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April 20, 2020
“Preserving the Past while Building the Future.”
Celebrating 136 Years of Service
A note from the Siewers Family…
Covid19 has certainly changed our world! It appears that it has not peaked in Richmond and we are all hearing about more people that we know that have it or have had it. We continue to keep all of our medical providers and those affected by this terrible virus in our thoughts and prayers.
YES! We are open for business! We have been deemed an “Essential Business” and are offering a Call-In / Curb Side Pick-up service as well as continuing our delivery service. Construction may continue during the pandemic and we are here to provide you with materials that you need. Although our showroom and warehouses are closed to the public we have been using any and all computer/cell phone devices to take pictures, face-time, reference websites, etc. to answer questions and solve our customer’s building needs!
We have some upcoming events that most likely are going to be postponed. We are not canceling any programs, just postponing them. As this virus has appeared, we know that it will one day disappear and we can get back to business as usual. We will be announcing dates for the following programs as soon as we are able.
In May or June, we will host our Founder’s Day/Deck Expo! We will have reps from Azek and FastenMaster on hand to answer all of your questions! In honor of our
136th Anniversary, we would like to treat you to a barbecue lunch!
Wednesday, May 20th NARI will be hosting Victoria Downing, president of The Remodelers Advantage. She will be presenting the seminar “How do you Compare? Performance Metrics of the High Performers”, a seminar geared for remodelers. Victoria Downing has written several books as well as many articles for the remodeling industry and is recognized as one of the leading remodeling consultants in the country. Siewers will be hosting the 2-hour event here at our facility!
Wednesday, May 27th – Therma Tru and OSI will be here for continuing education on both products. The specific time of this event will be announced soon, but reserve the day!
Again, please know we are here to serve you during this difficult time. Please keep in touch with us and let us know how we can help you and your business. Enjoy this month’s newsletter. This month we are focusing much of the content on “Safety”. The newsletter begins with current information about Covid19 and the construction industry.
Please let us know if there is a future topic you would like us to cover – we always love to hear from our readers! Stay safe and healthy!
-The Siewers Family
VIRGINIA – Statewide stay-at-home order
How is “Construction” addressed in the order? The Governor's order does not address "construction," per se, nor does the state website or FAQs related to the order at this time, but news channels (see example) are widely reporting that construction businesses will not be affected by the order.
How are Building Material Suppliers addressed in the order? The retail businesses that are exempt from the order listed on the state's website include "home improvement, hardware, building material, and building supply retailers."
What we are hearing: One Virginia home builder wrote JLC: “Our governor just announced a shelter in place order but construction can continue. We had one client on a job we just started hit the pause button and wants to wait to do anything else. Other than that we are hanging in there with existing projects!”
How To Plan For Jobsite Emergencies
1. Have pre-planned emergency plans by type
There are a couple of types of emergencies that might be worth having some pre-planning completed and in your company’s playbook. Consider just a few of the “types” that you might prepare for as presented below:
· Employee accident
· Non-employee accident on Jobsite
· Utility accident (cut electrical line, break a gas pipe, etc.)
· Equipment/vehicle accident with/without injury
· Gun-toting or threatening individual
· Threatening weather change (lightning, thundershowers, ice storm, tornado, etc.)
While the list can certainly be endless it does pay to put in the effort to develop and document an Emergency Crisis Plan for your workers to embrace. Just having such plans available, and copies in each of the company trucks can prevent suddenly excitable leaders from directing the wrong things, adding to the stress felt by all involved.
2. Prioritize your emergency process steps
The very first priority in any emergency is certainly to seek the safest handling and leading of the people involved. Protecting your workers is critical, working to ensure that they are first safe and heading to a safer environment.
3. Identify the root cause of emergency
While our people’s safety is paramount to us, we must also be concerned with the root cause of the emergency. In some situations, the root cause is clear and present. If the cause is unknown you might be engaged in determining where the cause originated. If the problem were a utility cause, you should immediately contact the local authorities from the utility companies rather than try to fix the power lines that just went down.
4. Prepare safety precautions needed
This effort is to provide some additional precautions to prevent any further negative activity. For example, let’s replay the broken gas line. After evacuating workers from the immediate area and contacting the appropriate gas contacts, it might be wise to mark off a wide perimeter with orange tape to prevent others from innocently walking into the same dangerous area.
5. Account for all involved with emergency
Unfortunately, the size of some construction projects makes it difficult to just yell at one area and capture the attention and ensure the safe steps of everyone involved. This effort requires you to know who is working on your site and to take a quick inventory of those who have received the emergency alert and are acting appropriately. Workers who are not accounted for must be located. Certainly, our smartphones can be put to good use here.
6. Store emergency numbers and alerts on every smartphone
Speaking of smartphones, for every smartphone used by your workers be sure to provide a list of names and organizations that need to be contacted whenever an emergency erupts. This is a very doable effort on your part and can save time and lives in explosive situations.
7. Review and practice emergency plans several times a year
Because emergencies are not common (hopefully they’re not common) reaction to them will need to be rehearsed from time to time. Doing this can add some confidence and know-how to your workers so that they are better prepared when an emergency does occur…and it’s just a matter of time before that emergency will happen.
8. Assign emergency roles and responsibilities
If you have a crew working when an emergency happens, be sure that all crew members know just what to do and who will perform what tasks. While a job foreman will inherit a lot of responsibilities, every crew member needs to understand his or her role as well. It’s always a great idea to have a backup for every role, including for the foreman as he might be off the Jobsite when such an emergency takes place.
9. Prepare for Jobsite area conditions
This almost sounds like an admission here but it is wise to consider just where the jobs are located that your crews will be working. Depending on the geography, there might be some worksite areas that present more or less threatening situations. Your crews might be working near chemical plants, high-density retail areas and lower-income areas with a “tough reputation.” No matter where your workers will be, you can reassure your workers’ confidence by being honest and assertive in addressing their work environment.
10. Create an emergency public relations policy
This might sound like overkill for the smaller contractor, but the truth is that whenever an emergency happens, it’s amazing how many different viewpoints exist. You need to have a narrow vein of who communicates the “what, when and to whom” associated with a situation.
Should your emergency be on a very visible location, perhaps because of a lot of traffic, you can almost be sure that local reporters will be swooping down on the area in search of the scoop. You’ll be glad if you don’t allow your entire crew to be interviewed. Take this option away by clearly assigning only a few people to report what happened or at least what your company knows.
Hopefully, you will never be interrupted by a presidential “photo-op” emergency, but you still need to be prepared for emergencies that truly can be a threat to you and your workers. This is one of the most often overlooked policy efforts by many contractors. Take the initiative and create your emergency response plan now and sleep easier!
Five Must-Dos for Digital Success
1. Make the first impression with your website. Determine the purpose of your site. Meet visitor expectations. Use a simple and unique design. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly.
2. Monitor your online reputation. Set up a Google alert for your business so you know when new articles that mention your business are posted. Pay attention to your social channels and what users are saying about your business. Prepare a list of FAQs if you see similar inquiries or issues around your brand.
3. Master local s