COVID-19

The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) announced it is canceling the 2020 ASLA Conference on Landscape Architecture, originally scheduled to take place in Miami Beach, Fla., in early October. The action comes amidst serious health and safety concerns surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As the industry works to come back from the effect of the pandemic and related shutdowns, CIS looked at the numbers of private and public projects out to bid across its coverage areas for the first six months of 2019 and 2020 to gauge the impact. Interestingly, both public and private project numbers were down in January and February before governors of many Northeast states put stay-at-home orders in place and paused non-essential construction.

The chief executive officer of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued the following statement in reaction to the passage of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020: "This new law improves upon the original Paycheck Protection Program by extending the coverage period to 24 weeks, revising the ratio of percentage of expenses allowed to be forgiven up to 60 percent payroll costs and 40 percent non-payroll, extending the maturity period for the loans from two years to five, and allowing loan recipients to defer payroll taxes through the end of 2020.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Caterpillar Inc., originally announced a commitment of $8.5 million to support global communities. Part of the funding included a 2:1 match for a limited time for United States employee and retiree donations made to eligible nonprofits.

The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote on the $1.5 trillion Moving Forward Act, a massive funding package meant to regenerate America's transportation infrastructure as it gives a shot in the arm to health care, airports, clean energy, broadband, education, and drinking water.

The COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on the construction sector across the country, with many private sector projects being deemed as non-essential by several state governments. But in regards to many departments of transportation projects, work continues on those projects that state authorities have determined to be essential.

As the construction industry reopens in California and across the United States, BuildCenter, a software spinoff from COBE Construction Inc. , is offering a free health screening tool and attendance log. The app helps all construction companies meet critical mandates set by many county health agencies.

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), like the city it serves, truly is a department that never sleeps, as evidenced by the extreme circumstances it has had to manage during the coronavirus pandemic. Refuse and recycling collection has continued, though possibly at different times on different days, and despite a number of DSNY employees getting sick through the spring.

"All things considered, we're confident we're coming back out of it." The way Matt McGowan sees it, there's really no overstating the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on Cowin Equipment Company over the course of the past few months. No aspect of the organization went unaffected, forcing the Volvo CE dealer and Birmingham, Ala.-based company, which specializes in the distribution of heavy equipment for a variety of industries, to respond quickly and decisively.

A new survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and data from construction technology firm Procore show that construction activity is returning to pre-coronavirus levels in many parts of the country and some firms are adding workers. The new economic data, however, also shows some future projects are being canceled and many others are being delayed by supply chain issues and labor shortages, underscoring the need for additional federal recovery measures, association officials noted.

As part of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf's re-opening of the state amid the coronavirus pandemic, all 67 counties were to move through three phases, Red to Yellow to Green, before normal activities could start up again, including many construction projects.