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Adapting to Challenges of COVID in the Construction of Senior Living Projects

Adapting to Challenges of COVID in the Construction of Senior Living Projects

Business has not been “as usual” since the identification of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020.

Russell has responded with an all-hands-on-deck effort in order to keep projects on time and on schedule. Russell’s preconstruction and construction management team has to be creative and nimble in combating the price and schedule pressures caused by COVID-19. Despite record-breaking lumber cost increases; expanding tariffs; and shortages of building materials, Russell’s senior living projects have remained on schedule. In some cases, have had schedule improvements.

Key to the project success is full stakeholder participation in early planning of our projects.

By integrating the developer, operator, designers, constructor, specialty subcontractors and manufactures in the preconstruction planning process, all stakeholders can focus on a common goal. Often project priorities have been revisited and adjustments to schedule and scope of projects have happened, such as the below examples:

  • To combat the lumber pricing volatility Russell has investigated alternative sources and buying strategies.

    Lumber Prices graph
    Lumber prices from June ’20 to Present. Source: NASDAQ
  • To overcome tariffs on materials commonly purchased from overseas vendors, Russell has sourced alternative vendors from Malaysia and Canada and the U.S. to keep our projects on schedule.
  • To overcome longer lead items, Russell has been able to pre-purchased materials; storing them on-site until installation.
  • To take advantage of optimal construction weather conditions, Russell has revisited project sequencing, altered schedules and discussed schedule changes to either minimize the cost of construction financing or delay project opening to optimize lease-up conditions.
  • In communities where the government inspection process was inhibiting our field production capacity, Russell has recommended alternative inspection to agencies be employed to supplement these strained agencies.
  • To improve constructability efficiency Russell has expanded our Building Information Modeling services use on all projects. This technology has afforded the possibility to expand our off-site prefabrication, reduce cost and expedite project scheduling.

    Prefabricated restroom carriers
    Prefabricated restroom carrier groups arrived on-site, fully assembled, tested and ready for install

Collaboration of all project stakeholders has been necessary to fend off the cost and scheduling pressures of COVID-19. This all-in efforts are a direct reflection of the Russell culture of Building Great People, Relationships and Community.

Just like everyone adapted to Zoom meetings in 2020, COVID-19 will have lasing positive impact on Russell’s ability to effectively and efficiently construct Senior Living Communities. We are all in this together.