The New Normal: Design and Safety in Construction

The New Normal: Design and Safety in Construction

The world around us is continuing to change and every industry is having to adjust accordingly. Construction and related trades can anticipate a shift in workflow and operation norms. The response to Covid-19 has inspired innovation and an even deeper consideration for safety.


Many of the major safety changes on the job site will add to the anticipated time to complete a project. Slower construction schedules are expected as general contractors avoid stacking trades and prioritize the distancing of their workers. New city ordinances and code compliance will come down the pipeline but the transition will be a slow process.


In design, we are seeing a prioritization of touch- less and motion sensor systems; wave options for faucets and foot-pulls for doors. Restaurants are utilizing layouts that offer more space between seating and some are going as far as creating partitions for separation. Technology will come into play on the restaurant scene, as robots are considerable options for food delivery. Similarly, in the medical field, we can expect to see a rise in telemedicine and touch-less services.


Although hand hygiene and social distancing are the best practices for reducing the spread of infectious diseases, HVAC design is also being considered in those efforts. Negative Air Machines, which pull potentially contaminated air out of the room they are in, and UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) for sanitization, are options depending on the environment they’re intended for.


It is hard to say what the cost implications of these design shifts will be, but with the reliance of car dependency decreasing, we likely can anticipate more resources to help us congregate through parks, plazas, promenades, community centers or streets converted for pedestrians with social distancing in mind.


The future is uncertain but we know that the innovation in design has safety and the well-being of people at its core and the Construction industry will continue to evolve in that direction.