Industry News: COVID-19 Updates  

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) is Congressionally mandated to assist the built environment, bringing experts to the table to discuss and tackle challenges that face our industry. This responsibility is more critical than ever.

Our team has come together to personally curate and build a resource for those looking for recent developments, financial assistance information, webinars and events, continuing education, and other impacts of the coronavirus on the building sector. This collection of resources will live permanently on the Whole Building Design Guide–WBDG where this new resource hub is regularly updated as new information becomes available.

Our No. 1 priority during this unprecedented time is the safety and health of our workforce. We aim to improve lives through collaboration, and it’s our hope this information will fit the needs of the industry. If you have a news item or information that you would like included, please send it to wbdg@nibs.org.

Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers: Defense Industrial Base, Energy, Dams, Healthcare & Public Health, Chemical, Communications, Government Facilities, Nuclear Reactors, Materials & Waste, Information Technology, Commercial Facilities, Transportation Systems, Financial, Water & Wastewater, Emergency Services, Food & Agriculture, Critical Manufacturing
Jun 15, 2020
GIS Systems Lead Response to COVID-19

The widespread use of GIS for COVID-19 response has demonstrated the power of geospatial thinking and the scalability, speed, and insight provided by GIS. More than simply mapping phenomena, GIS uses geography to furnish context for events in a common reference system. Applying spatial analysis tools, GIS brings out the relationships, patterns, and associations that are often hidden by the complexity of data. GIS has been critical to the ability of state and local governments to react to the pandemic.

Topics
  • Communication
  • COVID-19
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Jun 3, 2020
IES Explains Germicidal UltraViolet in Simplified Format

The Illuminating Engineering Society website offers a simplified way to quickly see the frequently asked questions contained in the IES Photobiology Committee's Committee Report CR-2-20-V1: Germicidal UltraViolet. The full report, which contains supporting information on this topic as well as an introductory video, also is available on the site. The FAQs presented were vetted through the ANSI-approved standards development process through a consensus of volunteers representing varied viewpoints and interests.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Lighting
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Jun 1, 2020
ICC Extends 2021 and 2022 Committee Applications Deadline to June 15

Due to the current state of affairs surrounding COVID-19, the International Code Council is extending the application process for its 2021/2022 code development cycle call for code, interpretation and code correlation committees. The new deadline for applications will now be June 15, 2020. Understanding that modern building codes requires input from professionals throughout the building pipeline to be effective, the Code Council’s most important asset is the time and expertise of the volunteers that partake in numerous ICC committees. The call for committee members is the first step in the Code Council's code development process for its International Codes (I-Codes), which are developed on a three-year cycle.

Topics
  • Code Compliance
  • COVID-19
May 30, 2020
MASS Design Group's Q&A Discusses Architect’s Role in Controlling Infection

A question and answer session by international nonprofit MASS Design Group, published in ARCHITECT magazine on May 28, explores the role that architecture can play during health crises. Chris Scovel, MASS Design Group director, and Michael Murphy, founding principal and executive director, discussed MASS Design’s COVID-19 Task Group response, unique response to the homeless population and their particular vulnerability to COVID-19, and how the pandemic can help us understand the spaces around us more comprehensively.

Topics
  • Architecture
  • COVID-19
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May 29, 2020
Construction Dive: Who Pays for Extra Time, Work to Keep Construction Workers Safe?

Construction Dive website offers an interesting question-and-answer interview with Patrick J. Greene Jr., partner in Peckar & Abramson's Government Contracts Practice, discussion some of the legal and economic issues surrounding construction, during the COVID-19 era. Topics Greene tackles include: what types of guidance to follow, providing for a safe working environment while carrying the extra costs—as well as who pays for the costs—and how to develop a plan that addresses worker protection and project hygiene for new and existing projects.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Facility Construction
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May 28, 2020
JLL Offers New Guide on Building Re-Entry for Owners and Tenants

"As employees and tenants begin to return to the workplace, it is extremely important that when we open the doors, we are inviting everyone into a safe environment," writes Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) Inc, commercial real estate services company, as an introduction to its new guide, returning to work in the next normal. The guide offers resources and advice for tenants and owners to navigate in three broad areas: reactivating space, respecting health and wellness, and revitalizing property and workplace operations. The guide is available for free download from the JLL website.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Facility Management
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May 28, 2020
VA Fulfills Its Fourth Mission: To Serve the Public in Times of Emergency

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has three missions promoting veterans’ health and wellbeing: veterans' health care, benefits, and its National Cemetery Administration. Its fourth mission is to improve the nation's preparedness in times of emergency to serve veterans as well as public health and safety programs at the national, state, and local levels. The VA website offers a weekly graphic dashboard, "By the Numbers," that offers a snapshot of the Department's efforts to serve veterans and the general public. The VA's website also offers real-time, map-based data on COVID-19 case counts at its facilities around the country and advice for veterans seeking medical and other services.

Topics
  • COVID-19
May 26, 2020
Gensler's "US Work from Home" Survey Indicates Most Prefer to Work in the Office Most of the Time

In conjunction with a third-party vendor, Gensler surveyed 2,300 workers across the US, and found that 70 percent of them want to work in the office for the majority of the work week. Interestingly, this percentage is consistent with workplace data that Gensler has been collecting since 2005; workers choose (when given the choice) to spend 72% of their average workweek in the office. The survey also finds that workers expect major changes in their workplaces when they return. The survey is one of many useful tools and interesting reads concerning the pandemic and beyond on Gensler's website.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Workplace Productivity
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May 25, 2020
The Digital Twin: Tool of the New Normal?

AEC Café Editor Susan Smith blogs about the potential importance of the digital twin, a digital representation of a real structure that operates with actual data sensed from its real counterpart, as a tool of the "new normal" for civil design and construction. In "Bentley Civil Design's Answer to the New Normal: The Digital Twin," Smith relays discussions from a press briefing given by Bentley Systems about how the software giant is partnering with companies in other sectors of the building industry to collaborate on digital twins that operate in design and construction and through the operations phases of civil structures.

Topics
  • Civil Engineering
  • COVID-19
  • Information Technology
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May 22, 2020
APA Offers Resources for Helping Employees and Keeping Them Safe

Arthur Evans Jr., PhD, CEO of the American Psychological Association (APA), urged participants of NIBS' May 19 COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall to "prepare the people as much as you prepare the building" for a post-quarantine return to the workplace. The APA offers a number of free resources highlighting research- and science-based recommendations and strategies for coping with communications, social distance, giving people choices, and encouraging social interaction.

Topics
  • Communication
  • COVID-19
  • Workforce
May 21, 2020
New Buildings Institute Offers Listings of COVID-19 Resources

New Buildings Institute is compiling lists of information resources relating to building operations, design and policy-making to advance energy efficiency, zero energy, and zero carbon buildings while addressing COVID-19. Sources include AIA, ASHRAE, BOMA, NIBS, and ULI, as well trade-specific and general interest publications.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Sustainable
May 20, 2020
Architecture Billings Index (ABI) Indicates Business Conditions at Firms Weakened Even Further

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), produced monthly by the AIA Economics and Market Research Group, indicates that following March’s plummet, billings at architecture firms sank even lower in April, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to severely affect firm business. The ABI score declined to 29.3, a new all-time low for the index (a score below 50 indicates decreasing billings), with more than half of responding firms reporting a further decline in their firm billings from March to April. Some relief was provided to firms by loans through the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Of the firms responding, 84 percent indicated that they have applied for a loan through the PPP, with an additional 2 percent indicating that they still plan to apply.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Economics
May 19, 2020
NIBS Second COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall

Video and session notes of the National Institute of Building Sciences' second virtual town hall are now available on the NIBS website. Stakeholders offered advice on how to prepare for safely reopening businesses and offices to workers and customers. Sponsored by NIBS Consultative Council, the town hall featured leaders from across the building industry talking about re-occupancy of spaces used to house COVID-19 patients and/or medical personnel, sanitation, and mental health.

Topics
  • Building Science
  • COVID-19
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May 16, 2020
McKinsey Report Outlines How Leaders Can Shape the "Next Normal"

McKinsey & Company's report, "How Construction Can Emerge Stronger After Coronavirus," presents an analysis of the building industry's current disruptions and predicts the trends that will shape our "next normal" as we return to the workplace. The article also offers seven actions that will help us prepare, including accelerated rollout of digitization and bolstering supply chain resilience.

Topics
  • COVID-19
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May 15, 2020
GSA Provides Safety Measures, Invites Questions on its COVID-19 Website

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) website has outlined several measures it has taken to enhance safety and health in federally occupied spaces in response to COVID-19. It website addresses topics such as: what to do if COVID-19 is suspected in a GSA-owned building, recommended cleaning services and who pays for them, child-care centers, and recommendations to tenants and lessors. The website also includes a link that allows users to get answers to additional questions they may have.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Facility Management
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May 14, 2020
NYC Office Market Faces Uncertainty Post-COVID 19

Commercial Observer magazine's "Class A Meet Plan B: How the Coronavirus Could Impact NYC's Newly Built Office Space" explains that the post-COVID 19 pain for the Big Apple's office space market goes deeper than construction; it includes absorbing the space that failed businesses will leave behind. Compounding the problem will be a post-disaster historically cautious survivor's market, which will tend toward renewing existing space rather than upgrading to bigger and better space. Also adding uncertainty to the mix is general rethinking about how much office space actually is needed, as telework proves its efficacy and more firms and businesses adopt and adapt the process.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Economics
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May 14, 2020
Dodge Data & Analytics Offers State-by-State Construction Updates

Dodge Data & Analytics leads off its website, Construction.com, with a continually updated, running list of articles that present analysis of the current condition of construction on a state-by-state basis. Topping this week's list is an update on construction in New Jersey, which is slated to reopen on May 18.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Facility Construction
May 13, 2020
HKS Explores COVID-19's Effect on Multifamily Design

Four HKS Architects staffers teamed up to write "How Design Will Shift to Accommodate Post-COVID-19 Multifamily Living," posted on the firm’s website. They point out that while single-family homeowners have more leeway to adapt their homes to new spatial needs dropped on us so suddenly by COVID-19, many apartment tenants feel boxed in by intractable surroundings. The article explores balcony variety, mudrooms, hidden spaces, flexible workspaces, and access to light and air for home offices of the future, and presents some case study drawings that put these concepts to work.

Topics
  • Architecture
  • COVID-19
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May 11, 2020
AIA Announces International Distribution of Its Alternate Care Site Checklist for COVID-19

The AIA's alternate care site checklist, produced by a special COVID-19 task force, is being distributed internationally by the U.S. State Department, which translated the tool into French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The checklist, just released in its second version (V2), highlights important criteria for evaluation of buildings considered for use as temporary healthcare operations during a pandemic. Version 2 of the translated document, which will be made available to embassies around the world, reflects recommendations from groups such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Topics
  • Architecture
  • COVID-19
May 11, 2020
Construction Loses Record-Breaking 975,000 Jobs in April

Despite the fact that a number of states have declared construction an "essential service" that has allowed job sites to remain open, Construction Dive reports that the construction industry lost 975,000 jobs from March to April. The brief uses stats from the Associated General Contractors, which calls the 13 percent overall workforce drop the worst in the industry's history.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Economics
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May 10, 2020
NYC Issues Answers to FAQs for Residential and Commercial Buildings

The New York City Department of Health issued succinct and clearly written guidelines for residential and commercial building owners in response to frequently asked questions. Topics covered include fire safety, ventilation and humidification requirements, repairs and cleaning procedures, building deliveries, tenant access to common areas, and communications to tenants.

Topics
  • COVID-19
May 7, 2020
NIBS Sponsors COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall for 1,700 Registrants

More than 1,700 people from all facets of the building industry signed up to take part in the May 7 NIBS COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall: Preparing for Re-entering Buildings, which honed in on the topics of indoor air and water safety, public transportation, and the "new normal" for interior public and private spaces. Hosted by NIBS President/CEO Lakisha Woods and moderated by NIBS Chair Carl Hedde, the 90-minute virtual meeting featured subject matter experts Dr. G. Scott Earnest, Acting Director for the Office of Construction Safety and Health, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Thomas H. Phoenix, Principal, CPL Architects & Engineers, PC; Treasurer, NIBS Board of Directors; Fellow, ASHRAE; Henry H. Chamberlin, President/Chief Operating Officer, BOMA; Daniel Nichols, Assistant Director of fire/life safety, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Metro-North Railroad; and Pete DeMarco, Executive Vice President of Advocacy & Research, International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).

Topics
  • COVID-19
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May 7, 2020
ICC Provides Tools to Help Local Governments Advocate for Code-Related CARES Assistance

The International Code Council (ICC) has launched a Coronavirus Advocacy page, which includes links to a factsheet describing: CARES Act funding sources that can be used to fund code department virtual needs, which state/local governments are receiving how much of those funding sources, eligible activities, and how interested organizations can engage in those programs. The page also includes talking points for discussing how and why government recipients of CARES Act resources should direct funds to code departments for development of remote capabilities. Contacts to Code Council field staff responsible for different states are part of the package.

Topics
  • Code Compliance
  • COVID-19
May 5, 2020
New Device Tracks Construction Workers Proximity, Interaction Times

Construction Dive web site featured an article explaining the workings of Triax's Proximity Trace, a system that uses "trace tags" attached to construction workers’ helmets to track their proximity to each other and the duration of their interactions. By providing audible and visual alarms when workers come within close proximity to each other, the system reminds workers to properly distance on the worksite. In addition to actively alerting workers who are in close proximity, the tags collect worker interaction data and maintain a log of interactions with other tags as well as the duration of those interactions. Data made available in minutes can help track and therefore limit the spread of COVID-19.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Facility Construction
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May 4, 2020
From ASHRAE Task Force: HVAC Systems Should Be Checked Before Buildings Reopen, Due to COVID-19

ACHR NEWS interviewed Dennis Knight, PE, FASHRAE, member of ASHRAE's Epidemic Task Force, and principal/engineer at Whole Building Systems in Charleston, SC, about how contractors can help commercial building owners make sure their HVAC systems are operating safely and efficiently after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and occupants start returning to work. Knight outlines minimum requirements for inspection of HVAC, and refers readers to ASHRAE Standard 180-2018, Standard Practice for the Inspection and Maintenance of Commercial Building HVAC Systems.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • HVAC
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