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Plan, Execute and Communicate: Dalton’s Approach to Managing the Impact of COVID-19

The impacts of COVID-19 on the construction industry are far-reaching and well-documented thanks to publications such as the Summer 2020 edition of Construction Economist. From shuddered project sites, to loss of productivity, to rewriting health and safety guidelines, the current global pandemic has posed significant challenges to builders, consultants and trades alike.

Since COVID-19 emerged as a health crisis in Ontario, The Dalton Company has been closely monitoring the changing laws and guidelines imposed by various levels of government. With seven projects currently in construction and several more coming down the pipeline, we continue to deliver our Alternative Approach to Building to our clients. Here’s how we’ve done it.

In the weeks leading up to the declaration of emergency in Ontario on March 17, Dalton maintained regular contact with industry groups and closely monitored communications from all levels of government. We quickly created and implemented a business continuity plan that allowed us to continue our day-to-day operations. This involved office and site-specific protection measures for Dalton employees, trade contractors and suppliers to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. This plan was shared with everyone involved in active Dalton projects.

We also developed, posted and shared a COVID-19 Project Site Protection Policy to all team members that detailed the protection measures we have implemented.

On March 23, The Province of Ontario ordered the temporary closure of all non-essential workplaces due to COVID-19, which encompassed all but one Dalton project site. To make sure proper steps were taken to close down our sites safely and efficiently, Dalton established a COVID Transition Team composed of senior team management. We implemented several measures to mitigate the costs associated with the temporarily closed project sites from affecting our clients.

After the lockdown was lifted in May, we developed a detailed return-to-work plan and worked closely with our clients and project teams to get back to building as quickly as possible. Thanks to the coordination and planning undertaken by Dalton’s COVID Transition Team, we quickly mobilized resources back to the project sites and ramped up construction once again.

Here’s a member of the Badminton and Racquet Club of Toronto project team back working on site shortly after the lockdown was lifted:

Reinstating and enforcing our COVID-19 Project Site Protection Policy to prevent the spread of the virus on projects was of course a key component of our return-to-work plan. Our site managers and third-party health & safety inspector continue to work diligently to enforce this policy by enforcing the use of PPE and sanitization best practices.

Here's Dalton site manager working with a trade contractor last month at our Oratory of St. Philip Neri project:

We are currently working with our clients and network or trades and consultants to better understand the current business challenges they are facing due to COVID-19 and the ways Dalton can support them.

It has been a long, difficult journey since the lockdown in March, but, with proactive planning, swift execution and vigorous communication, Dalton aims to come out even stronger.


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