Pandemic

Despite Widespread Pandemic Impacts, Civil Contractors Remain Optimistic

The Civil Quarterly’s recent findings show impacts are manageable, explores emerging strategies to cope

While the vast majority of civil contractors (73%) are experiencing delays with their projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contractors are still seeing high levels of backlog and remain relatively optimistic about the state of the civil construction market, according to new data from Dodge Data & Analytics. The second volume of The Civil Quarterly (TCQ) also found delays were reported on approximately one fifth of current projects with little change expected among these contractors over the next six months.

As expected, an overwhelming majority of the contractors surveyed (92%) reported that their business has experienced at least some impacts from COVID-19, but these effects were not uniform. The most frequent impacts identified were increased worker health and safety concerns (44%) and fewer projects starting construction (42%). Notably, while most of the contractors surveyed (76%) have changed work procedures to increase social distancing, and half (50%) have encouraged their office staff to work remotely, only 10% have had to furlough or lay off employees or adjust their salaries in response to the pandemic.

The Civil Quarterly is the result of a partnership with Founding partner Infotech, Platinum partner Hexagon and Gold partners Command Alkon and Digital Construction Works, and is based on original research collected quarterly from civil contractors and engineers. The research provides a snapshot of the current business health of contractors operating in this dynamic environment and explores trends in the industry impacting contractors. This quarter, the study took a deeper look at the impacts of COVID-19 and explored emerging strategies to address the need for social distancing.

The second volume of TCQ also found contractors are still quite optimistic about the state of their industry and their businesses, even though there are some

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Tulsa home remodeling company hiring crew members amid pandemic

TULSA, Okla. — Unemployment in Oklahoma decreases each week, but about 80,000 people are still without a job.

2 Works for You is highlighting a company that started small 42 years ago doing siding and windows. Now, as demand grew due to the coronavirus pandemic, business is booming.

Burnett Home Improvement said they used to make a few hundred thousand dollars a year, but hit company records this summer. Last month, they made nearly $700,000. They said the increase is because people are at home, restless, with no places to vacation.

So they’ve seen people spending extra funds on remodeling their home.

Vice President Shawn Donahue has been with the company for almost two years and wants to encourage people to apply. Their faith-based company prides itself on treatment and fairness.

Burnett Home Improvement employee Vasilik Napelenok said, “Most of the people are Christian here, so I think that’s really what matters to me. I know these people are not going to lie, they are going to be honest… that’s one of the best things about working here.”

Donahue’s main job is to make sure the company’s crew members stay happy because they wouldn’t have the business or reputation they have today without them.

“If anybody is willing to learn, we are always willing to give them a shot. We always want to do our best by people, we want to give everyone the opportunity to succeed, whether that be here, or somewhere else,” Donahue said.

Donahue said anybody looking for work should apply.

To apply, call this number (918) 215-8897, or go to their website for more information.

CLICK HERE to find out “Who’s Hiring in Green Country?”

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Is Home Depot a Safe Bet During the Pandemic?

With fiscal second-quarter sales growth of 23.4%, it’s safe to say Home Depot (NYSE: HD) has performed quite well during the coronavirus pandemic. As an essential business, the home improvement behemoth was able to keep its doors open to serve the needs of millions of shoppers.

Its stock price has risen 30% so far this year, driven by impressive results from the do-it-yourself (DIY) segment. But for Home Depot to position itself for long-term success, its Pro business is the key.

Pandemic-fueled growth

From fiscal 2009 through fiscal 2019, Home Depot’s sales increased at a compound annual rate of 5.2%. The company has largely left its store growth unchanged with less than 50 net additions in that 10-year period, but management introduced initiatives like the One Home Depot strategy to boost efficiency within its existing store network. The company has reported positive comparable-sales growth for 10 years running.

Then, the coronavirus pandemic took hold earlier this year, closing down large swathes of the U.S. economy and at the same time creating an advantageous environment for Home Depot. With Americans stuck inside their homes, many chose to prioritize home improvement projects over other leisure and entertainment spending that has not been available in 2020.

coronavirus headlines sitting on top of 100 dollar bills

Image source: Getty Images.

In the quarter ended Aug. 2, the company generated record-breaking sales of $38.1 billion. Supported by government stimulus measures, including deposits of $1,200 made to most Americans’ bank accounts, Home Depot’s DIY segment outpaced its Pro segment in the quarter. The money not spent on dining out and travel instead went toward fixing up the home.

Professional customers

The success with the DIY customer is promising for Home Depot, but its future relies on the Pro segment. In 2017, the company began a multiyear, $11 billion program to bolster its digital offerings and

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Cragun’s Resort $20 Million Renovation Continues During Pandemic

BRAINERD, Minn., Oct. 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Eric Peterson, General Manager of Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, MN, is one of the most positive people you’ll meet. Give him lemons and he’ll gladly take them and say “Thanks – Free Lemons”! Which is exactly the positive attitude Peterson and Cragun’s have taken during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

This coming winter marks the half-way point of Cragun’s $20 million-dollar resort expansion and improvement project. In late 2015, Cragun’s embarked on an aggressive plan to remodel, replace and add new amenities and lodging to ensure the resort’s continued success. When the pandemic started to slow things down in March, Peterson took the opportunity to ramp up construction in several areas of the resort. This enabled Cragun’s to keep people employed and make significant progress in the improvement plan.

“Over the years, Cragun’s guests have told us how much they appreciate our family friendly atmosphere and the true “up north” experience they receive at the resort,” said Peterson. “We put a plan together that would update Cragun’s public areas, provide more new, larger and improved cabins and upgrade the facilities in our lodge rooms while maintaining the feel our guests love. All of the improvements are designed to fit well with the features that Cragun’s guests enjoy like our mile of sandy beaches, championship golf courses, full-service marina, snowmobiling, ice skating and dining options.”

Cragun’s improvements include the following:

  • Public Areas – The Lobby and Lobby Gift Shop were updated to include improved lighting, an expanded gift selection, plus the addition of an interactive television with information on the resort. The lake level Marina received new floors, walls, displays, new bait tank and two new bathrooms. A new signage program was started to aid guests in finding their way around the resort.
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Pandemic boosts sales of luxury homes in resort communities

Wealthy Americans are snapping up multimillion-dollar homes in exclusive resort communities as the coronavirus pandemic continues to fuel a work-from-home lifestyle that no longer tethers workers to the office five days a week. 

Sales of expensive homes in places like Aspen, Colorado; the Hamptons; and Palm Beach, Florida have been booming since May, when it became clear the pandemic would upend Americans’ lifestyles indefinitely, according to real estate agents and appraisers across the country. 

“We are seeing greater sales gains in more expensive properties in areas people consider to be retirement destinations and resorts,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a trade association representing real estate professionals. “I think this new economy and working from home can also mean working from a vacation home — that is, a larger size home with more elbow room that is in more of a vacation destination.”

For July, home sales in resort regions across the country were up nearly 29% compared to last year, according to NAR’s data. 

Indeed, the COVID-induced remote work phenomenon is fueling much of the uptick in high-end property sales in vacation destinations, according to New York City real estate appraiser Jonathan Miller of Miller Samuel.

In Aspen, there’s been what Miller called an “unusual surge” in home sales above $5 million in recent months.

Last month, nine new sales contracts were signed for homes between $10 million and $20 million in the upscale ski town, versus one in September last year, according to Douglas Elliman’s report of signed residential contracts authored by Miller.

“Inventory is flying off the shelf,” he said of the 800% increase in signed contracts for Aspen homes. 

Sales are rising in other high end communities as well. In Palm Beach County in September, ninety new contracts were signed

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