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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

As of April 2020, research conducted by the Associated General Contractor of America shows:

  • 40% have reported layoffs
  • 70% have reported supply chain interruptions
  • 74% applied for the Paycheck Protection Program

Enforcing heightened safety and health guidelines, construction companies in DSM are completing projects in progress.  However, companies nationwide are seeing negative impacts to the prospects of future business. Approximately 85% of building contractors have experienced delays as a result of COVID-19 and 70% have reported supply chain interruptions.

Seeing a decline in slated projects, 40% of construction firms in the U.S. have reported layoffs and 74% filed requests for loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program to retain staff. Construction and development companies in Iowa are at risk of experiencing similar declines in projects due to COVID-19 and the possibility of an oncoming recession. One of the biggest challenges facing on-going projects is the adoption of guidelines on project sites for heightened worker health and safety. Please reference Recommended Practices below for health and safety guidance. Additionally, projects will likely to see improved pricing on certain materials/equipment and increased competition for work due to reduced project demand.

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 take precautions, including self-quarantine, in accordance with CDC guidance.
  • All employers on a construction site should provide gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, and other cleaning supplies required for their work. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and usual safety equipment should be worn whenever possible and never shared.
  • Hand-washing stations should be implemented on the construction site.
  • Designate workers to sanitize tools when delivered by a third-party.
  • When cleaning tools and equipment, workers should consult manufacturer recommendations for proper cleaning techniques and restrictions.
  • Vehicles and equipment/tools should be cleaned before change in operator or rider.
  • Use EPA-approved cleaning chemicals when appropriate.
  • Increase the frequency for servicing of portable toilets.
  • An employee wearing PPE should frequently dispose of all trash collected on site.
  • In lieu of using a common source of drinking water, such as a cooler, employees should use individual water bottles. Use of tobacco products (chewing tobacco, smoking), vaping, sunflower seeds, etc., should be avoided.

Construction Health

Workplace & Space

  • Maintain social distancing at all times. If six-foot separation cannot be maintained, face coverings shall be worn.
  • Minimize worker ride sharing.
  • Hold any on-site meetings outside if possible and keep them as short as possible.
  • Encourage workers to stagger breaks and lunches.
  • If practicable, employees should use/drive the same truck or piece of equipment every shift and limit the sharing of tools and equipment.
  • Limit the number of visitors, especially in the trailer or office, to only those necessary for the work.
  • The following should be considered: keep dust down by using engineering and work practice control through the use of water delivery and dust collection systems, limit exposure time to the extent practicable, isolate workers in dusty operations by using a containment structure or distance to limit dust exposure to those employees who are conducting the tasks, institute a rigorous housekeeping program to reduce dust levels on the job site.
  • Hold pre-construction meetings virtually and plan for office staff to have the ability to work from home.
  • Identify chokepoints where workers are forced to stand together such as hallways, hoists and elevators, ingress and egress points, break areas and buses, and put in place policies to maintain social distancing.

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.

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Human Resources
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Information Technology
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Sales and Marketing
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*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