Contractors carry on with South Florida work despite COVID-19 pandemic

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Ocean delray project
Construction is continuing on the Ocean Del Ray condos in Palm Beach. The 19 units priced from $5.7 million to $9 million, each.

South Florida contractors are carrying on with their work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and so far indicate that they are managing reasonably well despite the challenges of maintaining job-site cleanliness and social distances.

Rex Kirby, owner of Verdex Construction in West Palm Beach, told the Palm Beach Post that he is managing 12 jobs. “It’s a little chaotic,” he said. Verdex employs 75 workers, with upwards of 1,000 working for subcontractors.

Kirby told the newspaper he has had to make some adjustments to job sites. Meetings are held outside, with people spread out, instead of in construction trailers. Wash stations are positioned throughout sites.

Workers who would not normally wear heavy construction gloves (for example to work on detailed elements) have been told to wear rubber gloves.

Materials are delayed, causing challenges on project timelines. “We’re really paying attention to materials, and we’ve gotten notice of a slowdown,” Kirby said.

Verdex learned that its rebar order would be delayed a couple of weeks. While that might not seem like a major problem, on a construction site where work is done in a particular order, it’s not ideal, Kirby said.

Other general contractors are taking precautions, too, while also continuing with work.

A spokesperson for Suffolk Construction said her organization is continuously cleaning and disinfecting areas, and employees are keeping a safe distance from each other

Meanwhile, “we have implemented additional safety precautions for our construction team members including additional hand-washing stations, touchless hand sanitizer stands, and more gloves,” said John Farina, president and chief executive of U.S. Construction, which is developing the 19-unit Ocean Delray condo project with National Realty Investment Advisors.

“We take this matter seriously, and will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Governor as we move forward with construction,” Farina told the Post.

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