As we all continue to navigate the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, construction companies are trying to determine how to continue working safely. One Calgary-based construction firm has taken steps to protect on-site workers and has doubled down on doing tasks remotely with construction management software wherever possible.
Gary Bizek, the owner of Azimuth Builders Ltd., says hand-washing stations, rubber gloves and masks have been set up on sites. Azimuth has also limited the number of workers on-site, physically separated different trades, and staggered when people work to allow for social distancing.
Meanwhile, communication between Bizek, workers, architects and clients continues via the Procore platform. Procore enables construction companies to manage every aspect of a project from any device, with information such as drawings and photos shared with all stakeholders in the cloud. This helps ensure everyone is working from the same data, which minimizes errors and can make job sites more efficient.
“Everybody’s trying to figure out how to work remotely,” says Bizek. “I’m doing it the same way today as I was yesterday.”
While Bizek and his team are not doing much differently, as they were using Procore extensively prior to the pandemic, there are some processes that have had to change.
“In the field, everybody’s only touching their phone
, their own tablet,” Bizek says.
Clients from Ontario had originally planned to fly to Calgary to visit a job site. With health officials encouraging people to shelter in place, the clients were instead able to review site photos and drawings remotely from Ontario.
“They’re getting all the details, the drawings, all the photos, without having to leave the comfort of their home,” adds Bizek.
Bizek says the architects and engineers he works with are already accustomed to working from home.
“We’re all communicating a lot quicker and easier because we’re all on Procore.”
Bizek can mark up a drawing and receive revisions from the architect half an hour later. He believes the unfolding pandemic will result in lasting changes in all work, including construction. Bizek believes the industry’s predilection for “the handshake” and face-to-face meetings to determine contractor-and-client fit could be displaced by a greater focus on evaluating qualifications remotely and looking at past projects.
In the meantime, he’s focusing on keeping his family, workers and partners safe, and is glad that Azimuth’s processes enable social distancing and remote work.
“We love the idea that people can work from home. I love being around my family and working.”