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
Apr 9, 2020
Bala Consulting Engineers Offers "COVID-19 and Impacts to the Workplace" Research Paper

The Bala COVID-19 Task Force has researched and collaborated with industry partners and health experts to present some of the most effective ways to make our buildings safer. From filters and air changes in HVAC systems to sanitization and touchless toilet fixtures as well as technology integrations for access control and bio-scanning, there are short- and long-term strategies building owners can implement to increase the safety of their building.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • HVAC
  • Plumbing
Apr 9, 2020
IAPMO Creates Database of Plumbing and Mechanical Related COVID-19 Resources

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) has created a robust and continually updated database linking to resources of import to the plumbing and mechanical industries, who were declared essential infrastructure workers by the Department of Homeland Security. Offerings range from "Guidelines to Protect Workers Related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Other Potential Infectious Materials (OPIM) in Plumbing and HVAC Systems" to "Coronavirus in Plumbing Systems: How Did the Outbreak Occur in Hong Kong and Is there a Risk in North America?"

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • HVAC
  • Mechanical
  • Plumbing
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Apr 8, 2020
USACE Chief of Engineers Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite Talks About Adapting Basic COVID-19 Hospital Design to Meet Local Needs

Chief Engineer/Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Lt. General Todd Semonite talked with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow about how the Corps is stepping up to evaluate sites create emergency COVID-19 hospitals in more than 58 locales across the country. In this 6 1/2 minute interview, Gen. Semonite speaks about starting with a basic plan that is adapted very quickly to specific requirements of individual cities, including retrofit of New York City's Javits Center, while staying "just one step ahead of the curve."

Topics
  • Building Adaptation
  • COVID-19
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Apr 7, 2020
April 7 Marks National Healthy Schools Day with a Focus on Fighting COVID-19 Upon Return to School

This year's theme of "On the Pandemic Frontline: Children, Families & Schools" highlighted the issue foremost on the minds of all who design, build, and work in schools. The Healthy School Network's online resource page offers the gamut of resources on safe and healthy school buildings, including a section on, "Guidance for Improving Buildings and Grounds," addressing such topics as indoor air quality and extreme weather resistance strategies for school buildings.

Topics
  • COVID-19
Apr 6, 2020
Department of Energy Announces New Funding to Train Emergency Response and Building Professionals

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $4.5 million in funding for training programs for professionals (firefighters, first responders, and safety officials) who interact with distributed energy resources, including solar energy systems, storage systems, "smart" building technologies, and electric vehicles. Projects in this funding opportunity will focus on developing, testing, and disseminating educational materials. In addition to developing new education materials, projects also will focus on working with existing training organizations in each of the targeted professional groups to ensure that the right materials get to the right people in an effective way. Mandatory concept papers are due May 5, 2020. Register to participate in an informational webinar on April 16 at 1 p.m. ET.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Sustainable
  • Workforce
Apr 6, 2020
Editorial: The role of architecture in fighting a pandemic

In an editorial featured in the Boston Globe, founding principal architect and executive director Michael Murphy of MASS Design, Boston, details how architecture, if deployed as an active agent in the fight against COVID-19, might "recapture trust over our public spaces and solve problems. The spatial choices we make today, during this emergency, might make or break our ability to survive both this crisis and the next one."

Topics
  • Architecture
  • COVID-19
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Apr 5, 2020
Modular Building Institute Shares Emergency and Crisis Response Capabilities

The modular construction industry has been in the news every day, as offsite construction finds purpose as expediently constructed medical emergency structures. While talking with many federal agencies, the Modular Building Institute (MBI) has focused its efforts on the needs of FEMA, USACE, and HUD. THE MBI website features business guidelines and tips for its members, as well as a section displaying member organizations’ capabilities and inventories.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Off-Site Construction
Apr 5, 2020
BuildingAction Holds COVID-19 Building Recovery & Relief Webinar

BuildingAction: The Coalition for Sustainable Buildings, a new nonprofit coalition comprised of companies and organizations involved in the creation and use of buildings, held its "COVID-19 Building Recovery and Relief" webinar on April 2 to explore policy ideas to help ensure a healthy built environment, both as an immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to spur long-term economic recovery. Slides from the webinar are available for viewing on the coalition's website. The site also offers links to a number of resources pertinent to the building industry and focused on COVID-19.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Sustainable
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Apr 3, 2020
AIA Task Force Seeks Designs of COVID-19 Alternative Care Sites

As part of its robust platform of COVID-19 mitigation resources, the AIA COVID-19 task force is seeking and sharing designs of COVID-19 alternative care sites. Architects, designers, engineers and facility owners are asked to provide designs to increase information sharing and best practice development for COVID-19 response.

Topics
  • Architecture
  • COVID-19
Apr 3, 2020
CoVent-19 Challenge Asks Millions of Designers and Engineers to Respond to the Ventilator Crisis

A group of anesthesiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital has issued the CoVent-19 Challenge, launched on the GrabCAD Challenges platform on April 1. The CoVent-19 Challenge is an open innovation, eight-week challenge for engineers, innovators, designers, and makers—individually or in teams—to bridge the gap between need and actual resources by fostering innovation of a rapidly deployable, minimum viable mechanical ventilator for patients with covid-19 lung injury. All who are interested may join a two-round challenge that aims to create CAD assemblies by May 1, 2020 (Round 1: General Admission) and functional prototypes demonstrating acceptable performance by June 1, 2020 (Round 2: Invitation Only). Finalists will work directly with Stratasys 3D printing experts and the CoVent-19 Challenge team to turn their designs into prototypes for testing.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • HVAC
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Apr 3, 2020
ASHRAE Establishes Epidemic Task Force

ASHRAE has established a society-wide Epidemic Task Force to help deploy ASHRAE's technical resources to address the challenges of the current pandemic and future epidemics as it relates to the effects of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems on disease transmission. The task force also will offer recommendations for setting up temporary field hospitals in convention centers, arenas, and stadiums to deal with surges. For more information on the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force including resources and updates, visit the ASHRAE COVID-19 Preparedness Resources webpage

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • HVAC
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Apr 2, 2020
AIA Offers Compendium of Good Samaritan Laws

The AIA’s Good Samaritan Compendium discusses the advantages of Good Samaritan laws, details each state's Good Samaritan protections for architects, and includes AIA model legislation for those interested in understanding and advocating for the adoption of such legislation by states. Related, but not included are laws pertaining to the portability of licensure. Architects licensed within the state for which the law is enacted are typically only eligible to provide volunteer disaster assistance. Some jurisdictions will allow unlicensed professionals to volunteer so long as they work alongside a licensed professional.

Topics
  • Architecture
  • COVID-19
Apr 2, 2020
The Swarm Before the ‘Storm: BIMStorm 2020 Takes on COVID-19

NIBS is supporting the development of the BIMStorm Swarm, an effort developed by Onuma to allow planners, designers, and owners work together and communicate in real time to share the enormous amount of data and information that goes into shaping today's building projects. As the site explains, "Mobile, cloud computing, and other technologies support uninterrupted workflows even with the constraints of social-distancing. We allow ourselves all the benefits of 'swarm intelligence' without having to leave our homes." NIBS is supporting the 'swarm' by helping to mobilize subject matter experts to provide support for this BIMStorm. View the continually updates website and join the Swarm today.

Topics
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • COVID-19
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Mar 28, 2020
CISA Identifies Critical Infrastructure Sectors and Workers During COVID-19

The US Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has defined 13 critical infrastructure sectors and the essential workers needed to maintain the services and functions Americans depend on daily and need to be able to operate resiliently during the COVID-19 pandemic response. This site is intended to provide guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions—as well as the private sector—on defining essential critical infrastructure workers.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Infrastructure
Mar 27, 2020
VA Shares its COVID-19 Response Plan

The U.S. Veterans Administration (VA), working with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other federal agencies, has implemented an aggressive public health response to protect and care for veterans, their families, health care providers, and staff in the face of this emerging health risk. The site also outline’s VA's outreach to Veterans and staff, clinical screening at VA healthcare facilities, and protective procedures for patients admitted to VA's community living centers and spinal cord injury units.

Topics
  • COVID-19
Mar 26, 2020
Army Corps Calls for Capabilities

USACE Districts nationwide. If you wish to be considered for missions, please your send capabilities statements to perform:
(1) "Build-out" or retrofit of existing space (arenas, convention centers, dormitories, hotels, or other facilities) into alternate care facilities; (2) Field Medical Units; (3) Temporary Medical Enclosures
Include response times (boots on the ground) by FEMA region or state to give those making decisions a better understanding of your capabilities. All other vendors expressing capabilities to support COVID-19 for other efforts (disinfecting recruiting stations, design of hospitals, etc.) should be directed to register at the beta.SAM.gov Disaster Response Registry.

Topics
  • COVID-19
Mar 25, 2020
White Paper on "COVID-19 and the Global Construction Market" Available for Download

Cumming, a global construction management consulting firm, has made available for download a white paper by Daniel Pomfrett and Brian Burton to examine the history of COVID-19 and examine its effect on construction markets globally and within the U.S. It is important to note that current conditions are changing quickly; this paper was based on information available as of March 25, 2020.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Facility Construction
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Mar 25, 2020
American Institute of Steel Construction Webpage Compares "Essential Business" Orders by State

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) presents guidance on whether steel fabrication and construction are allowed to continue as "essential businesses" during a state stay at home order. The rules of each state differ, and AISC has compiled a continually updated list of all states with stay-at-home orders ,with specific requirements for each.

Topics
  • COVID-19
Mar 24, 2020
FEMA Response Page Includes Community Best Practices

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's Corona Virus Response page offers fact sheets, news releases, and guidance for emergency managers. The site also sponsors a "Best Practices" community sharing page and a media gallery of FEMA responses in action.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Hazard Mitigation
Mar 24, 2020
Disasters Collide: How the Pandemic Will Affect Response to Natural Disasters

Some reports indicate that the spread of the coronavirus will continue through this summer, indicating that social-distancing measures may be in place for several months. In this article, NIBS Multihazard Mitigation Council Chair Bryan Koon points out that the pandemic won’t stop other natural disasters from occurring, citing the recent earthquake in Salt Lake City. Spring flooding, tornadoes, and the first part of hurricane season will all occur before the number of COVID-19 cases dissipate. Koon explains that we need to start preparing now and begin to think through some of the major challenges that will arise when responding to multiple disasters simultaneously.

Topics
  • COVID-19
  • Hazard Mitigation
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Mar 16, 2020
Practice of Architecture: Architecture Firm Best Practices, Resources & Templates for Communications and Temp Policies for COVID-19

Practice of Architecture web site group is using the interconnectivity of GoogleDocs to create a living document that allows architects to share their experiences, resources, and best practices for navigating practice in this time of upheaval. Subscribers (it's free!) may contribute and get continual updates.

Topics
  • Architecture
  • COVID-19

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