensuring the facility is ready if needed before the anticipated peak of COVID-19 in South Florida. The temporary hospital is a state and federal partnership in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Army Corps of Engineers selected Robins & Morton, one of the nation’s leading healthcare construction companies, to perform the work. The design included 400 acute care patient rooms, 50 isolation rooms, nurses stations and support areas. To turn more than 250,000 square feet of exhibit hall into a functioning hospital, construction crews had to install medical gas lines, duct work, plumbing, electrical and data wiring and patient-room headwalls with patient communication, equipment and oxygen connections.
Robins & Morton engaged more than 20 trade contractors from South Florida and selected RLF Architects of Orlando, Florida, for project design and engineering. More than 250 people worked on the project in two shifts around the clock.
“Everybody had a sense of purpose,” said Robins & Morton Senior Project Manager Johnathan Peavy. “It was pure synergy. We hit the ground running, and everything just clicked with the team.”
Robins & Morton received the project award on April 6 with an original deadline of April 27. At an April 8 press conference with Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County officials, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the hospital needed to be ready to receive patients by April 21.
“We already had a tight deadline, but we knew we could do it,” said Peavy.
It was an urgency shared by everyone on the project. “The team’s motto was ‘every minute is a life,’” said Scott Fote, Senior Vice President, RLF.
Robins & Morton, RLF and the Army Corps of Engineers did the final walk through April 18."
Construction employment declines in 20 states and D.C. in March, in line with industry survey showing growing job losses for the sector (AGC) - April 20
New monthly job loss data foreshadows more layoffs amid project cancellations and state cutbacks in road projects as association calls for more small business relief and immediate aid for highway funding.
U.S. strip mall owners paid less than half of April rent (Financial Times via National Real Estate Investor) - April 20
“Commercial property researchers at Green Street Advisors told clients this weekend that strip mall landlords have been paid only between 30 percent and 50 percent of April rent, highlighting the scale of the disruption to real estate caused by the coronavirus shutdown."
IoT system helps contractors keep their distance on the jobsite (BD+C) - April 19
"Triax Technologies’ wearable Proximity Trace device can be used for contact tracing."
A COVID-19 task force focuses on crisis communications (BD+C) - April 19
"The Castle Group is partnering with leading health experts to help companies factor science and medicine into their response messaging and actions."
Retailers Start Including Pandemic Clauses In New Leases (Bisnow) - April 19
"One of the UK’s biggest retail groups is inserting clauses in new leases that could allow it to halt paying rent if there are future spikes in coronavirus cases."
How COVID-19 Could Inform the Future of Hospital Design (Smithsonian Magazine) - April 17
"Modified hospital designs have become necessary as the first wave of the pandemic tears through U.S. communities."
‘There’s A Wave Coming’: CRE Debt Players Think May Will Be Worse Than April (Bisnow) - April 17
"Much of the commercial real estate industry was fretting over the fallout of destroyed businesses and unpaid rents during the month of April. But some of the country’s biggest debt players are bracing themselves for far worse in May."
Federal Reserve Announces New Lending Programs (AGC) - April 17
"On April 9, the Federal Reserve announced additional actions that include a new mid-sized lending program coming out of the Economic Stabilization Fund, as provided for in the CARES Act. The Fed created two new lending programs for businesses – the Main Street New Loan Facility and the Main Street Expanded Loan Facility."
John Marx, AIA, on potential economic impacts of COVID-19 (AIA) - April 17
"John Marx, AIA, is the Chief Artistic Officer and a design principal at Form4 Architecture, a 32-person, San Francisco-based firm that specializes in, among other things, workplace architecture and interiors."
Urgent: AGC Action Alert on SBA Loans (AGC) - April 17
"AGC is asking all members to call on(link is external) the Trump Administration and Congress to provide more funds to and simplify construction firm eligibility for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. On April 16, the SBA announced it lent all funds—$349 billion—through the PPP. Negotiations to provide more funds for this critical loan program remain stalled."
On-demand webinar: Cushman & Wakefield's COVID-19: Implications for Multifamily Investors (Cushman & Wakefield) - April 17
• Macroeconomic analysis and multifamily sector impact
• Multifamily property management perspective
• Capital markets outlook and discussion
Watch on demand
‘They’re Death Pits’: Virus Claims at Least 6,900 Lives in U.S. Nursing Homes (New York Times) - April 17
"More than six weeks after the first coronavirus deaths in a nursing home, outbreaks unfold across the country. About a fifth of U.S. virus deaths are linked to nursing facilities."
Construction Employment Declines In 20 States And D.C. In March, In Line With Industry Survey Showing Growing Job Losses For The Sector (AGC) - April 17
"Construction employment declined in 20 states and D.C. in March, aligning with the results of a recent survey by the Associated General Contractors of America that found growing layoffs amid new project cancellations and state funding constraints. Association officials warned that these cancellations mean massive job losses are likely to occur soon in even more states unless Congress helps cover rapidly declining state revenues, adds funding for Paycheck Protection Program loans and takes other measures to help the industry recover."
Retirement, Real Estate & COVID-19: Will Downsizing-To-The-City Reverse Course? (Forbes) - April 17
"Events as significant as COVID-19 do not simply affect us in the moment then disappear. They reframe future values, priorities, perceptions of risk, choices, and, ultimately, behaviors."
NMHC Multifamily Construction Survey shows significant delays in apartment construction (NMHC) - April 17
Survey asked construction firms how the spread of COVID-19 is affecting construction permitting, starts, completions, materials and labor.
The case for public space in the age of COVID-19 (VMDO Architects) - April 17
"As our daily footprint narrows under 'stay at home' measures, we must reconsider our relationship with public spaces," writes Joe Celentano, AIA, Principal, VMDO Architects.
Trades union: ‘Essential’ construction workers keep America safe, but who will protect them as they risk their health? (IUPAT) - April 17
"Go to work and get sick or stay home and lose health insurance? That's the reality millions of construction workers, deemed “essential" in many cities, are facing today. One of the nation’s largest and most politically influential unions – the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) – is demanding that Congress act now to protect these workers and their families by subsidizing health plans and providing stronger oversight of sanitation and safety protocols for ongoing construction sites."
AIA Conference on Architecture 2020 official cancelled (AIA) - April 17
"We regret to announce that A'20 is officially canceled and will not be rescheduled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We know this is discouraging, but not unexpected, news. By making this decision now, we hope to minimize any stress or inconvenience. A'21 is happening in Philadelphia, June 17-19, 2021, and we hope to see you there. We're also looking into hosting a virtual event later this year, as well as developing additional continuing education opportunities, and will keep you posted."
What CRE Has On Its Wish List For The Next Coronavirus Stimulus Package - (Bisnow) - April 16
"This time, real estate groups say Congress should give more consideration to the industry that puts roofs over the heads of renters, creates destinations for restaurants and stores and houses the armies of corporate workers who will one day soon — hopefully — be returning."
Construction project on hold? Don't forget to maintain stored equipment (Karpinski Engineering) - April 16
"One of the downstream effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is that many owners are placing their construction projects on hold. As they do so, they need to make sure that they are properly storing any equipment that has been delivered — or even installed — that will not be operational while the project is on hold," writes Karpinski Engineering's Lee Hodkey.
Building officials turn to video inspections to mitigate COVID-19 risk (Construction Dive) - April 16
"Building inspectors from Ohio, Nevada and Florida found common benefits to performing inspections using inexpensive tools like Facetime, Skype, Google Duo and Microsoft Teams. These include being able to perform inspections earlier in the day since they don't have to physically start their day in the office and then spend time driving to the project. The consensus was that as long as the inspection would be visually-based under normal circumstances, an inspection via video is acceptable."
Study confirms construction during pandemic puts workers, community at risk (Construction Dive) - April 16
"A new analysis has quantified how construction activity during the coronavirus pandemic elevates health hazards for workers as well as members of the general public in Austin, Texas."
Boston mayor considers 'slow ramp-up' for construction (Boston Business Journal) - April 16
"Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh intends to speak with construction leaders in the next few days to discuss potentially restarting construction within the city, which Walsh halted in March in response to the coronavirus pandemic."
Office Tenants of All Sizes Are Asking for Rent Relief. Some Institutional Owners Are Offering Them Deferrals (National Real Estate Investor) - April 16
"With the COVID-19 shutdown interrupting business operations across a large swaths of industries, office tenants have begun seeking rent relief. For example, Kenneth S. Fields, Los Angeles attorney at law firm Greenberg Glusker, says his office tenant clients are asking if they can stop paying rent, and landlord clients are seeking advice on what to do if tenants stop paying."
Small Construction Firms Top List of Virus Relief Loan Approvals (Bloomberg) - April 16
"Construction firms have had a larger share of loans approved than other industries so far under a government program meant to help small businesses survive the coronavirus outbreak, and the average loan amount for all applications has been about $239,000, a new report shows."
New NFPA tip sheet offers timely information on demobilizing buildings under construction, alteration or demolition during government-required shutdowns (NFPA) - April 16
"The new resource draws on the best practices found in NFPA 241, Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration and Demolition Operations. While NFPA 241 is not specifically intended for demobilization efforts, the standard provides time-tested benchmarks that the building and enforcement communities will find useful as they strive to keep construction sites safer during any phase of work."
Saks Fifth Avenue reveals plans for fashionably sanitized post-coronavirus opening (New York Post) - April 16
"The strategy centers on making customers feel safe, using everything from disposable cosmetics samples and contactless credit-card readers to virtual shopping services that connect sales associates with fashion-obsessed clients who are hunkered down at home."
Growth in nonbuilding starts not enough to offset pullback in building activity (Dodge Data & Analytics) - April 15
"Total construction starts declined 5% from February to March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $746.9 billion. Volatility caused by the presence or absence of large projects in healthcare and the utility/gas plant category, however, skewed the analysis. In March, nonresidential building starts fell 9% from February (seasonally adjusted), while residential building dropped 11%. Nonbuilding construction starts, however, rose 14% during the month."
93% of renters in professionally managed multifamily housing paid some or all of their rent (NMHC) - April 15
"The findings mark an increase of 15 percentage points compared to last week’s figures."
How has your work been impacted by COVID-19? (SMPS Foundation) - April 15
"The SMPS Foundation and Building Design+Construction are studying the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the ability to attain and retain clients and conduct projects, along with other consequences."
3D printing finds its groove fabricating face shields during COVID-19 crisis (BD+C) - April 15
"The architecture firm Krueck + Sexton is producing 100 shields for a Chicago-area hospital."
National Safety Council and Partners Call for Coronavirus Tests for all U.S. Businesses and Worksites (National Safety Council) - April 15
"With about 25% of people who have coronavirus being asymptomatic, workers could be at risk for contracting COVID-19 without realizing it, and workplace access to testing should be a priority as testing supplies become more abundant."
DCAMM teams with SLAM and Gilbane Building Company to re-occupy Newton Pavilion for temporary quarantine of homeless during COVID-19 pandemic (DCAMM, SLAM, and GIlbane Building Company) - April 15
First and only quarantine shelter in Boston-area to convert a shuttered hospital for homeless patient occupancy.
Stadium work mostly ongoing, though altered by pandemic (Associated Press) - April 15
"Workers are still showing up in Inglewood, California, Las Vegas and Seattle and making progress on stadium and arena projects."
Coronavirus could change where students go to college, if they go at all (USA Today) - April 15
"Students’ enrollment decisions are only one way the coronavirus could dramatically remake American higher education. Institutions are in damage control, trying to offer courses online while recruiting their future classes. They’re hurting financially as they offer students refunds for housing, meal plans and even parking permits."
President Donald J. Trump Announces Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups (White House) - April 14
"President Donald J. Trump announced many of the esteemed executives, economists, scholars, and industry leaders who together will form various Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups. These bipartisan groups of American leaders will work together with the White House to chart the path forward toward a future of unparalleled American prosperity."
AIA publishes 'Guide to Business Continuity' to help architecture firms remain resilient (AIA) - April 14
"The guide provides firm leaders with insights into managing staff, premises, technology, information, supply chains, stakeholders, and reputation, so a firm can continue to provide services, generate revenue, and reduce the consequences of business interruption."
Medical Office Buildings Poised for Quick Recovery (Commercial Property Executive) - April 14
"The tenants of many medical office buildings have closed their offices temporarily, but the long-term prospects for this property type are robust."
Webinar (Wednesday, April 15, 1 pm central): COVID-19 - Implications for Multifamily Investors (Cushman & Wakefield) - April 14
"Join Cushman & Wakefield on Wednesday, April 15 at 1:00 p.m. CT for a discussion on the evolving COVID-19 situation and its implications for multifamily investors. Topics include: macroeconomic analysis and multifamily sector impact, multifamily property management perspective, and capital markets outlook and discussion."
Cushman & Wakefield unveils the '6 Feet Office' to help office workers acclimate to 'new normal' workspaces (Cushman & Wakefield) - April 14
"As we begin visualizing life after COVID-19, we must begin to think about the new normal and how we will adjust. We’re here to help you prepare for the return to the office. We’re here to help you embrace the new normal."
Coronavirus Brings Challenges, Opportunities to Data Centers (Commercial Property Executive) - April 13
"While the sector is adjusting to the new conditions, it appears to be weathering the pandemic relatively well."
The Short- and Long-Term Implications of COVID-19 for Seniors Housing (National Real Estate Investor) - April 13
"There will be pain in the immediate future, especially for independent living, and some lasting changes in operating procedures."
NFPA develops additional guidance for health care facilities working to establish and maintain adequate levels of fire and life safety during COVID-19 pandemic (NFPA) - April 13
"A new white paper reflects feedback from authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), federal, state and local officials, health care industry professionals, and others who have identified multiple compliance challenges and issues that health care facilities are currently facing. The paper discusses ongoing challenges not only in purpose-built hospitals, but also in the alternate care sites such as convention centers and hotels."
City conducts a 'virtual building inspection' to allow Starbucks and bank to open (Avalon Development) - April 13
Bothell, Wash., issues a certificate of occupancy to developer after inspecting the property online.
Construction layoffs spread rapidly as coronavirus shuts down projects, in contrast to job gains through February in most metros (AGC) - April 13
Association officials urge quick enactment of infrastructure investment, relief for hard-hit firms and pensions in order to save jobs in construction and supplier industries.
New OSHA COVID-19 Recordability Guidance Provides Necessary Clarification for Contractors (Associated Builders and Contractors) - April 13
"ABC is pleased OSHA has clarified its position regarding the recordability of COVID-19 cases under its recordkeeping rules, which provides greater certainty to our member contractors. As a member of the Construction Industry Safety Coalition, we expressed in a March letter to OSHA significant concerns about putting construction contractors in an almost impossible position of determining whether a particular case of COVID-19 that presents in the workplace is considered ‘work-related,’" said ABC's Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Workforce Development, Greg Sizemore.
Mapping the coronavirus impact on US construction (Construction Dive + Foley & Lardner LLP) - April 13
"The following state-by-state view aims to point out the state's overview along with any notable regional exemptions. The information summarized below is sourced from Foley & Lardner LLP."
CRE's Potential Winners and Losers in a Virus-Hit World (National Real Estate Investor) - April 13
"Some property sectors and investor segments may be well-positioned even in a pandemic. Others may be looking at an abyss."
The role of higher education housing in fighting COVID-19 (Clark Nexsen) - April 13
It is clear that COVID-19’s impact on the AEC industry will be far reaching. Distance learning, remote work, and the need for emergency medical facilities may forever change the way these spaces are designed and used – and a new emphasis on serving the community, regardless of primary function, has emerged.
AIA launches COVID-19 project database (AIA) - April 13
"Many healthcare providers and other organizations are looking for solutions to the surge in COVID-19 cases and the needs of their communities. AIA has created a new COVID-19 project database to increase information sharing and to support the development of best practices for responding to the pandemic."
‘Dawn Of The VR Era’: Proptech Adoption Exploding As CRE Goes Digital (Bisnow) - April 12
"Commercial real estate firms are rapidly trying to shed their tech-averse nature as they adapt to mandated social distancing, creating a demand surge for proptech companies that allow prospective tenants to tour spaces virtually. While the coronavirus and the shift to remote working have spurred new interest in these technologies, it has also presented new challenges. Tech companies that create virtual tours still must travel to a building to film it."
How prefab can enable the design and construction industry to bring much needed beds to hospitals, faster (Autodesk) - April 12
"The outbreak of COVID-19 represents an unprecedented test for the global healthcare system."
WeWork Was Hardly a “Self-Sustaining Business” Before Coronavirus Hit. Its Prospects Now Are “Incredibly Gloomy” (National Real Estate Investor) - April 11
"It’s as if co-working giant WeWork absorbed the initial jolt of a 7.0-magnitude earthquake and continues to be rocked by aftershocks."
Barbara Campagna, FAIA, on how her firm is staying open for business (AIA) - April 10
"Ahead of New York State’s quarantine for workers, Barbara Campagna, FAIA, migrated most of her work home four weeks ago, a move that she admits has helped her focus on her deadlines. Campagna co-founded and led the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Sustainability Program, and from 2006-2011, was the Chief Architect for 27 sites the Trust operates. Campagna launched her eponymous firm in 2011, and lives and works in downtown Buffalo, which, she says, has become “a very eerie place.”
Forty Percent Of Construction Firms Report Layoffs Amid Widespread Project Cancellations As Economic Impact Of Coronavirus Grows (AGC) - April 10
"With the covid-19 pandemic worsening by the week, an ever-increasing share of contractors are reporting cancellations of upcoming projects and shortages of equipment or materials, forcing nearly 40 percent of firms to lay off employees, according to an online survey released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials added that 74 percent of firms are seeking new Paycheck Protection Program loans and urged Congress to quickly add more funding for the over-subscribed program, among other recovery measures needed."
CBRE: Hotels, Retail Will Take Up To 30 Months To Fully Recover (Bisnow) - April 10
"An imminent U.S. recession means a recovery period of 12 to 30 months for commercial real estate, depending on the sector and market, CBRE said this week in its updated outlook for the industry."
HGA and The Boldt Company devise a prefabricated temporary hospital to manage surge capacity during a viral crisis (HGA) - April 10
"A STAAT Mod system can be ready to receive patients in less than a month."
COVID-19 Catastrophe Won't End Soon, And Will Remake How We Use Office Space (Bisnow) - April 9
"Office designers have already been moving away from open floor plans, and giving clients’ employees a greater variety of workspaces. Huddle rooms, conference rooms, private nooks and other amenities were meant to offer privacy, but can also help workers maintain physical distance from one another.”
Cushman & Wakefield launche Recovery Readiness Task Force (Cushman & Wakefield) - April 9
"The Recovery Readiness Task Force (RRTF) to lead the development of best practices, products and partnerships to prepare clients for post-COVID-19 recovery and the eventual return to the workplace. Additionally, Cushman & Wakefield has launched a new office design concept on its website, which can be found at www.SixFeetOffice.com, showcasing a new social distancing program developed by the firm and being piloted in The Netherlands."
Q&A: How Is COVID-19 Affecting the Construction Industry? (Commercial Property Executive) - April 9
"Colliers’ Greg Main-Baillie and Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider + Grossman’s Jason Kellogg provide a comprehensive view on what halted projects and delayed deliveries will mean for the real estate business."
Only 69% Of Apartment Residents Have Paid April Rent, But That Number Isn't The Full Story (Bisnow) - April 9
"Only 69% of apartment households in the U.S. paid their monthly rent by April 5, falling by 12% from the collection rate recorded a month ago, according to data released by the National Multifamily Housing Council Wednesday. The percentage of households that have paid their April rent also fell 13% from the same date in 2019, NMHC said."
Robins & Morton to convert Miami Beach Convention Center into a 450-bed field hospital (Robins & Morton) - April 9
"Robins & Morton, one of the nation’s leading healthcare construction companies, is converting 250,000 square feet of the Miami Beach Convention Center into a 450-bed field hospital, including isolation rooms. The Army Corps of Engineers announced the project at a press conference Wednesday, April 8."
Owners retrofitting properties, monitoring performance during epidemic (BD+C) - April 9
"Some commercial property owners are emphasizing performance monitoring and are retrofitting properties to boost performance during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to a GlobeSt article. An executive with technology firm Microshare told the publication that it is working with real estate owners to retrofit their properties’ facilities management, using predictive analytics to monitor performance."
Hundreds Of Construction Firms Across The Country Hold Coronavirus Safety Stand Downs To Protect Workers And The Public (AGC) - April 9
"The safety stand down, which was organized by the Associated General Contractors of America, was designed to make sure firms and workers are taking measures outlined by public health and safety officials to protect workers on active construction sites and the public."
COVID-19 Design Innovation Grant: IDA offers $14,000 to spur design innovation for combating the coronavirus pandemic (International Design Awards) - April 9
The International Design Awards is looking for innovations in low-cost ventilators, in-home isolation pods, and reusable masks.
Most U.S. roofing contractors hit by coronavirus, says NRCA (BD+C) - April 8
"Layoffs have begun, along with material delays, job cancellations, and inspection delays."
Navigate supply chain and manufacturing challenges during disruption (Burns & McDonnell) - April 8
"With a situation that’s constantly evolving and with no clear end date, how do we shift to quickly and effectively solving and diminishing the challenges put before us? Our team works alongside a wide range of manufacturing clients, and the following actions have been critical in adapting to this time of uncertainty and disruption."
Rents Are Late, and ‘It’s Only Going to Get Worse’ (The New York Times) - April 8
“As the economic shutdown pares tenants’ incomes, April payments have been reduced, deferred or withheld. Some landlords see their property at risk.”
Big Investors See Huge Opportunity In Distressed Real Estate (Bisnow) — April 8
"Real estate investors are predicting the sharp economic decline resulting from the spread of the coronavirus may be a greater opportunity to buy distressed assets than even the Great Recession. Despite the uncertainty surrounding the economy, including the long-term prospects of many tenants, it is an opportunity that big names are not willing to let pass."
Empty Hotels ‘Keep the Lights On’ by Converting Into Coronavirus Quarantines, Emergency Housing for First Responders (CNBC) - April 8
“Cash-strapped and empty hotels across the country are finding ways to keep the lights on by converting themselves into coronavirus wards or temporary housing for the National Guard or exhausted doctors and nurses.”
Apartment Industry Calls On Congress To Provide More Support To Renters, Rental Operators (Forbes) - April 8
“Two national advocacy groups for the apartment industry are calling for Congress to provide additional relief and assistance for America’s rental housing providers, industry professionals and their residents in light of the uncertainty and challenges caused by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.”
COVID-19 risks for construction owners (KPMG) - April 8
"With governments shutting down non-essential activities and workers forced to stay home, many projects will be halted temporarily. Construction owners can expect all projects to be delayed by supply shortages and other issues. In this bulletin, we offer clients some perspectives on how to meet these challenges, starting with ensuring the health and safety of employees."
COVID-19: Critical Project Restart Strategies (FMI) - April 8
"The firms that have a proactive restart strategy for all their projects will be the most successful in achieving superior performance results and mitigating impacts from the pandemic."
Bala Consulting Engineers offers short- and long-term considerations for infection control in office buildings (Bala Consulting Engineers) - April 8
The firm offers specific strategies and research for HVAC, plumbing, and technology systems.
How to Work with a Remote Design Team (Fanning Howey) - April 8
"Remote teams are most successful when they prioritize project milestones and time efficiencies. Keep side conversations in team meetings to a minimum. Encourage non-pertinent or non-time-sensitive discussions to happen offline."
AGC of America is Urging Firms to Participate in a April 9th Nationwide Coronavirus Safety Stand Down (AGC) - April 8
"We are asking AGC of America members across the country to hold a nationwide coronavirus safety stand down at job sites on Thursday, April 9th. If you haven’t already participated in safety stand downs like the one organized earlier this week by the AGC of California, these stand downs will provide an opportunity for you to make sure that everyone working on your job sites understands, and follows, all relevant safety guidelines provided by public health and safety officials."
Past Downturns Offer Perspective to Hospitality Sector (Commercial Property Executive) - April 8
"Years of outstanding growth in hotel occupancy and revenue could help speed up recovery in major markets."
Construction Companies Eligible For Cash Under CARES Act, But Homebuilders Still In Limbo (Bisnow) - April 7
"Construction firms with a headcount of 500 or fewer may be eligible to apply for Paycheck Protection Program loans under the CARES Act, according to new guidance from the U.S. Department of the Treasury."
AIA task force launches tool for assessing COVID-19 alternative care sites (AIA) - April 7
"Tool is intended to assist non-healthcare design professionals with identifying alternative sites suitable for patient care."
Virtual Town Hall (April 21, 2:00-3:30 ET): Building Owner Challenges & Solutions (COAA) - April 7
"COAA is back with another Town Hall Meeting, this time featuring AGC economist Ken Simonson with a closer look at the current and future state of the industry and its markets. Time will be allotted for Q&A with Ken and a facilitated discussion that focuses once again on Owner solutions and responses."
New Trump Administration Guidance Now Allows Firms With 500 Or Fewer Employees To Qualify For Paycheck Protection Program Loans (AGC) - April 7
"The Associated General Contractors of America today announced that the Trump administration released new guidance that now allows firms with 500 or fewer employees to qualify for the new Paycheck Protection Program Loans. Association officials noted that the administration released the new guidance(link is external) after the association raised concerns over the weekend that many firms that employ 500 or fewer employees appeared to be excluded from the program."
Webinar (Wednesday, April 8, 2-3 pm ET): COVID-19 Challenges to the Construction Industry
Construction law firm Zetlin & De Chiara is hosting a webinar that will cover:
• Contractual Rights
• Contractual Obligations regarding the negative impact of current manpower, equipment, materials, and supply conditions
• Delays caused by the spread of COVID-19 and how those losses are likely to be addressed
• How AIA contract templates, including AIA Document A201, General Conditions, can be used as a starting point for discussion when addresses COVID-19 caused issues
3-minute BD+C poll: How is the coronavirus outbreak impacting your firm's projects?
Please take BD+C's three-minute poll on the AEC business impacts from the coronavirus outbreak. Your feedback and expertise are incredibly valuable to BD+C readers during these chaotic times. Thanks!
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COVID-19 Conversions: How to Turn High Schools into Hospitals (HKS) - April 7
"With the anticipated surge in COVID-19 cases, public health officials are quickly weighing options to prepare multiple building types for conversion into temporary patient care facilities to offload low-acuity health system demand. HKS is creating conceptual plans for hotels, schools and venues that can be rapidly converted to patient care without requiring hard-walled construction. The second report in our COVID-19 Conversions series is a concept study of how to quickly convert a high school into functional patient care spaces should the virus spread to predicted levels."
Hotel Occupancies Have Cratered. What Happens Next? (National Real Estate Investor) - April 6
"The recovery hotel experts had hoped to see in June now seems more likely to potentially arrive in July or August."
Study: How Professional Services Firms are Responding to the COVID-19 Disruption (Hinge) - April 6
In this flash special report, Hinge explores how firm leadership is addressing this unprecedented challenge—and how employees are reacting to their decisions. The report’s findings are based on a survey conducted between March 20 and March 31, 2020. The study included 217 employees from over 200 firms.
Read more and download the report
Construction unions take appeal for PPE donations to the airwaves (MetroBTC) - April 5
"Boston area Building Trades Unions launch PSA for radio and web in effort to collect more personal protective equipment for front-line health workers."
Pandemic preparedness: How hospitals can adapt buildings to address worst-case scenarios (Stantec) - April 3
A Canadian healthcare architect looks at how hospital staff can act now to modify facilities and contain a pandemic.
SFAA and NASBP Request Emergency Action Requiring Acceptance of Electronic Execution of Surety Bonding During the COVID-19 Pandemic (SFAA) - April 5
"The Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) and the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) urge federal, state and local officials, without delay, to issue emergency action regarding acceptance of the electronic execution and delivery of construction surety bonds and commercial surety bonds. 'A majority of these construction surety bonds are required for infrastructure projects directly related to health, safety and the growth of our economy,' said SFAA President and CEO Lee Covington."
Most multifamily contractors experiencing delays in projects due to coronavirus pandemic (BD+C) - April 6
"More than half of respondents (55%) to a new survey on multifamily construction by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) said that they were experiencing construction delays in the jurisdictions where they operate. The NMHC Construction Survey is intended to gauge the magnitude of the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak on multifamily construction."
King County, Wash., addresses homelessness and COVID-19 with rapid-response site conversions (BD+C) - April 5
"The county is adding 2,500 beds within a dozen Assessment & Recovery Centers that DLR Group helped to design."
Principia report tracks impact on lumber and building materials (BD+C) - April 5
"Most dealers and distributors of lumber and residential building products are still operating, although with some restrictions on supplies and services."
Architecture firms churn out protective face shields using their 3D printers (BD+C) - April 5
"KPF, BIG, bKL, edg, Höweler + Yoon, Handel Architects, Grimshaw, Terreform One, Weiss Manfredi, and Brooks+Scarpa among the firms making protective gear for front-line medical personnel."
New Small Business Administration loan guidance appears to exclude many construction firms that employ fewer than 500 people (AGC) - April 5
"The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, called on the Small Business Administration (SBA) to revise its eligibility guidelines for its new Paycheck Protection Program to make clear that any firm that employs 500 or fewer people to qualify, regardless of the average annual receipts size standard used for construction."
NFPA develops guidance to address fire and life safety challenges in temporary and traditional health care facilities (NFPA) - April 3
"With an anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients in communities nationwide, health care locations are being modified to provide more beds, existing buildings are being repurposed, and temporary structures are being put into service to meet impending demands. In response, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created two immediate resources to help health care engineers, designers, and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) provide the safest levels of fire and life safety possible as these unprecedented circumstances continue to evolve and emerge."
AIA task force seeks designs of COVID-19 alternative care sites (AIA) - April 3
"An American Institute of Architects (AIA) task force is asking architects, designers, engineers and facility owners around the globe to provide design information on COVID-19 alternative healthcare sites for a new online resource launching today. AIA’s task force has created the online tool to facilitate information sharing and the development of best practices for responding to COVID-19 and future pandemics."
Opinoin: Cities will survive the pandemic (FXCollaborative) - April 3
"Density may make it easier for the virus to spread, but let’s not forget that cities are in many ways the heart of society, and a springboard of big ideas, inventions, art, and culture."
Kogniz Health launches AI-based fever detection cameras for crowds to help limit coronavirus spread (Kogniz Health) - April 3
System continuously scans crowds for fever as they enter facilities to locate and isolate risks.
COVID-19 cuts nonresidential construction employment in March (ABC) - April 2
The construction unemployment rate was 6.9% in March, up 1.7 percentage points from the same time one year ago.
27% of construction firms report layoffs amid COVID-19 outbreak, 59% are experiencing project delays (AGC) - April 3
"The fast-worsening COVID-19 pandemic has triggered layoffs at more than a quarter of construction firms responding to an online survey released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. The finding, based on responses from earlier this week, contrasts with the government’s monthly employment report for March, which found that construction employment declined by 29,000 as of mid-March."
Number of confirmed delayed projects reaches 2,342 in the U.S., 1,195 in Canada (ConstructConnect)
ConstructConnect's Delayed Project Tracker is updated daily.
View the report
Katerra CEO's salary cut to $0 amid layoffs, operation shutdowns (Construction Dive) - April 3
"'As parts of our business shut down [due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic] we unfortunately need to make some reductions in personnel through layoffs and furloughs,' Katerra CEO Michael Marks told Construction Dive in a written statement on April 2."
WeWork Asks Landlords to Help It Cut Its Rent Bill by Up to 30% (Bloomberg) - April 2
"WeWork is in discussions with its biggest landlords globally as the co-working giant aims to slash as much as 30% from its copious load of rent liabilities, according to people with knowledge of the talks. WeWork Chief Executive Officer Sandeep Mathrani has been contacting the largest owners of buildings in which the New York-based company is a tenant, and pitching solutions including revenue-sharing agreements, the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks are private."
Some Investors Are Still Going Ahead with MOB Acquisitions, Seen as a “Defensive Play” (National Real Estate Investor) - April 2
"In spite of near-term disruptions to some tenants from the current pandemic, MOBs are viewed as a safe bet in an uncertain environment."
Preventing the Pending Collapse of the Real Estate Market (Commercial Observer) - April 2
"This is nothing like 2008. This is not the result of high leverage, risky loans. This is affecting the entire real estate market, including sectors that have historically been considered the most recession resistant. Today, even the safest investment isn’t safe if people across all sectors can’t pay their rent. We are not talking about office or hotel properties, we are talking about all classes, most importantly multifamily. If nobody can pay their rent, there can’t be a market."
Open-Plan Offices and Shared Spaces Were the “Disruptors” of the Decade. Then a Virus Arrived. (National Real Estate Investor) - April 2
"Open-plan offices, less space per employee and co-working solutions were among the biggest trends of 2010s. Are they about to go away?"
CannonDesign initiates industry coalition to make masks for healthcare providers (BD+C) - April 2
"The team is ideating a better do-it-yourself mask that will be able to be produced efficiently to help meet the urgent need. Initial partners include SUNY Buffalo, materialsIn, Oxford Pennant, Stitch Buffalo, and The Factory Buffalo. The toymaker Fisher Price is also supporting the initiative."
HMC Architects using 3D Printers to make face shields for healthcare workers (BD+C) - April 2
"HMC Architects is among the latest design brands to manufacture face shields for healthcare workers in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Using the Columbia University Library Studios information as a guide, the design firm is applying its fabrication capabilities and Ultimaker 3D printers to manufacture PPE face shields and make them available to hospitals and clinics in its communities."
The COVID-19 Economic Shutdown is Already Hitting Multifamily Rents (National Real Estate Investor) - April 2
"The average rents on apartments are already dropping, as the U.S. economy grinds to a halt and millions of workers have lost their jobs, been furloughed or have been asked to stay home to fight the rapid spread of COVID-19."
As virus spreads across North America, software providers step up with cost-free offerings (BD+C) - April 2
"The goal is to keep construction projects moving forward at a time when jobs are being postponed or canceled."
SBA and Treasury begin effort to distribute $349 billion in emergency small business capital (NECA) - April 2
The new loan program will help small businesses with their payroll and other business operating expenses.
Informed by its latest Crane Index, Rider Levett Bucknall anticipates the effect of coronavirus on the construction industry (Rider Levett Bucknall) - April 2
While total crane count holds steady, turbulent economic conditions indicate a recession-based drop in construction costs.
How is the coronavirus outbreak impacting your firm's projects? (BD+C) - April 2
Please take BD+C's three-minute poll on the AEC business impacts from the coronavirus outbreak.
Take the poll
Procore will provide free access to its software to support COVID-19 construction projects (Procore) - April 2
"The construction industry is playing a critical role in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the growing need for additional healthcare and manufacturing facilities. Current Procore customers working on qualifying COVID-19 emergency relief projects are eligible for additional Procore platform access and support, which can be run through their existing Procore
account, at no additional cost."
TLC’s Michael Sheerin offers guidance on ventilation in COVID-19 healthcare settings (BD+C) - April 1
"Michael Sheerin, PE, CEO of TLC Engineering Solutions, chairs the ASHRAE Standard 170 committee, which covers the ventilation of healthcare facilities. A 25-plus-year veteran of designing mechanical systems for healthcare, Sheerin and colleagues at ASHRAE, ASHE, and TLC have created a PDF document (updated almost daily) to advise design, engineering, and construction professionals as to the nuances of ventilation for facilities where COVID-19 patients are being treated."
Co-Living Providers Feeling Short-Term Pain, But Still Confident In Sector's Future (Bisnow) - April 1
"Co-living providers like Common and Quarters have been expanding rapidly across the U.S., betting on the idea that people want to live in apartments with multiple roommates and large socializing spaces. These co-living companies now must navigate a pandemic that is forcing people to practice social distancing and an economic crisis that is leaving millions unemployed, challenging their business models and their growth prospects."
The heart of resilient leadership: Responding to COVID-19 (Deloitte Insights) - April 1
"Five fundamental qualities of resilient leadership distinguish successful CEOs as they guide their enterprises through the COVID-19 crisis. Learn specific steps that can help blunt the crisis’s impact—and enable your organization to emerge stronger."
Opinion: What can we learn from the coronavirus pandemic? (Jerry Yudelson) - April 1
"What have we learned so far from the coronavirus pandemic? It will soon end, soon be in the rear-view mirror, but we can still take lessons learned as directions for going forward. First, as individuals, we’ve already learned that can get by with much less than we are used to. Maybe this crisis might be a wake-up call to simplify our lives, to focus on what really matters, which will strengthen our ability to respond in the future."
FMI video: How to plan for uncertain times (FMI) - April 1
"One of the challenges we see when times are very uncertain is that managers fall into one of two camps most often in regards to decision making. Either it's decision paralysis on the one hand, or gut instinct on the other," says Jay Bowman, FMI's Managing Director of Research & Analytics in this new video.
Results from AIASF's COVID-19 Survey (AIASF) - April 1
"Broadly speaking the survey results showed that many businesses are facing similar challenges, including projects put on hold or cancelled, staffing changes, event cancellations, and the challenges in transitioning into working remotely. Firms projected the number of weeks they could sustain their regular business activity before having to make major changes in staffing."
Converting alternate sites to patient space options (ASHE) - April 1
A new ASHE resource page compiles guidance to help hospitals in the effort to increase space capacity. It highlights work from The Center for Health Design on connecting hotels and hospitals, USACE guidance on helping local governments address surges, and a concept study on using hotels for patient space. The resource page will be updated as new information is made available.
Three reasons you should keep sewing face masks (as long as you follow simple best practices) (CannonDesign) - April 1
Here are three reasons to encourage sewists coast to coast to keep their foot on the pedal.
NFPA offers resources for conducting remote video inspections (RVI) when access to buildings is limited (NFPA) - April 1
"As code officials, enforcers, and inspectors work to ensure building safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has created a fact sheet that provides guidance on how to conduct a remote video inspection (RVI), enabling one or more parties to remotely perform an inspection of a building or building component. RVI is currently in use in select jurisdictions across the U.S., although no formal standard governs its use. These jurisdictions often utilize everyday smartphone technologies to facilitate the inspection."
Download the fact sheet on RVI
On-demand webinar: When Disaster Strikes How Do AIA Contract Documents Address COVID 19 Issues - April 1
With a focus on two specific AIA contract documents—A201®-2017, General Conditions of the Contract for Construction and the B101™-2017, Owner/Architect Agreement—the webinar also explores how AIA contracts can address project delays, extensions, suspension, termination, payment and dispute resolution. The webinar was recorded March 27 and had over 2,000 participants. Additional information regarding how AIA contract documents can address project disruptions resulting from COVID-19 are available on the AIA Contract Documents website: https://www.aiacontracts.org/articles/6281746-how-aia-contracts-address-...
February’s construction spending decline indicates what’s to come (ABC) - April 1
Private nonresidential spending declined 2% on a monthly basis and is down 0.7% compared to February 2019.
Webinar (Tuesday, April 7, 12 p.m. ET): Contending with COVID-19 Challenges on Health Facility, System and State Levels (Array) - April 1
Join experts from Array Advisors, Array Analytics, and Array Architects for a live webinar to learn actionable strategies to increase capacity and improve throughout at the health facility, system or state/county levels.
Steel industry groups urge Congress to include infrastructure in next stimulus bill (AISI) - April 1
"Five major steel industry groups today strongly urged Congress to include significant infrastructure investment in the next phase of COVID-19 stimulus legislation to provide a clear path toward our nation’s recovery. 'American businesses will not likely feel the full economic impact of COVID-19 until later this year, as social distancing and shelter-in-place measures undoubtedly save lives but continue to slow economic activity in the manufacturing and construction sectors' the group said in a letter."
How Architects and Designers Can Respond to COVID-19 (Common Edge) - March 31
"In times of crisis, it is human nature to want to help. Where can designers be most effective? How do we put our skills to use in the right context, at the right time? COVID-19 is a medical crisis, certainly, but it’s also a psychological, economic, and logistical crisis. Without a vaccine on the immediate horizon, with no initial herd immunity, our primary method of stemming the flow of destruction is a spatial response: social distancing and quarantine. Surely the design community has something to contribute here, right?"
February rise in construction outlays contrasts with pandemic-driven collapse in March as owners, government orders shut down projects (AGC) - March 31
Survey finds contractors face shortages of materials and workers, delivery delays and cancellations.
Green cleaning and the coronavirus (Paladino) - April 1
If your cleaning teams use bleach to disinfect buildings from Coronavirus, will you put your LEED certification at risk?
U.S. EPA Issues Enforcement Policy for Noncompliance Resultant from COVID-19 Pandemic (AGC) - April 1
"On Mar. 26, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued a new, temporary enforcement discretion policy for certain noncompliance events that can be documented and tied to the COVID-19 epidemic. U.S. EPA has emphasized that this new policy is not a "license to pollute."
Seven CRE Professionals Offer Their Takes on Work and Life While Sheltering in Place (National Real Estate Investor) - March 31
"So how are commercial real estate professionals staying productive and staying sane while adjusting to the country’s new lifestyle?"
Massachusetts Building Trades Council votes unanimously to call for a statewide suspension of all regular activity at construction sites in Massachusetts (MBTC) - March 31
"Today, the Executive Board of the 75,000 member Massachusetts Building Trades Council voted unanimously to call on Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker to declare a statewide suspension of all regular activity at construction sites in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts beginning Friday April 3rd and continuing through April 30th.
The vote was unanimous among the statewide council, including among Local unions representing workers from the Berkshires to Cape Cod. The council is advocating that the only work the government should permit to move forward should be emergency and certain essential work. That emergency and essential work includes:
• Emergency utility, road or building work, such as gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes
• New utility connections to occupied buildings
• Mandated building or utility work
• Work at public health facilities, healthcare facilities, shelters, including temporary shelters and other facilities that support vulnerable populations
• Work which ensures the reliability of the transportation network, and
• Other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable."
Array Advisors Projects Massive Shortage of Critical Care Physicians Due to COVID-19 (Array Advisors) - March 31
"At the national scale, the U.S. is projected to experience a shortage of over 4,000 critical care physicians due to COVID-19, according to new model from Array Advisors. The model projects the net demand for critical care physicians in each state as a result of COVID-19, accounting for both the projected demand for ICU beds and the potential reduction in providers due to infection of the healthcare workforce."
As cities scramble for hospital beds to treat COVID-19 patients, Leo A Daly offers a hotel-to-hospital solution (BD+C) - March 31
"Leo A Daly is currently negotiating with several hoteliers about converting large portfolios of hotels into healthcare facilities that follow the firm’s Hotel2Hospital prototype, which would conform with design guidelines released last week to state governments by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which relax some of the hospital safety standards."
Has COVID-19 spelled the death knell for open-plan offices? (BD+C) - March 31
"The novel coronavirus may have claimed yet another victim—the open-plan office. 'Open plan,' which is used in about 70% of U.S. office workplaces, has been under scrutiny for a number of reasons: employee privacy, noise and visual distractions, work interruption, negative impact on workflow, just as it has its advocates for similar reasons: greater employee collaboration, hipper work environment, etc."
Webinar today (March 31, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET): Legal Issues in the Electrical Contracting Industry Related to COVID-19 (NECA) - March 31
"NECA’s General Counsel, Jef Fagan, and the NECA team at Faegre Drinker Biddle and Reath LLP will provide valuable insight to NECA’s Chapters and Members on general legal compliance and best practices related to the Coronavirus pandemic. The presentation will provide a general update and overview of a contractor’s obligations and entitlements under the Family First Coronavirus Response Act and the Care Act."
AGC: Stimulus aid could cause confusion for construction firms (AGC) - March 30
In its recent analysis of the CARES Act, AGC officials released guidance for its members: "AGC is concerned that there will be confusion among the construction industry because there will be two different regimes of rules for calculating if a construction firm has fewer than 500 employees: one for the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) paid leave mandates as guided by the Fair Labor Standards Act; and the other for this new small business loan program under the federal Small Business Act and regulations."
Learning from covid-19: Campuses are poised to help students be happier (GBBN) - March 30
Overcoming isolation isn’t just about the technological face to face, it is about finding meaningful connection and “togetherness”.
COVID-19 innovation: Setting parameters for hotel-to-hospital conversions (tvsdesign and BD+C) - March 30
"tvsdesign breaks down different room types and how they might help free up hospital beds for coronavirus patients."
Telephone town hall (March 30, 5 p.m. ET): Commercial roofing industry update from NRCA
"The National Roofing Contractors Association will hold a COVID-19 Telephone Town Hall Monday, March 30, at 5 p.m. EST. The purpose of the town hall is to share the latest information regarding COVID-19 as it relates to the roofing industry."
#WFH podcast: Life of an Architect's Bob Borson, FAIA, and Andrew Hawkins, AIA, on the new reality of working from home full-time
"Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business as usual is anything but. Andrew and I felt like we should interrupt our regularly scheduled podcast to take some time and talk about working from home—something that we all are going to have to deal with for the foreseeable future."
Listen to the podcast episode
5 noteworthy megaprojects still under construction during the outbreak (Construction Dive) - March 30
"As confusion over whether or not construction is considered “essential” grows, and continues to beg for clarification, here is a brief look at some major projects continuing work, and what their local mandates are demanding."
US mall owner Taubman is telling tenants they must pay rent amid coronavirus (CNBC) - March 30
"In a memo dated March 25, which was obtained by CNBC, the real estate investment trust said it still has its own obligations to meet — such as paying lenders on mortgages and paying for utilities."
With Rent Soon Due, Apartment Industry Already Copes With Coronavirus Effects (Forbes) - March 30
"The coronavirus pandemic has largely paused the country’s economy, triggering a record 3 million jobless claims in a single week in March. Many renters – as well as homeowners – are struggling to shoulder their bills, especially in metros with high costs of living. But landlords are adapting, too, establishing a variety of reprieves for their tenants."
COVID-19's impact on the multifamily sector - UPDATED NUMBERS (BD+C) - March 30
"COVID-19 is taking its toll on the U.S. vertical construction market. In a March 23-26 survey by the Associated General Contractors of America, 20% of the 659 respondents from "buildings contractors" reported projects being shut down or delayed by government officials, while 45% of those surveyed said an owner had instructed them to halt or cancel construction on a current or planned project."
Webinar today (11:00 am - 12:30 pm ET, Monday, March 30): When disaster strikes: How do AIA Contract Documents address COVID-19 issues? Earn 1.5 AIA HSW LUs
"For the foreseeable future, the design and construction industry may experience considerable disruptions, such as material shortages, construction delays, work stoppages, and projects that are deferred due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Join us for a free webinar as expert presenters explore contract provisions regarding project delays, extensions, suspension and termination, payment, dispute resolution, and insurance."
Delayed projects tracker, updated daily (ConstructConnect) - March 30
The U.S. currently has 1,742 construction projects that are delayed, according to ConstructConnect. Canada has 763 projects delayed.
Check out the delayed projects tracker
Essential or nonessential? AGC says Department of Homeland Security language clarifies confusion over construction jobsites (AGC) - March 28
Statement from AGC's CEO Stephen E. Sandherr: “Federal officials have, wisely, heeded our advice and opted to release new guidance that makes it clear that construction activities are included in its list of essential critical infrastructure workers. This new federal guidance should help eliminate the confusion and ambiguity that has led several state and local officials to needlessly order halts to construction activity that is clearly essential."
Sharp jump in owners cancelling or delaying construction projects across the country, new survey finds (AGC) - March 27
After 42 states added jobs in February, coronavirus is taking a swift and severe toll on the industry, prompting association officials to call for additional measures to help workers and firms recover.
Penn Medicine speeds up construction of $1.5B Philly hospital by 15 months during coronavirus crisis (Construction Dive) - March 27
"Construction is hurrying along for the University of Pennsylvania Health System's (Penn Medicine) Pavilion, a $1.5 billion, 17-story, 1.5-million-square-foot hospital on the campus of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). The Pavilion, which will add about 120 beds, is expected to open in mid-April, a spokesperson for Penn Medicine, which operates HUP, said in a statement. With construction continuing 24/7, the project would be completed 15 months ahead of schedule."
Covid-19 stalls demand for design services (AIA) - March 27
Two thirds of architecture firms report slowing or stoppage of projects due to COVID-19.
Designing healthcare for surge capacity (Gensler) - March 27
"We believe that part of the longer-term answer lies not just with traditional health providers, but in the potential of our cities and communities to adapt and change."
New York construction work ruled as ‘not essential,’ most projects must halt amid coronavirus (NY Daily News) - March 27
"Gov. Cuomo has ruled that construction is not “essential” work, effectively shutting down most building work as coronavirus spikes, Mayor de Blasio said Friday. The governor told the city that construction work must stop immediately, like other industries that are closing down to combat the spread of the deadly pandemic." Cuomo said work that is not directly related to either fighting COVID-19 or maintaining city operations must shut down.
How construction contractors are working to manage coronavirus risks (Zurich North America) - March 27
"Contractors are staggering shifts and crews are cleaning tools, handles and hands in cities where projects continue."
It’s not if, but when: Designing healthcare spaces that support pandemic response (Stantec) - March 26
What can we learn from Singapore’s response to COVID-19? How does it impact the next generation of hospitals?
The Four Possible Timelines for Life Returning to Normal (The Atlantic) - March 26
"The coronavirus outbreak may last for a year or two, but some elements of pre-pandemic life will likely be won back in the meantime."
Coronavirus shutdown order halts construction on many projects, but not all (The Seattle Times) - March 26
"Builders weren’t at the KeyArena construction site Thursday as Gov. Jay Inslee’s order requiring all nonessential workers stay at home for two weeks took effect. But they’ll be back on the job starting Monday, said Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group, the company leading the $930 million arena renovation of the stadium into a much larger arena for Seattle’s new National Hockey League team."
A Spur to the Biotech Century Ahead (WSJ) - March 26
The coronavirus plague will hasten our transition to the third great innovation revolution of modern times. These revolutions arose from the discovery, beginning just over a century ago, of the three fundamental kernels of our existence: the atom, the bit and the gene.
Architects taking action to support COVID-19 response (AIA) - March 26
New AIA task force will offer insights for adapting buildings into healthcare facilities.
AGC: Senate coronavirus relief bill's tax and lending provisions will help construction firms, but industry needs additional measures (AGC) - March 26
Construction officials say measure will help firms cope with immediate cash flow crunch, but industry needs compensation for losses.
Coronavirus Latest from Oxford Economics: Economic toll mounts even as governments offset lockdowns with policy lifelines (Oxford Economics) - March 26
- The $2tn US stimulus package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides fiscal stimulus, loans, and loan guarantees amounting to 9% of US GDP.
- With partial lockdowns across the United States leading to a sudden stop in economic activity, the US will experience the largest economic contraction on record with the most severe surge in unemployment ever. The latest stimulus measures will reduce the risk of an even deeper depression in activity and employment and support a post-virus rebound in activity — but it won’t prevent the ongoing recession.
- The three-pronged CARES Act will support households via direct checks to low- and middle-income families along with an expansion of unemployment benefits. It will support large and small businesses via nearly $1tn of loans, loan guarantees, and bailout funds. And it will provide new funding for hospitals, state and local governments and a myriad of federal agencies.
- Given the lack of details and foresight surrounding the take-up from lending programs, it is not possible yet to quantify the net budget impact of the CARES Act. However, since nearly half of the funding is toward lending facilities, the budget shortfall will be much less than 9% of GDP.
- We caution against the misguided notion that the programme can be leveraged to provide a $6tn stimulus to the economy. The size of the leverage is a function of credit-loss provisions so that the program acts more as a floor preventing an economic collapse rather than providing a pure boost to activity.
How to convert college dorms to support the coronavirus crisis (NBBJ) - March 26
While student dormitories are well-suited to certain alternate healthcare uses — from housing clinical staff to treating low-acuity patients — there are important elements to consider when exploring how to convert them for coronavirus treatment.
AIA praises Congress for advancing desperately needed COVID-19 relief (AIA) - March 26
Approval for the latest relief legislation advances a number of AIA-supported measures to help meet the needs of firms and members.
Designing public health laboratories to safeguard researchers during pandemics (CannonDesign) - March 25
"As laboratory designers, we want to shed light on a subset of our population critical to protecting us from, and preventing the spread of, severe outbreaks: public health researchers."
Plaza Construction and Central Consulting & Contracting strategic alliance expands to Florida in response to coronavirus pandemic (Plaza Construction) - March 25
"By aligning expertise and resources, the companies will provide swift, effective, and efficient construction services to healthcare systems throughout the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida regions on a no-fee basis for projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Congress Races to Pass $2 Trillion Aid Bill as Virus Shakes Society (New York Times) - March 26
"The Senate unanimously approved a bill that promises a $1,200 payout to millions of Americans, increases jobless aid and creates a business bailout fund. The House is expected to pass it by Friday, sending it to President Trump for approval."
WEBINAR ON DEMAND: COVID-19 Implications for real estate investors and occupiers (Cushman & Wakefield, recorded March 23) - March 26
Topics include a macroeconomics analysis from Chief Economist, Kevin Thorpe, and commentary on the pulse of real estate investors and occupiers from Carlo Barel di Sant’Albano, Doug Harmon and Steve Quick.
Watch the webinar
Virtual Town Hall, March 31, 2:00-3:30 pm EST: Construction Owners Association of America (COAA)
"Join your fellow Owners, service providers, and other industry stakeholders in a virtual Town Hall Meeting to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on our industry. This will largely be focused on what attendees want to discuss, but we’ll also provide ideas for working better virtually and explain what COAA is doing to support Owners and members during these unprecedented times. You’re welcome to participate actively or just listen in."
Bernanke: Coronavirus disruptions ‘much closer to a major snowstorm’ than the Great Depression (CNBC) - March 25
"Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman who served before and after the 2008 financial crisis, told CNBC on Wednesday the coronavirus economic halt is more like a 'major snowstorm' than an economic depression. Bernanke said he does expect a 'very sharp' U.S. recession, but also a 'fairly quick' recovery."
Carlo Ratti Converts Shipping Containers into Intensive-Care Pods for the COVID-19 Pandemic (ArchDaily) - March 25
"Thanks to biocontainment with negative pressure, the 20-foot intermodal containers are safe isolation ward, each containing all the medical equipment needed for two COVID-19 intensive-care patients, including ventilators and intravenous fluids stands. In fact, each compact pod for patients with respiratory infections can work autonomously."
#COVID19 AEC Industry Webinars for this week
Thursday, March 26
Navigating the Outbreak, Part IV: How to Protect Your People and Your Projects (2:00-3:30 pm EDT)
Hosted by AGC
Cost: Free for AGC members; $599 for nonmembers for eight-part webinar series
Friday, March 27
How do AIA Contract Documents address COVID-19 issues? (12:00-1:30 pm EDT)
Hosted by AIA Contract Documents
Navigating the Outbreak, Part V: The Components of a Comprehensive Project Continuity Plan (2:00-3:30 pm EDT)
Hosted by AGC
Cost: Free for AGC members; $599 for nonmembers for eight-part webinar series
Congress and White House Strike Deal for $2 Trillion Stimulus Package (New York Times) - March 25
"The plan would provide direct payments to taxpayers, jobless benefits and a $500 billion fund to assist distressed businesses, with oversight requirements demanded by Democrats."
Webinar, March 27, 12-1:30 pm ET: How do AIA Contract Documents address COVID-19 issues? (AIA Contract Documents) - March 25
"Learn about Force Majeure, a French term, literally translating to 'a superior force' and how the AIA’s various agreements allocate these types of risks, including disruptions, materials shortages, delays, and other issues.
Explore the roles and responsibilities of the project team members. Learn the importance of effective contract documents and communication among project members in order to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the public."
Register for this webinar (no cost)
Watch AGC's March 20 webinar: Latest Developments and Impact on the Construction Industry (AGC) - March 25
AGC held a WebEd for members and chapters on Friday, March 20th for an update on how the construction industry is being impacted by the coronavirus.
Watch the webinar
Download the slides
Five steel industry groups urge administration not to weaken import tariffs (American Iron and Steel Institute) - March 25
“The steel industry in the United States appreciates the efforts the administration has been making to limit the spread and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on businesses and the broader economy. Any efforts to delay or reduce the collection of duties on unfairly-traded steel imports or imports that threaten to impair U.S. national and economic security will ultimately hurt U.S. workers and businesses during this unprecedented moment.
The group expressed concern about a communication posted through the Cargo Systems Messaging Service (CSMS) on March 20, 2020, which notes that CBP will grant “additional days for payment of estimated duties, taxes, and fees” on a case-by-case basis as a result of the emergency situation, and the possibility that a longer-term policy may be forthcoming."
How AIA contracts address issues arising due to the COVID-19 pandemic (AIA Contract Documents) - March 25
"For the foreseeable future, the design and construction industry may experience considerable disruptions, such as material shortages, construction delays, work stoppages, and suspended and terminated projects due to the coronavirus pandemic. This article provides some tips on how to handle project delays, suspensions, and terminations with AIA documents, and also provides a list of some insurance issues to consider."
Coronavirus impacts all aspects of the U.S. economy (JLL) - March 24
"The longest expansion in U.S. history is over and recent data releases are signaling trouble. COVID-19 is impacting all aspects of the economy and the Fed and Congress are pulling out all the stops to get it back on track."
Coronavirus’ Impacts On Real Estate: Why You Need To Think Short-Term And Longer-Term (Forbes, RCLCO) - March 24
"The real estate industry is being clobbered by the coronavirus, and it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The effects on real estate will vary by sector and market, and the extent of the effects will depend upon the duration of the economic shutdown.
The sectors of real estate that have been hit hardest so far are hotels, restaurants, bars and other entertainment retail (particularly in tourist-driven areas) followed closely by retail and housing (particularly second-home and luxury homes)."
AIASF Virtual Town Hall Meeting: March 25, 12:00-1:00 pm pacific (AIA SF) - March 24
"As the architectural profession responds to the novel coronavirus, we all have questions. While there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, what we know for certain is there will be impacts on your business, your clients, your employees and your projects. You are invited to a conversation to share stories and learn from each other about steps being taken to weather this storm. While none of us have all the answers, or answers that are appropriate everywhere, collectively we can share our concerns, responses and ideas. This intel will help frame a statewide panel discussion (via webinar) later this month."
Ontario construction unions plead with government to shut them down (Global News) - March 24
"The executive director of the Ontario Construction Consortium, Phil Gillies, said the announcement by Premier Doug Ford to shut down non-essential businesses confused the construction industry and has left workers feeling unprotected. 'It makes no sense that you can’t have your neighbour over for a cup of coffee yet construction sites are expected to continue operations and they can have hundreds of employees working in close proximity to each other,' said Gillies."
Resort in Las Vegas On Hold, Other Construction Continues Amid Spread of COVID-19 (CTBUH) - March 24
"With COVID-19 upending daily life in Las Vegas, at least one major real estate project has shelved construction work over the outbreak, and at least one other says it plans to keep building. The Drew Las Vegas owner Steve Witkoff said in a statement on the evening of 17 March 2020 it has “paused construction crews from coming onsite” at the north Strip hotel-casino and asked corporate employees to work from home."
Amid uncertainty around COVID-19, architects adjust to a new normal (AIA) - March 24
"Last week, architecture firm principals locked their office doors behind them and implemented telework policies as part of the worldwide push to combat the spread of COVID-19. The larger AEC industry felt the ripple effects of social distancing measures later in the week as Boston’s mayor placed a two-week halt on construction projects, setting a potential precedent for other city officials to follow.
In this time of uncertainty, architects and their firms are learning to face short-term challenges as they adapt to conducting day-to-day operations in a new, largely online way. In the longer term, navigating economic uncertainty—the scope of which is still emerging—will be top-of-mind for every firm."
Shut down all nonessential jobsites to protect construction workers from COVID-19: A superintendent's perspective (Construction Dive) - March 24
"I am a superintendent who works in the field daily and I have seen firsthand how some local construction companies in my area are pushing forward on projects that are far from essential and are putting the health and safety of employees and their families, some of whom are already elderly or have underlying conditions, at risk in the name of schedule and profit."
Timely reading: An Architect’s Guide to Virtual Practice (AIA) - March 24
"While there are many benefits of a virtual practice, as with most any enterprise, there are also risks. Hiring the right professionals, such as an attorney, a business consultant, and a financial advisor, is the best approach to help you lay the groundwork you’ll need for future success. It’s vitally important that every practitioner understand what is legally required so they don’t discover too late what can go wrong."
Webinar (Thursday, March 26, 12 pm EDT): Emergency Business Planning (Hosted by Morrissey Goodale) - March 24
"The Coronavirus is moving fast. Your business decisions need to come even faster. Sound decisions require planning to help you navigate market turbulence. Reacting without a plan or an understanding of how events and decisions could impact your business is a gamble you shouldn’t take. Don’t risk everything on this bi-generational challenge. It isn’t just how COVID-19 impacts your business, it’s about the impact on your customers, their funders, regulators and other officials."
Register for this webinar ($79)
News Investors Eyeing Second Half Bounce If Coronavirus Is Contained (Bisnow) - March 23
"If the spread of the coronavirus is contained, some economists and commercial real estate experts are predicting that the property market should bounce back later this year. 'As of today, the consensus is still assuming a rebound at some point in the second half of 2020,' Cushman & Wakefield Global Chief Economist Kevin Thorpe said during a company webinar on the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19."
AGC, Others, Push OSHA to Stop Treating Coronavirus Positives as Reportable Incidents & Calls for Flexibility for Firms Running Short of N95 Masks (AGC) - March 23
"AGC, along with our industry partners on the Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC), is pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to re-evaluate its decision to treat cases of employees contracting COVID-19 as recordable incidents. Instead, healthcare providers should be required to report these cases on their logs because they are in direct contact with people with confirmed cases and are at greatest risk. At the same time, we are pushing OSHA to provide flexibility in enforcement with respect to respirator use due to the growing shortage of N95 respirators. For example, OSHA should consider allowing job rotation to reduce exposures to employees who may not have access to the appropriate masks."
YouTube Webinar: How two architecture firms are handling a virtual work environment (Boston Society for Architecture) - March 23
This webinar features tips and advice from two Boston-based architecture firms: Margulies Perruzzi Architects (MPA) and swam architecture.
View the webinar on demand
Download the slidedeck
Webinar (Tuesday, March 24, 12 pm EDT and Wednesday, March 25, 12 pm EDT): Working Remotely - The New Normal (Hosted by Morrissey Goodale) - March 24
"The Coronavirus has made working remotely the new normal for the A/E industry. Join Stafford Palmieiri for this timely 60-minute webinar as she delivers valuable strategies on how to keep you producing, managing, and leading at the highest level— from home. Experience immediate payoffs."
Register for this webinar ($79)
CRE Grapples With 'Nuclear Winter' As Sublease Inventory Rises (Bisnow) - March 23
"One of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic appears to be an increase in sublease inventory up and down the West Coast, which is itself a harbinger of recession, tenant brokerage Hughes Marino said this week."
HFA to Offer Multifamily Owners Forbearance to Help Prevent Evictions (National Real Estate Investor) - March 23
"The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus."
Apartment Landlords Ready Themselves For Wave Of Unpaid Rent (Bisnow) - March 23
"The spreading coronavirus — and the drastic measures governments are imposing in a bid to slow it — is wreaking havoc on the country’s economy. Multifamily landlords are now working out how to handle the weeks and months ahead if their expected rents fall short."
RMJM introduces database for quarantined architects to help them find work (RMJM) - March 23
"This new initiative will offer opportunities to ensure that architects, engineers and designers affected by the coronavirus crisis around the world can keep working and earning while they are distanced from their workplaces and teams."
Javits Center may host four emergency hospitals (NY Post) - March 23
"Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to set up four emergency hospitals inside Manhattan’s Javits Center to help combat the coronavirus, as the number of state cases blew past 15,000, with nearly 10,000 in the five boroughs."
Construction can continue in New York, California and Illinois amid shutdown orders. In other regions, it's banned (Construction Dive) - March 23
"For now, it appears that the shutdowns that have been enacted so far exempt most construction activities, but with caveats."
NRCA Organizes Letter Campaign to Address Business Concerns During COVID-19 Crisis (NRCA) - March 23
"To help address roofing professionals’ business concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the National Roofing Contractors Association led an industrywide effort March 19 to send a letter to President Trump asking the administration to provide clear guidance to states regarding essential industry and essential worker designations. In the letter, NRCA and affiliate organizations requested guidance from the administration clarifying essential businesses, services and workers be issued to state and local governments and explained why the guidance should recognize the role of the roofing industry in protecting U.S. families and employers."
Is construction an 'essential industry'? Yes and no, says AGC. (AGC) - March 23
"The federal government recently released a list(link is external) detailing “critical infrastructure industries” whose workers are “essential” and should continue normal work schedules. Although the document lists industries for which construction is absolutely critical, our industry was not explicitly included. Even though the list “is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself,” some states have/are considering it for determining which industries can go to work amid state and local COVID-19 responses to shelter in place, among other policies."
'Business as usual': Coronavirus hasn't hurt Omaha-area construction projects (Omaha World-Herald) - March 22
"It’s full speed ahead right now at many Omaha-area construction and redevelopment sites. Some might even be accelerated. That’s the word from multiple developers and construction leaders who said the novel coronavirus so far hasn’t deterred their local building projects — at least not those already underway."
Multifamily housing group to apartment owners: Step up and support residents impacted by COVID-19 (NMHC) - March 22
The National Multifamily Housing Council released the following recommendations for apartment owners to help America’s renters retain their housing during this crisis:
• Halt evictions for 90 days for those who can show they have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (This would not apply to evictions for other lease violations such as property damage, criminal activity or endangering the safety of other residents of the community.)
• Avoid rent increases for 90 days to help residents weather the crisis.
• Create payment plans for residents who are unable to pay their rent because of the outbreak and waive late fees for those residents.
• Identify governmental and community resources to help residents secure food, financial assistance and healthcare and share that information with residents.
• Communicate to residents that it is a priority for the industry to partner with them to help them retain their housing.
• Develop a response plan for potential COVID-19 exposure.
"We also recognize that most rental properties are owned by individuals and small businesses that have financial obligations, including mortgages, utilities, payroll, insurance and taxes. If residents cannot pay their full rent obligations because of the COVID-19 outbreak then owners are at risk of not meeting their own financial obligations. This puts the individual property and the larger community in which it is located at risk.
Congress must extend mortgage forbearance to rental property owners and extend similar protections to other financial obligations such as insurance premiums, utility service payments and tax liabilities. Forbearance is needed to prevent foreclosure and other adverse actions such as lien placements, utility shut offs, defaults, and judgements that would negatively impact the viability of the property’s continued operation and ultimately put its residents at risk of additional disruption."
Updated forecast: Coronavirus pandemic inflicts a short, sharp recession on the global economy (Oxford Economics) - March 22
"Our updated global forecasts now show the world economy, and many major national economies, entering deep recession during the first half of 2020.
In the United States, the economy is also already in recession. The pandemic will lead to profound, pervasive, and persistent, but not permanent reductions in activity, with widespread cuts in social spending, severe disruptions to supply chains, and a major interruption in travel and tourism activity.
We now project that the US economy will shrink by 0.2% in 2020 as a whole, compared with the 1.7% expansion in our pro-outbreak forecasts. We expect a massive 11% drop in output in Q2 driven by a massive pullback in discretionary and social spending will likely lead to the sharpest quarterly contraction in consumer outlays on record. We also expect business investment and trade to shrink by the most since the financial crisis. However, we expect resurgent 2021 growth to see the US economy expand by 4.1% next year."
Download the full report (PDF)
Perkins and Will’s CEO sees a light at the end of COVID-19 tunnel (BD+C) - March 21
"Phil Harrison says the virus outbreak could make more clients see the connection between design and wellbeing."
Construction business and union leaders call on government officials to include construction as an 'essential service' during shutdowns (AGC) - March 21
“Construction workers’ unique skills are essential now and in the coming weeks to construct, maintain, and repair critical infrastructure, and to build temporary health facilities and retrofit and expand existing ones."
Associated General Contractors launches eight-part webinar series around COVID-19 (BD+C) - March 21
"The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), with 26,000 members, has put together an eight-part webinar series whose episodes will take deeper dives into various topics related to business continuation during the COVID-19 outbreak."
BD+C research: The AEC industry braces for tough sledding in the coming months amid COVID-19 outbreak (BD+C) - March 20
"Nearly one-half of AEC firms expect the outbreak of COVID-19 to have a sizable impact on their businesses. The same percentage anticipates that projects they have been working on would be postponed in the wake of the pandemic. Those are key findings in a poll that BD+C has been conducting for the past several days to gauge the effect of the virus on the U.S. construction industry. During the polling period, the virus has wreaked havoc on the global economy, and has led President Trump to declare a national emergency."
Webinar: COVID-19 Series Pop Up Webinars every Tuesday and Thursday through 30 April (CoreNet Global) - March 20
CoreNet Global will be hosting “open mic” sessions for members to ask questions and share ideas with peers. Tuesdays 8:30 a.m. EDT and Thursdays 12:30 p.m. (no need to register).
Webinar: North America Roundtable – March 25, 12pm EDT (CoreNet Global) - March 20
A roundtable discussion led by Cristina G. Banks, Ph.D., Director, Interdisciplinary Center for Healthy Workplaces at the University of California-Berkeley, with participants from large companies.
Building Enterprise Resilience: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Roundtable Published (CoreNet Global) - March 20
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread, companies are closing offices, mandating remote working and reviewing corporate travel policies. CRE has a vital role in developing and implementing business continuity strategies. Join this timely conversation with your peers who are on the front line to gain practical insights and take away ideas to make your enterprise more resilient.
Pandemic has halted or delayed projects for 28% of contractors (AGC) - March 20
"Coronavirus-caused slowdown contrasts with January figures showing a majority of metro areas added construction jobs; Officials note New infrastructure funding and paid family leave fixes are needed."
AIA implores Congress to provide relief to business owners and employees (AIA) - March 20
“As Congress considers additional legislation to stimulate the economy, the AIA urges you to include significant investment in 21st Century infrastructure and temporary relief measures for business owners. Both will provide necessary relief in the short-term, reassurance to global markets, and will help prepare this country for the challenges ahead."
NeoCon show, scheduled for mid-June, has been canceled (NeoCon) - March 20
"After consultation with leaders and partners within the commercial design industry, theMART has decided cancelling NeoCon 2020 is the best course of action considering the on-going COVID-19 outbreak and the unknown duration for social distancing and other measures. The next NeoCon will be NeoCon June 14-16, 2021."
All construction work ordered to shut down in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Inquirer) - March 20
"Gov. Tom Wolf on Thursday announced that all but “life-sustaining” businesses in Pennsylvania must shut down immediately as the state braces for exponential increases in the number of people sickened by the novel coronavirus. Unlike earlier in the week — when Wolf urged nonessential businesses such as salons, gyms, theaters, and entertainment venues to voluntarily close — the latest order came with a stern warning: those out of compliance as of Saturday could face strict penalties."
5 Ways to Optimize Buildings for COVID-19 Prevention (Center for Active Design) - March 19
"Coronavirus has taken over the 24-hour news cycle, with article after article updating us on newly identified cases, handwashing techniques, and why we should avoid touching our faces. While this information is vital to controlling the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the most vulnerable populations, one area that has been routinely underrecognized is the role that building design and operations can play in controlling the spread of this disease."
Positive vibes: Let's take a look at the brighter side of these crazy times (BD+C) - March 19
"Perhaps now is a good time to take a page from Monty Python's book and look on the bright side of life. So let's push aside the doom and gloom for a bit and bring a little positivity to these strange times we all currently find ourselves in."
California's almost 40 million residents on lockdown (New York Times) - March 19
"Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday night ordered California’s almost 40 million residents to stay home except for essential trips, extending similar restrictions statewide that Bay Area counties had previously put into place. The order, which is in place until further notice, makes mandatory many of the previous guidelines from state public health officials."
Building Trades Employers Association Calls for Mayor de Blasio to Keep Construction Sites Open (BTEA) - March 19
“If construction shuts down, then maintenance and repair of all critical transportation infrastructure – which is essential for health emergencies - shuts down with it. Construction of affordable housing and health facilities will halt as well, which will directly impact the health, well-being and livelihoods of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. Construction is an essential service and must be allowed to continue during this crisis,” said Lou Coletti, President and CEO of the BTEA, in a statement released on Thursday.
New report predicts multifamily market will weather COVID-19 crisis (Mortgage Professional America) - March 19
"The economic disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to create financial hardships, with growing concerns about whether furloughed or laid-off workers will be able to meet their housing expenses. While this could create a potential domino effect into the multifamily industry, the newly published report, Economic and Coronavirus Update National Multifamily Report by Yardi Matrix, is suggesting the situation may not be as grave as feared."
Colleges Offering Dorms as Hospital Overflow for Virus Cases (AP, U.S. News and World Report) - March 19
"A growing number of U.S. colleges are preparing to turn empty dorms into temporary housing for patients with the coronavirus as the nation’s hospitals brace for a possible surge of cases that could push treatment centers beyond their limits."
In most US cities, construction work continues as shutdowns loom (Construction Dive) - March 19
"While Boston, and now neighboring city, Cambridge, have been the only U.S. cities to officially stop all construction, other areas are under orders that ban nonessential services, causing some construction leaders to wonder whether their work is considered essential or not."
Force Majeure and COVID-19 in construction contracts - What you need to know (Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani) - March 19
"Force Majeure – While most construction contracts contain these provisions, they are often not understood in relation to the implications they may have on construction projects. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all taking a closer look at many portions of our contracts. The following is a brief primer on how to understand your construction contract and its potential implications on your business in this season of change."
Cyber Crime in the Wake of COVID-19: What Employers Can Do to Prevent Cyber Attacks (Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani) - March 19
"The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Department of Homeland Security’s cyber agency, has issued an alert specifically addressing the cyber vulnerabilities. The alert focuses on the risks associated with virtual private networks (VPNs), which nearly every organization uses to allow employees remote access to the employer’s servers and workspaces."
ASHRAE provides COVID-19 resources for operating, maintaining HVAC systems (ASHRAE) - March 19
"ASHRAE has compiled a COVID-19 Preparedness Resources webpage that includes a recently approved position document on Airborne Infectious Diseases. The site provides resources from ASHRAE to building industry professionals. The position document advises that new and existing healthcare intake and waiting areas, crowded shelters, and similar facilities should go beyond the minimum requirements of these documents."
Technology crucial during COVID-19 social distancing (HGA) - March 19
"Technology can help bridge the gap during the Coronavirus pandemic as higher education institutes and corporations are moving to a remote work model."
How contractors are responding to the COVID-19 crisis (Construction Dive) - March 19
"The growing COVID-19 crisis has roiled the U.S. construction industry from coast to coast, with contractors large and small mired in uncertainty and wondering what their next steps should be."
We’re About To Find Out How Durable The Coworking Business Model Is (Bisnow) - March 18
"Flexible offices were envisioned as communities where a new form of work could thrive, one where startups and smaller businesses could share the kind of splendid amenities once reserved for major corporations, with short-term leases that didn’t tie them down to traditional spaces. That has left the industry vulnerable."
How the COVID-19 Pandemic Will Change the Built Environment (Architectural Digest) - March 18
"This won’t be the first time in history that cities and buildings will be reimagined in response to an increased understanding of disease."
‘You Cannot Buy A Building Until This Is Over': Despite Stimulus, Chill Hits CRE Investing (Bisnow) - March 18
"In just one week, the coronavirus has turned full blown flight to safety for investors into much more of a wait-and-see approach toward commercial real estate."
How healthcare systems and designers can tackle a public health crisis together (HKS) - March 18
"As the novel coronavirus sweeps through countries around the world, many hospitals and other medical providers are rushing to treat patients while taking constant inventory of their own resources: Where can patients come in safely? Are there enough beds for critical care? Are there enough beds for everyone else who needs one? How can they stop contagion within their own walls, including keeping their own staff healthy?," writes Jason Schroer, Principal and Director of Health in HKS's Houston office.
Delays and Suspensions of Government Contracts as a Result of the Coronavirus (Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel) - March 18
"Outside of vital projects related to public health and safety or national security, we expect that over the next week many government contracts will be formally or informally suspended for the duration of the Coronavirus quarantine period. Many government contractors will receive letters or emails ordering them to stop work on projects located on government facilities or that involve personal contact with government personnel."
AGC survey: Most state DOT construction programs are moving ahead as scheduled (AGC) - March 18
"AGC chapters report that generally speaking most state DOT construction programs are moving ahead as scheduled and are not directly impacted by COVID-19 related shutdowns. Many state office personnel are telecommuting but, in most states, construction inspectors are considered essential and, therefore, are reporting to work and visiting on-going projects."
Coronavirus imperils Chicago’s more than decadelong construction boom. ‘We’re mentally preparing for a shutdown.’ (Chicago Tribune) - March 18
"After more than a decade of boom times, Chicago developers, contractors and construction workers face an unexpected obstacle to continued prosperity.
Investment managers launch coronavirus fund to buy low on hospitality stocks (Bisnow) — March 18
"The coronavirus has taken a huge toll on the stock market, and commercial real estate sectors have not been spared. But with stock prices low, a New York City-based group of investors is taking a glass-half-full approach, citing an 'inevitable recovery.'"
Simon Property Group closes all domestic properties, ending March 29 (Simon) - March 18
"Simon, announced that after extensive discussions with federal, state and local officials and in recognition of the need to address the spread of COVID-19, Simon will close all of its retail properties, including Malls, Premium Outlets and Mills in the U.S. This measure will take effect from 7 pm local time today and will end on March 29."
Array Advisors creates Surge Capacity Assessment Tool to help hospitals 'swiftly and safely increase capacity' (Array) - March 18
"As the surge of COVID-19 cases begins to impact hospital bed demand, facilities are looking for ways to swiftly and safely increase capacity. Array Advisors has developed an Assessment Action Plan Tool to help guide initial analysis. Download this free tool to support your capacity management planning."
Download the tool
Steel manufacturing needs to be an “essential” sector, says AISI (AISI) - March 18
"American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) today urged the Trump administration to identify the steel manufacturing sector and its workers as “essential” when drafting and enforcing shelter-in-place orders and other directives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Law firm assembles COVID-19 Strategy Team to help contractors respond to project delays, closures (Duane Morris) - March 18
"The COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a dynamic situation and the ultimate impact and timeline remain unknown at this juncture. As construction project participants navigate the novel issues it has raised, they should closely evaluate their construction contracts in order to make the best decisions regarding ongoing work and project safety, as well as to implement strategies to mitigate financial and schedule impacts as much as possible. To the extent parties can mutually agree to a resolution or workout plan now, jobs will proceed more smoothly when COVID-19 subsides."
Leading through COVID-19: FMI offers advice on managing AEC business during the pandemic (FMI) - March 18
"We are all in a ‘fog of war’ dealing with short-term tactical decisions aimed at protecting the health and well-being of our employees, families and society. The events of the next few weeks will likely determine the toll this crisis will have on our economy and individual businesses. Managing your P&L, stress testing your balance sheet, and focusing on cash management are essential steps toward defining your reality and establishing decision gates for the weeks ahead."
A 1,000-bed naval hospital ship is being dispatched to New York Harbor (New York Times) - March 18
"Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Wednesday that President Trump had agreed to dispatch a 1,000-bed hospital ship to New York Harbor as the state struggles to deal with a stark jump in coronavirus cases. Mr. Cuomo said on Wednesday that 2,382 people in the state had tested positive for the virus, an increase of more than 800 since Tuesday."
Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, HUD suspending all foreclosures and evictions (Housing Wire) - March 18
"President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the Department of Housing and Urban Development is suspending all foreclosures and evictions until the end of April. Beyond that, the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced Wednesday that it is directing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to suspend foreclosures and evictions for 'at least 60 days.' That would mean the moratorium lasts through mid-May, at least."
Oxford Economics: Short-term pain but strong rebound likely (Oxford Economics) - March 18
"In recent weeks, attention has understandably focused on limiting the damage from the short-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak. But it’s likely that, once disruption and uncertainty fade, the rebound in activity will be strong. It’s important for firms to position themselves for such a recovery."
Read the full report
Webinar, Friday, March 12, 3:00 pm EDT: The Latest Developments on the Coronavirus and What that Means for the Construction Industry (AGC) - March 18
AGC CEO Steve Sandherr and additional national staff will provide an update on the coronavirus, including the latest information about the federal response, an updated economic analysis of its impacts, and an overview of the latest legal, HR, safety and risk measures being put in place because of the coronavirus.
Walt Disney World shuts down all construction due to coronavirus (Orlando Business Journal) - March 18
"The Walt Disney Company has shuttered construction operations at Walt Disney World, according to the head of the region’s top construction trade organization."
More pleas to keep jobsites open: N.Y. building trades group said billions would be lost (NY Daily News) - March 17
"New York City’s real estate and building industries stand to lose “billions of dollars” over the next year or two if construction sites are shut down due to the coronavirus, according to an association that represents the trades.
Lou Coletti, president of the Building Trades Employers’ Association, issued the dire prognosis Tuesday just minutes after Mayor de Blasio raised the possibility of a shelter in place order that could effectively require all non-essential work in the city to cease."
Select construction sites exempt from Bay Area shelter-in-place mandate (LA Times) - March 17
"Certain essential activities are exempt, such as essential government and business services or essential public infrastructure construction, like housing."
AIA: Design services saw increase in February, but economic footings are rapidly shifting (AIA) - March 17
"The rapid pull-back in activity throughout the economy will obviously be felt in the design and construction sector, and architecture firms will be one of the first to see how these events play out,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD.
Coronavirus forces Las Vegas Strip to shut down for first time since JFK assassination (AP) - March 17
"Gambling will grind to a halt by Wednesday in casino-mecca Las Vegas, a city known for glitzy and sometimes reckless fun, as the governor of Nevada issued a sweeping statewide order aimed to stop the spread of the new coronavirus.
Democrat Steve Sisolak ordered a monthlong freeze on gambling, shutting down everything from the famous casino resorts to slot machines found in convenience stores, cutting off an industry that fuels the state’s tourism and hospitality-powered economy."
Pence urges construction companies to give coronavirus masks to hospitals (NY Post) - March 17
“We would make one specific request, and that is we would urge construction companies to donate their inventory of N95 masks to your local hospital and forgo additional orders of those industrial masks,” Pence said at a White House briefing on the pandemic.
NYC mayor: New Yorkers should prepare for a shelter-in-place order within the next 48 hours (CNBC) - March 17
"We are all deeply concerned ... this is quite clear this is a fast growing crisis,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday. “All New Yorkers, even though a decision has not been made by the city or the state, I think that all New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order.” There are 814 confirmed cases in New York City
U.S. government, tech industry discussing ways to harness location data to combat coronavirus (Seattle Times) - March 17
"The U.S. government is in active talks with Facebook, Google and a wide array of tech companies and health experts about how they can use data gleaned from Americans’ phones to combat the novel coronavirus, including tracking whether people are keeping one another at safe distances to stem the outbreak.
Public-health experts are interested in the possibility that private-sector companies could compile the data in anonymous, aggregated form, which they could then use to map the spread of the infection, according to three people familiar with the effort, who requested anonymity because the project is in its early stages."
Construction industry pushes back on building bans (Bisnow) - March 17
"After Boston Mayor Martin Walsh declared his city would be temporarily halting most construction Monday afternoon, New York City Council member Carlos Menchaca called for New York to do the same in a tweet Monday night. But construction industry representatives say this will hurt cities in the long run. During an interview Tuesday, New York Building Congress President and CEO Carlo Scissura told Bisnow he would caution against shutting down sites, saying it would stop essential work from getting done."
COVID-19 recommended practices for construction jobsites (AGC) - March 17
AGC's guidance focuses on: personal responsibilities, social distancing, jobsite/office practices, managing sick employees, government resources, and vendor resources.
Amid coronavirus, landlords gage potential vacancies for financial impact (GlobeSt) - March 17
"As we look at the Coronavirus spreading with no immediate end in sight, the question is not whether it will adversely impact businesses; the question is how many companies will be affected and to what extent."
Donhoff Kargl Nall – Architects: 'We are hereby providing notice that our firm’s ability to perform certain contractual duties regarding the project are or may be restricted." (DKN Architects) - March 17
From the Louisville, Ky.-based firm's leadership team:
"Due to the national emergency caused by and in response to the coronavirus situation, the guidelines, restrictions, and directives issued by the CDC, state and local public health officials and governmental agencies, and our company’s policies issued during this crisis (collectively “Directives”), we are hereby providing notice that our firm’s ability to perform certain contractual duties regarding the project are or may be restricted. These service restrictions are caused by circumstances beyond the control of our firm.
We will not be attending any meetings in person until state and local officials advise us that it is safe to do so. The DKN team remains on-the-job and working remotely. As we continue to serve you and work diligently on your project please be aware that there may be delays due to the current situation."
Developer of $400M UnCommons project expects virus disruptions (Las Vegas Review-Journal) - March 17
"Developers of a $400 million Las Vegas project have shelved the ceremonial groundbreaking because of the coronavirus but plan to start construction next month. Matter Real Estate Group, developer of UnCommons, a southwest valley venture that calls for offices, apartments and food and beverage spots, postponed the April 2 event until further notice Friday."
How Cincinnati construction companies are coping with coronavirus (Cincinnati Business Courier) - March 17
"As the first Greater Cincinnati residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, local construction companies are taking steps to mitigate its spread. Dave Spaulding, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction Co., said as of early Friday afternoon the contractor was not shutting any projects down and has not been asked by any owners to shut projects down."
AGC: 'Shutting down construction projects is an unnecessary step, will harm the economy and undermine recovery efforts" (AGC) March 17
AGC's CEO Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to steps being taken to put in place arbitrary halts to construction activity:
“Halting construction activity will do more harm than good for construction workers, community residents and the economy. Construction firms are already acting to ensure the safety and health of their employees in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. These new measures, which include increased hygiene and halting group gatherings of staff, are in addition to the fact construction workers already wear protective equipment, including gloves that will help protect them and their co-workers."
DOE Seeking Input and Collaboration on Science and Technology Response to COVID-19 (DOE) - March 17
"The Department is acting rapidly to leverage, and when appropriate provide prioritized access to, the full range of DOE user facilities and other facilities available at national laboratories to support the national and international effort to address COVID-19."
Revised Dodge Data & Analytics construction forecast to be released in early April (Dodge Data & Analytics) - March 17
"Over the past few days we’ve received numerous inquiries from clients and press alike about how the coronavirus and subsequent economic fallout might affect our forecast for construction starts in 2020. With the situation rapidly evolving, we felt it prudent to let you know when you can expect to see an updated starts forecast. Our next forecast cycle officially begins when preliminary starts data for March (and thus the first quarter) is released on April 1. However, we are currently assessing the economic implications of the crisis and looking to past economic cycles and events to gauge how our econometric models might react to the current crisis.
Dodge’s Chief Economist, Richard Branch, plans to host a brief customer webinar in early April to review how the starts forecast may be altered to reflect current events. Please watch for future announcements regarding this presentation."
NYC to add 8,000 hospital beds to help meet demand for COVID-19 patients (ABC7 NY and Associated Press) - March 17
"On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is in a 'race against time' to add more than 8,000 hospital beds to help meet an expected spike in coronavirus patients. The beds will come from a shuttered hospital, a yet-to-open nursing home and other facilities around the city, the mayor said."
AGC opposes paid leave provision in House coronavirus bill (Construction Dive) - March 17
"Proposed legislation requiring businesses to provide paid leave to workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic has drawn sharp criticism from the Associated General Contractors of America, which called it “at best problematic, and at worst unworkable,” in a letter yesterday to the Senate's leadership."
HMFH Architects 100% remote, bans all face-to-face meetings (HMFH) - March 17
Construction industry bracing for potential impact of COVID-19 (GlobeSt) - March 16
"Owners will be reviewing contracts for agreements outlined, and what contractual rights and duties exist in light of the conditions caused by the spread of the coronavirus."
Construction contracts could become a concern if the virus affects a jobsite (Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce) - March 16
"Attorney Wandler said some construction contracts don't have specific clauses for pandemics, but many have a force majeure clause that protects against unforeseen or unavoidable events. He said force majeure clauses can act as 'safety valves' to modify a contract, suspend party obligations or even terminate the contract. The caveat is Washington courts typically defer to how a particular contract defines a force majeure event."
Bay Area orders ‘shelter in place,’ only essential businesses open in 6 counties (San Francisco Chronicle) - March 16
"Six Bay Area counties announced a “shelter in place” order for all residents on Monday — the strictest measure of its kind yet in the continental United States — directing everyone to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible for the next three weeks as public health officials desperately try to curb the rapid spread of coronavirus across the region. The directive begins at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and involves San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa and Alameda counties — a combined population of more than 6.7 million."
Array Advisors: Model validates fears of ICU bed shortage due to coronavirus (Array Advisors) March 16
"As the U.S. confronts COVID-19, bed capacity has been top of mind. Challenges to meeting projected demand are sizable and vary significantly by state, so Array Advisors developed a model that analyzes the combined impact of:
• Current cases in each state (as they increase)
• Risk factors such as age and existing conditions
• The state’s existing capacity of ICU and Med/Surg beds
The results (just published in HealthLeaders) are eye-opening. Due to the outbreak’s strength, Washington state will likely run out of ICU beds in the next two weeks, while less populous states like Vermont, with far fewer existing beds and an older population, still fall squarely in the first tier of risk, just two weeks behind."
UCLA Anderson Forecast: U.S. economy has entered a recession, ending the expansion that began in July 2009 (UCLA) - March 16
"Revising a forecast published March 12, UCLA Anderson Forecast economists say the U.S. economy has entered a recession, ending the expansion that began in July 2009.
The revised forecast, which incorporates data reflecting a rapidly changing U.S. economy, together with a review of the 1957–58 H2N2 influenza pandemic, is for the recession to continue through the end of September.
This marks the first time in its 68-year history that the UCLA Anderson Forecast has published an updated forecast between its regularly scheduled quarterly releases.
After the economy had experienced a solid start to 2020, the escalating effects of the coronavirus pandemic in March have reduced the first-quarter 2020 forecast of GDP growth to 0.4%. GDP for the second quarter of the year is now forecast to slow by 6.5%, and by 1.9% for the third quarter. With the assumption of an end to the pandemic and repaired supply chains by this summer, the Forecast predicts the resumption of normal activity in the fourth quarter of 2020 and a GDP growth rate of 4.0%.
For the full 2020 year, it is expected that GDP will have declined by 0.4%. In 2021, with the abatement of governmental pandemic expenditures and the continued contraction of residential and commercial construction, the economy is forecast to grow at 1.5%. The full recovery and return to trend is now expected in 2022."
Boston mayor orders shut down of construction sites due to coronavirus (Boston Globe) - March 16
"Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has ordered that all construction projects in the city be suspended in response to the spread of the coronavirus. Walsh’s move comes after the postponement of the Boston Marathon, cancellation of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in South Boston, and the closure of all schools, restaurants, and bars in Massachusetts. The Bay State had a reported 164 cases of the virus on Sunday."
Hurricane Katrina provides lessons about closing campuses during the coronavirus crisis (Brookings Institution) - March 16
"Today, as we face the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of higher-education institutions are again closing their campuses. While this may help contain the spread of the coronavirus, vulnerable students are now being put at risk in an entirely different way."
Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects 100% remote, limiting travel and in person meetings (EYRC) - March 16
A statement from the firm: "As we all pull together in the fight against the COVID-19 Corona Virus, EYRC has implemented a series of temporary policies to help protect our collective families and communities. Starting Monday, March 16th, we have implemented a mandatory two week work from home policy for all employees. As are many organizations, and in accordance with CDC social distancing guidelines, we will be limiting our travel and in person meetings. Our internal taskforce is monitoring the situation closely and will adapt as necessary. EYRC is a highly nimble entity and pride ourselves on rapid adaptation to new challenges. We will continue to deliver the highest levels of service to our clients and collaborators during this time. Together, we are fully committed to helping restore the vitality of our nation."
Dahlin Group offers 'generous sick policy for our employees, so they can take care of themselves and their families with confidence.' (Dahlin Group) - March 16
Dahlin Group President Nancy Keenan, AIA, LEED AP, said the firm is open for business under normal business hours, and will host meetings virtually. "We are all navigating unprecedented changes in the way we do business while working together to ensure the safety of our communities. The current cascade of events is impacting our organizations, our customers, our employees and our families in ways that will likely continue to evolve over the coming weeks and months—and DAHLIN is prepared to adapt."
TLC 'predominantly working from home,' but select offices may remain open with limited staff on staggered schedules (TLC) - March 16
"We want to notify you that TLC team members will be predominantly working from home to protect our team members, clients, partners and communities. Our robust technology platform is capable of supporting this effort and of minimizing disruption in project schedules. We anticipate that some TLC offices may remain open with limited staff on staggered schedules; however, to assure that you connect with TLC team members in the most efficient manner possible, we suggest that you do so via email."
HMC Architects is 'addressing in-person meetings and site visits on a case-by-case basis.' (HMC Architects) - March 16
President and CEO Brian Staton, Assoc. AIA, said in a statement:
"It’s paramount to us that you continue to receive the same level of support you are accustomed to, and we’re confident that with the measures we’ve put in place, we can mitigate this risk together without business disruption.
We are well prepared and have significant experience in successfully serving clients remotely. Our Information Technology and Digital Practice teams have employed proactive measures to ensure that our workforce can work from anywhere and many of our services—and meetings—can be performed virtually. We are also addressing in-person meetings and site visits on a case-by-case basis.
If there is a need to adjust our operations in any capacity or make changes that could impact our work, we will communicate that information to you immediately. If you have any concerns about the ability to complete project work, please contact your principal-in-charge or any member of our firm leadership.
We are optimistic that by working together with you, we can preserve your safety and ours, and help curtail the spread of coronavirus."
No in-person meetings for Leers Weinzapfel Associates employees; 100% remote work (LWA) - March 16
"The health and safety of our communities is our top priority. As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to spread, we believe it’s critical to follow the current best practices and scientific recommendations that aim to slow the spread of the virus. Accordingly, as of this date we are initiating a work from home, no work related travel, and no in person meetings policy. We have the technologies in place to work on our projects and to communicate with our clients and colleagues remotely."
Webinar, March 19, 1 pm eastern: Practical Considerations for Subcontractors Dealing with Coronavirus (American Subcontractors Association) - March 16
"Coronavirus is likely to cause increasing disruptions and impacts to construction material supply chains, business travel, and labor availability. This webinar will address ways in which subcontractors are uniquely affected by these disruptions and methods for mitigating their impacts, including preserving rights with respect to force major delays and costs, seeking equitable adjustments for material cost escalations, complying with contractual and regulatory health and safety obligations, and negotiating terms and conditions for subcontracts to address future impacts."
Lessons from past pandemics: Disinformation, scapegoating, and social distancing (Brookings Institution) - March 16
"Comparing the current COVID-19 pandemic to past episodes suggests several parallels in human reactions to disease. Many generated disinformation, scapegoating, and social distancing similar to what we are witnessing today. The recent spread of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus demonstrates that this rapidly churning biological system—even when we don’t fully understand its transmissibility or fatality rate—comes wrapped in layers of politics, economics, demography, and culture that echo historical patterns."
KieranTimberlake closes office through March 30; 100% remote (KieranTimberlake) - March 16
"Our work on projects with clients, collaborators, and each other will continue without interruption. KieranTimberlake has been working hard to ensure we can keep our collaborative practice going throughout this health crisis.
• We will continue to work and meet as planned primarily via GoTo Meeting, Microsoft Teams, and other collaboration platforms.
• Your point of contact at KieranTimberlake will stay in close communication with you and keep you informed of any changes in how we work together.
• We will remain flexible, listen to our clients' concerns and needs, and adjust accordingly.
Force majeure clauses take center stage in contractors' coronavirus response (Construction Dive) - March 16
"With no end currently in sight to the extensive global outbreak of the novel coronavirus — officially named SARS-CoV-2— the U.S. construction industry is already experiencing effects and should brace itself for more to come."
Harkins Builders is 'arranging for commercial cleaners to clean and disinfect areas of the project as necessary.' (Harkins Builders) - March 16
Harkins Builders' President and CEO Gary Garofalo released the following statement this morning:
"To Our Clients and Trade Partners:
I wanted to let you know that we are constantly monitoring developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and implementing plans and procedures responsive to the information we are receiving from the CDC, OSHA, federal and local authorities, and our other business partners. The safety of all project participants is of critical importance to us, so we are seeking your cooperation and assistance in mitigating the spread and impact of COVID-19 in our offices, jobsites, and other places where we conduct our business.
We have implemented the following procedures that will be in place for such time as is necessary under the circumstances:
• CDC and OSHA recommendations for prevention of spread of COVID-19 will be posted in conspicuous places around our jobsites, and we will be monitoring compliance.
• All workers are requested to maintain a social distance of six (6) feet whenever reasonably possible.
• We are cleaning our jobsite trailers daily, arranging for commercial cleaners to clean and disinfect areas of the project as necessary in response to actual or suspected exposure, and supplying our projects with additional hand sanitizers.
• Any workers who have tested positive for COVID-19, or suspects exposure to COVID-19 should stay home instead of coming to the jobsite. Out of an abundance of caution, any worker who appears sick to our site personnel will be sent home.
• Meetings with our clients, subcontractors, and other business partners will be conducted online via Microsoft Teams. Those who do not have the Teams application can dial into the call via the number provided on the meeting notice.
• We are suspending topping out parties, subcontractor lunches, and project-related local community gatherings until further notice.
• We are monitoring the availability of labor, materials, equipment, and other items that may be impacted by COVID-19, and also impacts from decisions by local authorities to suspend or reduce services that support our projects (inspections, permits, plan reviews, etc.) so that we can keep all project participants updated on any impacts to schedule, resource availability, and costs.
• We request that our subcontractors, suppliers, and other business partners review and confirm the availability and delivery of materials, equipment, labor and any other items or services for which they are responsible and notify us immediately if any changes should occur.
We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt our policies and procedures as necessary, with the constant goals of keeping people safe and minimizing the impact to our projects. This is a new and uncertain situation for all of us, and your understanding and cooperation with our efforts is sincerely appreciated."
Copper kills coronavirus. Why aren’t our surfaces covered in it? (Fast Company) - March 16
"Civilizations have recognized copper’s antimicrobial properties for centuries. It’s time to bring the material back."
NASCC: The Steel Conference (April 22-24, Atlanta) is canceled (AISC) - March 16
Scott Melnick, AISC's Senior Vice President and the administrator for the conference, said in a statement: "Just as the design community and construction industry turns toward AISC for reliable information and advice on steel design and construction, we turn to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for health information and advice on dealing with the coronavirus. Yesterday, the CDC recommended that all gatherings of 50 or more people are canceled for the next eight weeks and we will certainly follow that advice." AISC is looking into options to deliver select sessions remotely.
5 states close all restaurants, bars in effort to slow coronavirus (USA Today) - March 15
"California, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington close bars and restaurants in effort to slow coronavirus."
CDC advises against gatherings of 50-plus people for eight weeks due to coronavirus (Washington Examiner) - March 15
"Organizers should forgo large events over the next two months to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidance released on Sunday said gatherings of 50 people or more can contribute to the spread of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19 and should be canceled or postponed."
Commercial labs join the race to process coronavirus tests (New York Times) - March 15
"Federal officials said many more drive-through testing sites, along with expanded processing of tests by commercial labs, would help ease a bottleneck."
Payette 100% remote, working with clients 'to find the best combination of email/phone/online meetings to serve each project team.' (Payette) - March 15
Statement from Payette: "As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation, we are making tough decisions around work and travel to do our part in minimizing the spread of the virus.
As of Friday, March 13, our office will be working remotely through at least March 27. This remote work period may be adjusted as more information becomes available due to the uncertainty of the current situation. The safety and well-being of our team and community is our top priority.
We remain fully committed to providing you with the level of service and responsiveness that you associate with Payette, and our goal is to transition to this modified working arrangement with minimal disruptions.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we adjust to the rapidly changing circumstances presented by this pandemic, and we will work with each of you to find the best combination of email/phone/online meetings to serve each project team."
Luxury resorts, tiny homes, RVs: How architecture is adapting in the age of coronavirus (Fast Company) - March 14
"Asilomar, a seaside resort with buildings by famous architect Julia Morgan, is being used as a quarantine site. So is an EconoLodge outside of Seattle. Shopping malls might be next."
6 ways the coronavirus outbreak will affect construction (Construction Dive) - March 13
"Experts predict COVID-19 will have long-term ramifications for many aspects of the U.S. construction industry."
Page instituting 'deep cleaning and disinfecting services at each of our offices on a recurring basis' - Page (March 13)
"Currently, we have enacted restrictions on both international and domestic business travel among our employees and are requiring senior leadership approval for travel deemed essential. In addition to our regular cleaning services, we are implementing deep cleaning and disinfecting services at each of our offices on a recurring basis. All employees have been educated about proper virus-related hygiene and social distancing and are being kept up to date on CDC / other government guidance."
Restaurants Are Getting Creative with Their Home Delivery Options (Bloomberg) - March 13
"To stay afloat as customer traffic drops, restaurants are expanding their delivery options."
As Coronavirus Disrupts Supply Chain, Port Volumes Fall Steeply And Unions Raise Alarms (Bisnow) - March 13
"As health officials and local leaders attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, those who work along the docks that help carry and bring in the billions of dollars in shipments imported worldwide are already seeing the negative impact."
The US lacks health information technologies to stop COVID-19 epidemic (Brookings Institution) - March 13
"The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the crucial importance of health information technology and data interoperability. The pandemic has shattered our common beliefs about the type and scope of health information exchange. It has shown us that the definition of health data should no longer be limited to medical data of patients and instead should encompass a much wider variety of data types from individuals’ online and offline activity.
Moreover, the pandemic has proven that healthcare is not local. In an interconnected world, with more individuals traveling long distances than ever before, it is naïve to look at regions in isolation from each other and try to manage public health independently. To efficiently manage a pandemic like this, the scope of health information exchange efforts should not be limited to small geographical regions and instead should be done at least nationally, if not internationally."
Did the coronavirus just end the apartment boom? This investor thinks so. (Crain's Chicago Business) - March 13
"It’s not clear yet how badly the coronavirus will infect the commercial real estate market, but it looks bad enough already to Origin Investments, which has put more than $241 million in apartment deals on hold."
Gensler: 'In the face of the coronavirus, workplace wellness is key' (Gensler blog) - March 13
Gensler's Global Workplace Practice Leader, Janet Pogue McLaurin, and Health & Wellness Leader, Tama Duffy Day, outline considerations employers should keep in mind in creating plans for a healthy and effective work environment.
AIA pushing distant learning for AIA CES courses (AIA) - March 13
"As concerns about the coronavirus and COVID-19 mount, we know that many of our providers are wondering how they can adapt their in-person learning programs for delivery online as webinars. Join us Wednesday, March 18, at 1:30 pm Eastern or Thursday, March 19, at 2:00 pm Eastern for a crash course about what you need to do for online delivery of AIA-approved courses. We will go through the AIA's requirements for live online sessions, discuss the different technologies available for online delivery, and provide tips and tricks for your presenters as they move from the classroom to online. No registration is required."
Highland Associates has 'plans in place to continue to provide quality services and customer support with as minimal disruption as possible during this time.' (Highland Associates) - March 13
"As Highland Associates monitors the updates of the Coronavirus (COVID -19) situation we want to reassure our clients that we have plans in place to continue to provide quality services and customer support with as minimal disruption as possible during this time. These procedures cover work in the office, on project sites, as well as working remotely in the event that our offices become inaccessible.
First and foremost is the health, safety and well-being of our employees, clients, and colleagues.
In The Office: Procedures have been implemented based on the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Working Remotely: Employees have the necessary connectivity for remote access to our network including CAD/Revit software and project file access, email access, cell phones, and other means necessary to perform their job functions while working remotely. Project meetings, drawing reviews, and other meetings can be accommodated through various web-based systems we currently use such as GoTo, WebEx, Skype, or Teams.
On-Site: We will continue to communicate with our client’s project teams and follow their corporate guidance as to how, when, and who should visit a specific project site keeping in mind CDC recommended travel procedures and the health and safety of all participants.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together during this difficult situation."
Webinar March 19, 1 pm ET: Managing Properties In The Age Of Coronavirus (Bisnow) - March 13
"To cut through the hysteria surrounding the novel coronavirus, Bisnow will be hosting a free webinar for property managers on how to face a pandemic with a cool head and tackle real-world real estate issues. Experts from the Institute of Real Estate Management and the National Apartment Association will weigh in on how to craft a strategy for combating the spread of COVID-19."
Syska Hennessy institutes 'visitor policy as well as the use of Skype for mobile meetings to mitigate the need for groups to congregate.' (Syska Hennessy) - March 13
"For the safety of our team members and industry partners, at every Syska Hennessy office we have instituted CDC and WHO recommendations for our employees. Some of these recommendations include sanitizing stations, health advisory posters, additional janitorial crews and a protocol for presumptive, as well as, confirmed cases of the virus. We have also instituted a visitor policy as well as the use of Skype for mobile meetings to mitigate the need for groups to congregate. All international travel has currently been suspended."
Skanska will hold its Annual General Meeting (March 26 in Stockholm) as planned. (Skanska) - March 13
"We have decided to hold the Annual General Meeting in the simplest possible form. No food will be served before the meeting. Furthermore, speeches by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hans Biörck, and President and CEO, Anders Danielsson, will be confined to two minutes each. Longer versions of these speeches will be published and made available on Skanska’s website, www.group.skanska.com, after the meeting. Questions from shareholders at the meeting will therefore be focused on matters on the agenda of the meeting. Shareholders with more general questions about the company are welcome to provide these in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org."
Rider Levett Bucknall to building owners and contractors: You need a plan to handle issues concerning late delivery, or unavailability, of building materials (RLB) - March 13.
"By now, owners and contractors should be aware of contractual provisions that may come into play. They should have a plan to handle issues concerning late delivery, or unavailability, of materials, as well as potential suspension, termination, cancellation of the contract, or a force majeure event. They should also have a clear understanding on where legal responsibility resides for cost overruns, have clarification on excusable delays, and fully understand coverage of insurance policies.
At this time, contractors and other relevant firms should also have project specific COVID-19 mitigation plans and project/site-specific disaster plans in place. As this pandemic continues, some workers may not report to job sites for a variety of reasons including their illness, illness of family members, or even fear of taking public transport. In the short term, if this happens, it may be difficult to get people to return to construction sites, so contractors may have to pay a premium to induce workers to return. There is also the risk that governments, under pressure to take more stringent measures, could shut down major construction projects, or transportation infrastructure, in parts of the U.S. and Canada.
Given the impact that COVID-19 is having on financial markets, and the economy as a whole, there is a chance that this pandemic will also drive a recession, which will eventually drive construction costs down as contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers scramble to win the reduced number of projects in the market.
AIA postpones its flagship conference: AIA Conference on Architecture (AIA) - March 13
"Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, AIA has made the difficult decision to postpone the AIA Conference on Architecture 2020, May 14–16 in Los Angeles. AIA is currently exploring options to reschedule the event and will update members with details when available."
Humphreys & Partners Architects 'evaluating all options to maintain normal levels of productivity, wherever possible.' (Humphreys & Partners Architects) - March 13
Mark Humphreys, AIA, Chairman and CEO of Humphreys & Partners Architects sent this letter to clients and partners:
"As you are aware, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Wednesday, March 11, that the spread of COVID-19 has become a pandemic, which refers to the global reach and impact COVID-19 is currently presenting. Humphreys & Partners Architects, and its affiliate businesses, is committed to providing a safe working environment for all of our employees. At the time of this letter, none of our office locations have experienced any impacts but Humphreys is taking steps to prepare in the following ways:
• In-person meetings will be limited, beginning Monday, March 16. We will conduct all meetings for the next 30 days via Go To Meeting. We will reassess this policy again in 14 days.
• All air travel will be limited, beginning Monday, March 16. You will be contacted if air travel to your project’s location is impacted and alternate arrangements will be made to ensure our temporary absence from job sites does not affect construction progress. At this time, local projects within a reasonable driving distance will not be impacted.
• Many of our employees have the capability to work from home, including receiving emails and phone calls. In the event we work remotely, you will still be able to call us on our regular numbers or reach us via email.
• It is possible that our production levels may decrease if COVID-19 directly impacts any of our locations. We will be sure to keep you updated if this occurs. We are currently evaluating all options to maintain normal levels of productivity, wherever possible.
• We will continue to monitor updates from the CDC and other government agencies closely.
It is our hope that by proactively sharing our plans it will ease any concerns or questions you may have. Thank you for your business. We wish you the best possible outcome for this unfortunate situation."
LightFair postponed, 'will now take place later this year in Las Vegas, pending improved conditions' (LIGHTFAIR International) - March 13
"LightFair today announced postponement of its 2020 trade show and conference due to growing concerns around Covid-19, shifting industry sentiments and an overall wish to preserve health and safety. The May 3-7, 2020 event will now take place later this year in Las Vegas, pending improved conditions.
'There is no question that the safety and wellbeing of all LightFair attendees come first,” said Dan Darby, show director. “We have been carefully monitoring the official updates and conferring with the leadership of IALD and IES, LightFair’s co-owners, on the best course forward. At this time, postponing the show is our most responsible action.'"
The Page Foundation postpones UniversALL Design 2020 Symposium (Page) - March 13
Scheduled for March 30-31 in Austin, Texas, the UniversALL Design 2020 has been postponed by its organizer, the Page Southerland Page Foundation. The event is a gathering of thought leaders focused on shared community benefits of inclusivity in all spaces
GBBN going 100% remote starting Monday, March 16 (GBBN) - March 13
Statement from GBBN: "People are our priority. We empathize and understand this evolving situation will present major obstacles to everyone’s daily routine. GBBN is taking specific measures to protect the health and safety of our employees, their families, our clients, and our communities while maintaining the level of service you have come to expect from us.
Starting Monday, March 16, our United States employees will be working remotely. Here is what to expect:
• GBBN project teams have the technology enabling them to effectively continue their work. We anticipate the ability to continue our normal workflow without interruption.
• Project managers will stay in communication with clients and consultants as normal.
• We have suspended all business travel until further notice. Should a business-critical travel need arise for your project, please contact your project manager to discuss viable options.
• GBBN employees are being advised to handle all client meetings remotely, via Zoom, Skype, conference call, or other digital means. If you feel you need a face to face meeting, please contact your project manager to discuss.
One additional note: As the Covid-19 situation evolved in China, our Beijing office team was able to quickly pivot to a remote work plan that prevented any disruption to their work and communication. Our US offices are similarly prepared. We are happy to report that all of our Beijing employees are back together in the office, safe and healthy. Read more about their experience here.
GBBN values your relationship, and we are dedicated to keeping you informed as we all address these challenging circumstances."
LGE Designbuild issues comprehensive company action plan to support clients, subscontractors, and employees (LGE Designbuild) - March 13
David Sellers, President and CEO, unveiled the action plan, which includes extra steps like nightly office sanitization by licensed professionals, routine cleaning of jobsite trailers, and educating visitors and subs on CDC guidelines through weekly site
Gensler on how to design office building lobbies to respond to the coronavirus (Gensler) - March 13
Touch-free design solutions and air purifiers can enhance workplace wellness, according to Gensler Managing Director J. Kevin Heinly, AIA, LEED AP.
The Scramble to Make Space for Coronavirus Patients (Citylab) - March 12
"As Covid-19 cases climb, cities may face a shortage of locations to quarantine and isolate people. In the U.S., it’s a uniquely local problem."
Economist: Contractors should prepare for a coronavirus-triggered recession (Construction Dive) - March 12
“The risk of recession over the next three to six months is arguably more elevated than at any period since 2007,” said economist Anirban Basu, noting that the U.S. economy has been defying predictions in an extended period of growth that's seemed too good to be true for some time."
JLL COVID-19 Webinar: Workplace preparedness and remote work (JLL) - March 12
JLL will host a free webinar of Thursday, March 19, at 11:00 AM CDTm to discuss the impacts that COVID-19 can have on organizations and their employees, and how to accelerate the development of remote work programs to enable business continuity as the situation unfolds.
Small Business Administration to provide disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by coronavirus
"SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing."
Backorders and low supplies: Contractors look for workarounds to supply-chain issues (The Real Deal) - March 12
"The coronavirus has hampered the flow of building supplies around the globe."
BOMA launches coronavirus research center with COVID-19 Preparedness Checklist for commercial real estate professionals (BOMA) - March 13
"As global concern over the novel coronavirus (now known as COVID-19) increases, BOMA International is actively working to provide commercial real estate professionals with credible information on how to mitigate the potential health and business impacts. Based on information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), BOMA International has released a series of guidance documents to help property professionals navigate this public health concern."
REPORT: COVID-19 - Global Real Estate Implications (JLL) - March 12
"As COVID-19 impacts more people every day, coronavirus contingency planning is of the utmost importance. Explore the pandemic’s potential effects on the economy, real estate sectors and investors and occupiers."
Pandemic Prompting CRE Investors Into Flights To Creditworthiness, Safety (BISNOW) - March 12
"The outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has many investors now reconsidering investments and pursuing the least risky of purchases, buoyed by tenants with credit scores that could promise their resistance in a recession."
Health care real estate could be a coronavirus safe haven (CNN Business) - March 12
"It's hard to imagine many stocks will do well through the coronavirus pandemic. But health care stocks and real estate investment trusts tend to be defensive sectors that investors flock to because they pay huge dividend yields."
Coronavirus Looms Over Crucial Spring Season for Housing Market (WSJ) - March 12
"Uncertainty has economists tamping down expectations that low mortgage rates, strong job market would boost 2020 home sales"
As Global Economy Is Rattled By Coronavirus, Industrial Players Weigh If Their Business Will Be Hurt Or Helped (Bisnow) — March 12
"Coronavirus is already having ubiquitous effects on daily life in the U.S., most of which affect public spaces and gathering. Industrial developers argue whether the pandemic might be beneficial for their business long-term, shifting more behaviors toward shopping online rather than in person."
Pandemic roils city's multibillion-dollar commercial real estate market (Crain's New York Business) - March 12
"Disruptions from the global virus outbreak are enough to put the city’s multi-billion dollar commercial real estate on ice, experts say, and potentially send it into a prolonged tailspin if the economy sinks into a recession in the coming months."
Hotels Are Being Impacted by COVID-19. What Can Owners and Lenders Do to Limit the Fallout? (National Real Estate Investor) - March 12
"There are steps that could be taken to safeguard the financial health of the asset."
Prologis report: COVID-19 and Implications for Logistics Real Estate (Prologis) - March 11
"The disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) underscores the need for resilient supply chains and has become a catalyst for many organizations to find workarounds that could become permanent (e.g., telecommuting/office, e-commerce/retail). Prologis’ Research team took a closer look at the potential impact to the logistics real estate sector and has released a special report. The report examines the potential effects of COVID-19 on economic growth that could in turn affect real estate. It also assessed how the decreased production and movement of goods (and people) around the world have tested complex supply chains."
Cancel Your Trip Due to Coronavirus? Airbnb Refuses Scores of Refunds (Bloomberg/NRE) - March 12
"The start-up’s 'extenuating circumstances' coronavirus policy only applies to China, Italy and South Korea."
Turner creates COVID-19 task force; postposes all non-essential business, events, interstate travel through April 30 (Turner) - March 11
The construction giant's COVID-19 task force is, among other things, "monitoring worldwide supply chains for actual delays that may affect our ability to maintain the schedule on our work."
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat postpones Tall + Urban Innovation Conference, scheduled for 5-7 April in Chicago (CTBUH) - March 11
Statement from CTBUH: "Following the emerging international response to the novel coronavirus, and the fact that colleagues from 36 countries were scheduled to attend to present on their winning projects, CTBUH has postponed the 2020 Tall + Urban Innovation Conference. Instead, the fantastic programming of the CTBUH Awards Program will now be incorporated into the CTBUH 2020 Singapore & Kuala Lumpur Conference, taking place 19–23 October at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. This means that the presentation and judging of contending projects, as well as the Awards Ceremony & Dinner, will take place in Singapore. Questions? Contact email@example.com."
PepsiCo closes West Loop Chicago offices over coronavirus (Crain's Chicago Business) - March 11
"PepsiCo shut down its office building in the West Loop today after learning that a family member of an employee there works at a location where a coronavirus case was discovered."
Corporate Real Estate Executives in Asia Say Lessons From Coronavirus Outbreak Will Have Lasting Impact (CoreNet Global) - March 11
"At a roundtable discussion held during APACLive, a virtual conference focusing on corporate real estate in Asia-Pacific hosted this week by CoreNet Global, corporate real estate leaders said that the changes in work patterns in response to the outbreak will last longer than the outbreak itself."
Coronavirus Crisis Comes At A Bad Time For U.S. Shopping Malls (Bisnow) - March 11
"The once-bustling corridors of American shopping malls have already suffered from slowing sales, and the coronavirus outbreak threatens to turn retail properties across the country into ghost towns as consumers shy away from large public places."
Construction Industry Low on Masks (ProRemodeler) - March 11
"Concerns about contracting COVID-19 has caused a run on supplies."
Multifamily Execs On Coronavirus: Keep Calm And Nab Those Low Mortgage Rates (Bisnow) - March 11
"Faisal Ashraf woke up Monday morning ready to work on $200M worth of deals in London hotels when fears about the coronavirus rippled through the world and caused the largest single-day stock market drop since the Great Recession."
A look at how U.S. hospitals are designed to battle infectious diseases like coronavirus (CannonDesign) - March 11
"Some health systems can use telehealth and video visits to asses and triage patients before they arrive at a hospital."
Coronavirus Raises Commercial Real Estate Uncertainty (Commercial Real Estate Executive) - March 11
"Reports from Marcus & Millichap and Colliers International look at impacts on commercial real estate sectors from the growing COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S."
Senior Housing Facilities Should Always Have Been Prepared For Coronavirus - (Bisnow) - March 11
"The deaths of 13 nursing home residents in Washington state from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, brings to light a harsh litmus test senior housing providers across the U.S. face regularly."
Corporate Real Estate Response to COVID-19 - Key Findings From A Worldwide Member Survey (CoreNet Global) - March 10
"CoreNet Global conducted a survey of its 11,000 members to gauge the corporate real estate (CRE) response to the COVID-19 coronavirus challenge and to identify practical steps members can take to support their companies’ effort to ensure employee safety and business continuity."
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Coronavirus sends city landlords scrubbing as events are canceled (NY Post) - March 10
"Real estate organizations and companies worried about the spread of the novel coronavirus are scrubbing down offices and hotels and canceling events and cocktail parties while tenant companies are deploying workers to separate locations."
Best Practices: Property Management In The Time Of Coronavirus (Bisnow) — March 10
"Best practices in businesses usually distill years of corporate experience into a set of guidelines, but with the U.S. arrival of the coronavirus, guidelines need to be devised — and updated often — for a fluid situation."
CRE Fears Coronavirus Will Cause A Recession, Worries About Impact On Construction: Bisnow Survey (Bisnow) — March 9
"Bisnow's survey of 864 commercial real estate professionals shows significant fear over the coronavirus' impact on the economy, but overall, a more tempered view of what the virus' spread will mean for real estate."
Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem (Citylab) - March 6
"Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation."
American Seniors Housing Association releases Coronavirus Preparedness & Response for Senior Living Communities (ASHA) - February 27
"The recent spread of the coronavirus around the world is justifying significant concern among senior living operators, and raising questions about how to prepare for and respond to the possibility that the disease will affect residents, staff, and visitors. This concern is exacerbated by the fact that seniors tend to be more vulnerable to such communicable diseases, and live in close quarters with others at the community, sharing meals and participating in group activities. This article will suggest various strategies that can be implemented to reduce the risk of contagion, identify individuals who may have been exposed to the disease, and minimize the risk of contagion among residents, staff, family members, and other visitors."
Why the coronavirus is testing how companies work (JLL) - February 20
“A lot of people are talking about this as a massive work-from-home experiment, but really it’s more of an inflection point,” says Ben Hamley, Future of Work Lead, JLL Asia Pacific. “While the idea of flexible work has been bandied around frequently and implemented in some firms, especially in tech companies and start-ups, the coronavirus forced many industries in Asia to begin this exercise en masse.” The decisions come as work-from-home policies are increasingly debated within organizations. Technology makes it easier than ever, but there are concerns over hard-to-analyze impacts like the value of spontaneous, face-to-face interactions.