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Construction & Development

This playbook provides guidance for construction and development companies in Greater Des Moines (DSM) including construction, architecture, industrial engineering and environmental services, among others.

Sample: Small Construction Site Risk Profile

Construction Risk Profile Frequency  Construction Risk Profile Duration 

The sample risk profile has been determined for small construction sites in DSM. The profile shows frequency, or how many people in a day; duration, or length of typical interaction; and variety, or the number of different people.*

Current Impact 

Current Impact

Future Trends 

Future Trends

Recommended Practices 

Recommended Practices

Community Partnership 

Community Partnerships

Additional Resources 

Additional Resources

Current Impacts

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the construction industry — from supply chains to worker safety. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.1 million jobs were lost in March and April 2020. Since then, the industry has recovered 917,000 of these jobs. While construction activity is returning to pre-coronavirus levels in many parts of the country and some firms are adding workers, the Associated General Contractors of America notes the industry’s recovery is being hampered by problems like getting stable prices, reliable deliveries of key materials and federal policies that are making it harder for firms to find workers to hire. Despite strong demand for new homes, remodeling of all types and selected categories of nonresidential projects employment has stalled suggesting that contractors can’t get either the materials or the workers they need.

Future Trends

Construction Strategic Partnerships

Seek Supply Chain Resiliency & Flexibility

In understanding long-term impacts on commodities and manufacturing, seek to diversify suppliers, choose secondary suppliers in closer geographic proximity, and understand delivery lead times for critical materials and equipment. Designers must focus on specifying multiple manufacturers of products to identify competitive prices and secure alternatives for potential delivery challenges.

Construction Technology

Leverage Technology & Automation

Use technology to reduce human interaction on the job site, for instance, scheduling software to optimize the presence of specialized contractors and machinery allowing automation of prefabricated assemblies or modular solutions to minimize on-site labor.

Construction Worker Safety Data

Use Data to Track Worker Safety

Leverage tracking systems, heat mapping and monitoring devices to track the health and safety of workers.

Construction Building Design

Understand Building Design in the New Normal

COVID-19 may shepherd in new design trends to improve the physical and psychological safety in the workplace, including an increased use of hospital grade materials, more focus on air quality, elimination of tight corridors or choke spots, reduction in co-working areas and increased sanitization and washing facilities.

Recommended Practices

General guidance in managing the work environment, protecting your workers and communicating to stakeholders from industry sources:

Health & Sanitation

  • Conduct a health screening with all employees before their shifts in accordance with the most up to date recommendations from your local public health department.
  • Encourage employees who feel sick to stay home. Employees who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 should consult CDC guidance on when to self-quarantine.
  • Employ PPE in accordance with the most up-to-date recommendations from the local public health department.
  • Train all employees on appropriate cleaning and disinfection, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.
  • Provide employees with access to soap, clean running water and materials for drying their hands, or if soap and water are not readily available provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol at stations around the establishment for use by both workers and customer.
  • Place handwashing stations and/or hand sanitizers in multiple locations (including in or adjacent to portable restrooms) to encourage hand hygiene.
  • Explore alternate ways to promote hand hygiene if difficulty sourcing hand sanitizer and running water is not available. Examples include mobile hand washing stations, large (5+ gallon) buckets with a lid and tap to provide water and multiple handwashing stations.
  • Clean high touch surfaces and shared objects once a day.
  • You may want to either clean more frequently or choose to disinfect (in addition to cleaning) in shared spaces if certain conditions apply that can increase the risk of infection from touching surfaces:
    • High transmission of COVID-19 in your community
    • Low number of people wearing masks
    • Infrequent hand hygiene
    • The space is occupied by people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.
  • Ensure safe and correct use and storage of cleaners and disinfectants.
  • Provide disposable disinfectant wipes (when available) so that surfaces commonly touched can be wiped down.
  • Limit tool sharing if possible.
  • Be aware that some employees may be at higher risk for severe illness. Implement specific policies to minimize face-to-face contact for these employees or assign work tasks that allow them to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible.

Construction Health

Workplace & Space

  • Develop and implement social distancing guidance for the workplace to maintain a distance of at least six feet between workers when possible.
  • Modify work schedules to stagger work, provide alternating workdays or extra shifts to reduce the total number of workers on a job site at any given time.
  • Restrict access to reduce the number of workers in enclosed and confined areas at one time. Confined and enclosed areas (e.g., trailers, small rooms in buildings under construction) should be identified and access should be restricted to essential personnel only. Enclosed spaces (e.g., toilets, break areas) are potential transmission areas and should be treated accordingly. Time spent in these areas should be minimized.
  • Rearrange administrative area workstations so that workers can stay at least six feet away from other workers.
  • Install shields or barriers, such as plexiglass barriers, where possible.
  • Remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in break areas to support social distancing practices between workers. Identify alternative areas to accommodate overflow volume.
  • Disinfect break or lunchroom areas between each group using the areas.
  • Maintain social distancing when visiting lunch trucks or construction site vendors.
  • Limit casual (social) conversations that normally occur at work.
  • Cancel or postpone in-person meetings/trainings whenever possible. If you must meet, spread out to a distance of six feet or more between attendees.
  • Reduce the number of individuals at meetings, including worker orientations, to increase the distance between individuals.

Construction Communication


  • Implement daily communication on construction sites utilizing morning huddles, activity planning meetings and foreman meetings to make announcements to ensure all workers are aware of protocol changes.
  • Post signs in English, Spanish and any other language prevalent among employees.
  • Conduct safety meetings by telephone or video if possible. If conducted in-person, note attendance verbally and do not pass around sign-in sheets or mobile devices. Avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people and remain at least six feet apart.
  • Talk with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities, especially those in your value chain.
  • In light of possible supply chain interruptions, review contracts paying special attention to delivery dates, completion deadlines and required inspections. Document all attempts to complete work and log any issues arising from owners, subcontractors, inspection protocol changes or suppliers. Use the specified communication methods outlined in contract to inform stakeholders of issues including photos when possible.

Community Partnerships

Order from Local Restaurants

A majority of DSM restaurants now offer carry-out throughout the day. Consider taking the #DSMlocalchallenge by ordering meals for your on-site workforce in accordance with safety guidelines.

Support Local Retailers

Encourage workforce to support local retailers in the area. If workforce has equipment or personal needs consider ordering goods from local retailers such as Boot Barn.

Engage Local Manufacturers to Improve Supply Chain Resilience

Supply chain disruptions may occur due to the spread of the virus. Consider increase sourcing materials from local and regional vendors.

Donate Protective Equipment to Essential Organizations

As mentioned in this article "How Construction Companies Can Help During COVID-19 Pandemic," consider donating any surplus N95 industrial face masks to a local healthcare facility and hold off on ordering any more.

Additional Resources

Recommended Playbooks

The business function playbooks include takeaways that are specific to professional functions that could be present in any business, regardless of industry.

Finance Button

Human Resources
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Information Technology
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Legal Button

Operations Button

Sales and Marketing
Sales and Marketing Button

*We note that these assessments are qualitative and based on expert-led judgment (Johns Hopkins, 2020). Currently, there are not enough detailed data available to enable quantitative risk stratification. Businesses will need to make decisions about re-initiating business activities before there are validated data to know the precise levels of risk.

Legal Disclaimer

The Greater Des Moines Partnership's DSM Forward playbook is not intended to constitute legal advice or provide specific direction. The preparation of a business continuity or preparations plan should be undertaken with the advice and direction of appropriate specialists and personnel, in consideration of the unique circumstances impacting each business. Third-party websites or material linked to or referenced in DSM Forward are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation of The Partnership of that material or its authors.

Last updated: 5/8/2020