We Have "Essential Services" Designation
March 30, 2020—As it stands today, Murphy Bros. and many of our suppliers and trade partners have been designated as essential services. That means we can continue to work in homes with the necessary precautions and that is exactly what we are doing until told otherwise.
We like to think of this time as a journey to a new world of sorts. Unlike Columbus we know where we are going, but we're not exactly sure how we're going to get there, what additional storms or doldrums we will encounter or reefs we might need to navigate. We don't even know how long a journey this will be.
That's okay. This is not our first journey of discovery. Since our offices and paint operation in Blaine burned down in May of 2019, we've been working from home, meeting in borrowed offices, reinventing how to remodel with a different type of infrastructure.
This is new, a bit harder, but just another challenge to overcome.
Our guidelines for working in homes—a work in progress
Over the past days we've been working on creating new guidelines for working in occupied homes. We've had to rethink everything, such as how to enter a room safely. That would have been on our radar few weeks ago, but now we have to make sure we're doing everything to keep our homeowners, trade partners and staff as safe as possible with limited exposure to other people. That means applying the CDC guidelines to our unique work environment and implementing other commonsense measures as well.
There is of course no way to eliminate all risk. One would have to literally leave the planet to accomplish that feat. What we've developed is our best start at understanding how we can work safely with each other on our many job sites.
So as you read the guidelines below, please keep in mind these will change according to conditions on the ground and our knowledge of this virus. It will take time to work these new habits into our daily job site routine. Please be patient and understand there are a lot of people, materials, products and surfaces even in smaller scope remodels to try and control every single day.
These guidelines represent the “best practices” approach and methods for working safely in a job site environment under these extraordinary times. Depending on occupancy and other common sense factors, some of these guidelines may not apply. Please understand, they are intended to significantly lower the risk, not eliminate it.
They take into account the most up to date information available from the CDC and directives from the state of Minnesota. However, they can and most likely will change as more is learned about this virus and how we reinvent over night the way we remodel. Furthermore, these guidelines should apply to everyone on the job site, including homeowners, project managers, carpenters, painters, general laborers and tradesmen. However, since each job site is different in scope, duration, complexity, and number of people living in the space and those working in the space, many of these guidelines will require some modifications through collaborative agreements.
1. All Murphy Bros. personnel visiting or working at the job site, including tradesmen must use an approved CDC sanitizer on all doors and knobs they touch to enter and leave the home.
2. Where possible and upon agreement, Murphy Bros. employees should establish and use separate entrances from homeowners for the duration of the job.
3. Sub contractors should call the job project manager before arriving at the job site for clearance to make sure as few people as possible are in the working space.
4. Sub contractors are required to clean up, bag and or dispose of daily any left over materials associated with their work.
5. Sub contractors should avoid close contact (closer than 6 ft.) with homeowners and Murphy Bros. employees.
6. Announce first contact of the day at the door and or by phone to give the homeowners time to leave the immediate work area as appropriate.
7. BuildClean dust units or direction-able fans should be used when available to reduce airborne dust in the environment and create a negative air pressure work zone.
8. Per standard work environment practices, work areas should be sealed off to control air movement and dust as much as is practical and we are incorporating this into all current projects. In new projects, extra efforts to seal off the work zone should be defined and agreed to in the contract.
9. HVAC ducts in the work zone should be sealed off.
10. New products brought into the garage or other inside environment that are steel or plastic or other non-porous material, should be wiped with disinfectant before unpacking and brought into the home, with as much of the packaging left outside for disposal. Items delivered outside or that are porous, such as lumber, drywall should be unloaded and allowed to sit for 24 hours before use.
11. Bathroom use will be collaboratively decided in advance of work to begin, with the preference being using a dedicated bathroom for Murphy Bros. staff/subs for the duration of the project. a Secondary option is to provide an exterior portable for duration of the project. A third option is shared bathroom with homeowner. In either case, following hand-washing and surface disinfectant protocols per CDC is required. Leaving the premises to use convenience restrooms is not acceptable.
12. Project managers will visit their job sites when necessary to assess proper materials are being used, safety procedures are being followed and quality is at our high standards.
13. If homeowners or Murphy Bros. work crew become ill or symptomatic, they must let workers on site know immediately and notify their project manager by phone. Work will cease on that job site for that day while decontamination steps are taken and schedules are reassessed.
Updated MN “critical businesses” Industry List
CONSTRUCTION AND CRITICAL TRADES
- Workers supporting construction of all kind
- Workers in the skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC and elevator technicians…and,
- Workers supporting major appliance, sales, service, and parts sales
- REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS
- Workers who facilitate and finance real estate transactions and real estate services, including appraisers and title services:
- NOTE: Financial services necessary to facility transactions are included, too.
RESIDENTIAL / SHELTER FACILITIES AND SERVICES
- Workers performing housing construction related activities to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the nation’s existing housing supply shortage.
- Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing (e.g., allow qualified private third-party inspections in case of government shutdown)
THE ORDER ALSO INCLUDED THESE WORKERS AS ESSENTIAL
- Lawncare and landscaping workers
- Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, and any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response
- Construction material suppliers and workers providing services necessary to maintain construction material sources
- Workers necessary to provide repairs, maintenance, and operations support to residential dwellings
- Workers supporting building code enforcement for all ongoing construction
- Workers who support the supply chain of building materials from production through application/installation, including cabinetry, fixtures, doors, cement, hardware, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, refrigeration, appliance, paint/coatings, and employees who provide services that enable repair materials and equipment for essential function
- Workers in hardware and building materials stores, consumer electronics, technology and appliances retail, and related merchant wholesalers and distributors – with reduced staff to ensure continued operations
- Workers distributing, servicing, repairing, installing residential and commercial HVAC systems, boilers, furnaces and other heating, cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation equipment
- Workers that provide for the maintenance of the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of homes or residences
- Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction of housing (e.g., allow qualified private third-party inspections in case of government shutdown).
- Workers supporting major appliance, sales, service, and parts sales
Innovations & Precautions
Nothing is going to stop us from helping you with your project. But we will definitely have to get a little creative!
So, we have several options for virtual online consulting capability that allow us to share documents and ideas, see your space and engage in many of the initial steps needed for any remodel of any size. All you will need is a laptop, desktop, tablet, phone, and internet access. Oh, and you'll need to actually be in your home at some point, which shouldn't be a problem, right? In the meantime, we are cooperating with the Stay-at-Home executive order by Governor Walz while it is effect and keep moving forward with high tech solutions that make sense. Too keep things moving we are happy to schedule appointments for client meetings at our Chanhassen office and product selections at supplier's showrooms on a "by appointment" basis, for when we think this is over. When we have the green light and can freely associate again, we will be as eager to meet with you as you will likely be to meet with us!
As soon as the Stay-at-Home mandate is over, as our clients prefer, we will also meet them in their homes if all parties agree that safety can be maintained through social distancing, however, with the advent of video-conferencing, more and more meetings will be virtual now and in the future as well.
Now & Then
If you're wondering about a project, want to talk with someone about it and maybe explore costs and timing, or are nervous about how this might work please call us. We are here and ready to talk with you candidly about remodeling. Remember, while the initial "discovery" phase only takes an hour or so, the design phase can take 8-12 weeks, if done properly.
And when normalcy, what ever that looks like, returns, so will the pent up demand for home projects. We suggest using this unique time wisely to explore your project and get to know us before the rush happens. And it will.