Currently, our industry, and indeed the world, is adjusting to abrupt changes in work habits, planning for inevitable economic repercussions, and, most importantly, making concerted efforts to stay safe, healthy, and at home. As most of you already know, the Webber + Studio team has been working remotely for the better part of two weeks, and the City of Austin Stay Home – Work Safe order has guaranteed that we will be doing so until mid-April at the earliest. We are fortunate to be able to keep projects moving forward through independent and collaborative work bolstered by advanced telecommuting tools. Our existing projects remain on schedule and we expect that to remain the case.
We can’t speculate about how the COVID-19 crisis and ensuing economic changes will impact each individual personally. We’re optimists at heart, so we see an opportunity to support one another through these uncertain times. Indeed, promoting progress, especially on those residential or development projects that are geared towards the community as a whole (like affordable housing or multifamily developments) in spite of economic fears is our best weapon against inevitable instabilities coming down the pike. As we are all aware, many construction projects have been fully or partially suspended in response to shelter-in-place orders, which means that trusted subcontractors are at risk of losing stable employment. It’s up to those of us who are less impacted to fill in gaps where we can, whether it’s shifting these subcontractors to other jobs, initiating projects that take advantage of a likely softening of materials and supplies costs, or simply just reaching out to ask how we can best support one another.
If you’re already engaged on a project, we encourage you to think about ways you can continue to advance these projects, regardless of current status. Engaging subcontractor and supplier pools now will ensure a strong return to stability once the dust has settled and even the promise of upcoming work will go a long way to spreading good will (perhaps even in pricing) among those who may need the extra support right now. Let us know how we can help.
There are likely many lessons to be learned from this whole experience, and the future is still unwritten. What is abundantly clear is that our community is strong, resilient, and inextricably connected. May this connection, regardless of its genesis, prove unbreakable in the weeks, months, and years to come.