COVID-19 Industry Update Overview

Future Shock
It looks like the COVID-19 crisis will be a boot that kicks the building industry closer to a 21st century business model. 

The news coming out of every industry on how they’re handling COVID-19 is pretty much the same. People who can work from home are doing so, and those who can’t are following strict safety protocols.

The main protocols are those suggested by the CDC and include social distancing (keeping people six feet from one another), using disinfectant to wipe down surfaces after using them, regular hand-washing and the use of gloves.

In the homebuilding industry many companies are taking additional measures, like making individual crew members drive to jobsites in their own vehicles, not sharing tools, and only allowing one trade at a time in homes under construction. Those measures, while they do slow down production, are effective ways to keep everyone safe on the job.

The change to a virtual business model has been a bit more challenging. Company meetings need to be held, design and engineering work needs to continue, suppliers and subs need to be coordinated, and customers need to be serviced. And all that work needs to be done by people working and collaborating from their home offices.

To find out how various parts of the building industry are handling this, the Alliance interviewed site builders as well as representatives from panel manufacturing, modular and LBM worlds. Summaries of these conversations are at the links below.

The summaries highlight interesting points brought up in each interview and are not a comprehensive description of what each company does. Together, however, they should provide readers some idea on how to move their companies’ forward.

The gist of what we hear is not surprising. Companies who got ahead of the industry as a whole and were serious about moving to a more digital business model—which includes remote work arrangements as well as online sales—are in a much better position to weather the storm. It’s a message the Alliance has always preached.

As we write this, no one really knows how long this crisis will last, and predictions include on-and-off work shutdowns lasting a year or two. If you haven’t been serious about digital technology, now is the time to get serious.

Read the recap from our discussions with:

Unity Homes, Vesta Modular, Horizon North and an LBM Consultant

Thrive Home Builders, Fulton Homes, Tim O’Brien Homes, and Stack Modular, (a modular builder with a factory in China)