Post off topic threads here.
#77784 by Neil Blanchard
Mon Mar 30, 2020 3:16 pm
Folks, how are you dealing with COVID-19? Are you in a mandatory / voluntary shelter in place? Are you able to work? Do you, or anybody you know have the virus?

How do you think things will work from now until / if we can prevent people from getting this virus? It certainly seems like this will have a long lasting and strong effect on the world's economy.
#77794 by MtnArch
Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:56 am
We're all working from the office - our County has determined that Architectural Services are an essential service; our cubicles are spaced apart for social distancing, lots of hand washing, no congregating of more than 2 employees, no public allowed, and using Zoom or GoToMeeting with clients.

The hardest part we are experiencing so far is those building dept/planning dept/fire dept/etc. contacts that were difficult to speak with or get responses from are now impossible to get responses from.
#77795 by Neil Blanchard
Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:09 am
We are a small office - Mike is going into the office, and the rest of us are working from home. We have access to the server, and are uploading files at the end of each work day.

My spouse is also working at home, so we are getting a lot of time together as a family. My son works at UPS, and they had the first 4 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection 2 days ago. One of those people is in the ICU. Unfortunately, the management is still treating people in an adversarial manner - this is very disappointing; given that we need to be cooperating and assisting each other.
#77797 by David Porter
Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:27 pm
I am in my office working but as a one-man firm, no one to contaminate except me. No one else in the building, either. The silence is golden and scary all at the same time. My phone rings maybe twice a day and it's either a wrong number or a telemarketer. Architects in my county are considered "essential" because the local contractors group convinced the county to allow construction to continue and further convinced the county that therefore they needed to get in touch with architects for questions. My county only yesterday set up its first testing site and that is expected to show the infection rate is much worse than thought and to require a mandatory shelter-in-place order.

The first person from the island of Palm Beach died from the virus last week. A year ago, she was my client for a condo reno. She was Carole Brookins and was formerly the Exec Director of The World Bank. She recently returned from Paris where she used to spend a lot of time and had a flat there. She was 76. Having someone you know die from the virus hits home that this thing is real and scary.

I am getting more drawings done over the past few weeks than maybe ever in my 38 year + career. It is exhausting but happy I am still busy and backed up.

A few predictions I have thought about after life returns to normal:
1. There will be less need for office space and buildings because lots of companies will realize they can operate just fine with people working from home.
2. Airlines and hotels will see less people because those who used to fly around for business all of the time now realize that they can have virtual meetings from their kitchen table and get even more accomplished than with all of the expensive, time-consuming travel.
3. More building departments around the country will finally go digital with their plan submittals and reviews so that they don't have to close up shop if they have to shut the doors because of some disaster.
4. Services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and other digital storage companies will see a giant uptick in their stock and storage capabilities due to more remote work to be done in the future.
#77823 by Ted B
Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:38 pm
Construction here in Glorious People's Republic of NJ has fallen in a gray-zone, so some work is still ongoing, but the local building departments are a choke-point depending on the municipality so-far. Approvals are at a near stop since Zoning and Planning Boards aren't meeting, and some government workers are working from home...or their offices are closed to the public.

I haven't been out of the house and past the mailbox in nearly three weeks now. I work normally from home anyways, but I have my 90+ yo Father here with, so my sister has embargoed both of us indoors for the duration. We're out in the country some away from other folks, and she's done some of the needed shopping in the interim. Fortunately I stocked-up the pantry and deep-freezer in early-March so I'm still ok other than some "beverages".

My primary client and I transfer documents via .PDF and e-mail so some projects are still proceeding, but if they'll get regulatory approvals in a timely-manner greatly concerns me. His executive and sales staff are working from home, but I have unvoiced concerns for his longterm survival if construction --and the economy-- doesn't get a solid restart soon. If he goes-under he may-well drag me under with him.

My other clients are at a dead stop, so there's pecious little in my pipeline. I have grave doubts that anything we've discussed will actually get started...
#77824 by Joe Krawiec
Mon Apr 06, 2020 8:19 am
Another view from NJ. I'm not certain where Ted is located, but I am in the 'jersey shore' area of the state - about 10 miles from the ocean. Ted is dead on regarding the municipalities - it is a gift when anything gets through the process.

I have worked out of my house for years, so this isn't a change. Of course having my wife also work here has been a bit of an adjustment, but it has worked out very well. We don't go out except to shop for food and intermittent walks/bicycle rides. No one in my immediate circle of friends/family has been affected (although there are LOTS of cased around. Extending my circle to include acquaintances and friends of friends I know of 5 people that were infected and two of them passed. I understand the survivors have said that it is 'very bad'.

My wife hasn't yet been laid off, so that is good (and might happen in another month). I have a few small projects that will keep me working for another week of so. I haven't heard from any new clients in a couple of weeks, so after that ...

For those of you that may not know, the 2T relief bill that was approved by the fed will provide unemployment benefits to the self employed. I imagine you would have to apply to your local unemployment office.

Be safe!
#77859 by Robert Scott
Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:02 pm
Full Lockdown here in the Peoples Republic of Michigan :) With at-risk parents and friends my wife and I were practicing and preaching social distancing long before it was mandatory....common-sense rules. We are on mandated SIP until May 1 which was politically negotiated in our state. I fully expect this to be extended through June 1 to keep the crowds down over Memorial Day.

With the highest percentage being Flint/Detroit areas the remainder of the state is getting very restless as the weather improves. Builders, landscapers and greenhouse plant growers I'm sure will go into rebellion soon.

My work still strong since I'm virtual staff for James Goodman who was light years ahead of the curve when it comes to using tools to work remotely.

When will all this end? My prediction: When the economic hardship becomes greater than the risk from the virus. The longer this goes on the more risk American's will be willing to absorb. Really no different than driving 70 mph on the freeway or living in a hurricane/earthquake/tornado zone. Life is all about managing risk.

Stay smart and safe,

#77860 by Ted B
Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:34 pm
Recent diktat from Governor Glorious People's Republic New Jersey has closed most construction except for "emergency repairs" and some single-family work. Now they're trying to choke-off the stay-at-home DIYers by closing-off the Home Depots and such. I think the residental landscapers are SOL...

Meanwhile they're dying-like-flies in North Jersey and metro NY.
Unless they allow the rural counties here in South Jersey to re-start it could be all Summer here in NJ.

[ very concerned for my cash-flow... ]
#77862 by John Daglish
Sat Apr 11, 2020 9:23 am
OT a little

Some advice from an economist

And another... keep your money for food (for living), dont pay the rent or the mortage, make the banks scream and the Fed will print the money.

For those inclined an analysis of why the Fed (and any central bank) has this capacity:
Debt Inequality and Crisis ...
#77868 by Neil Blanchard
Tue Apr 14, 2020 8:39 am
I am continuing to work from home, and the practice is making things better. Key things for me, were adding a second monitor (snagging it back from my son); and figuring out Snapshot in Adobe Reader - it used to be easier to select a box and then print just that box. Now, you have to select the Snapshot tool in the Edit menu ...

I had to replace the motherboard (and therefore the CPU and RAM, too) in my computer. It was about 5 years old, and I had two crash / shutdowns a couple of months ago, and we thought / hoped it was the power supply; so we replaced it. But, last week, I had another while working, so I bit the bullet and went to MicroCenter to buy them. The installation went amazingly easy - Windows 10 did not even require reactivation.

And driving in to Cambridge MA on Route 2 - at about 5pm on a Friday - was essentially traffic-free. Surreal and eerie, to say the least.
#77945 by Joe Krawiec
Sun Apr 26, 2020 7:37 am
Just so you don't feel alone - I'm in the same shape - no work. Regardless, I still get phone calls from people that are thinking of getting things started. I suppose my situation is a little different as I work for a number of different people.

Just in case you don't know -- If you haven't received the $1200 check, you can go to this web page and see the status. Mine was held up because I needed to add in my bank account information. Have you filed for unemployment? If you have no work, you will be eligible. My claim has been approved - in the amount of $0 per week!!! They then said that they are trying to figure out what to do with the self employed - and they'll get back to me. Who knows. You can also apply for the PPP loan (through a bank) and EIDL loan (through the SBA). With the latest influx of money, it seems that they will be accepting applications beginning on Monday (tomorrow). This is a first come/first served type of situation. So you do need to get in line. I guess you know what I am doing tomorrow.

The quote I always remember from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are the words "DON'T PANIC"

Hand in there.

#77950 by Ted B
Sun Apr 26, 2020 2:02 pm
Oh, I'm financially-sound in the short-run.

It just upsetting to see what looked like an excellent year-or-three 8-weeks-ago ground to rubble. And I've got a lot of money and my calendar committed with that one firm. If they can re-start I can work from home as in-the-past and I physically can go several months between visiting their offices...or the very occasional site visit if there's a problem. But they need consumer confidence to return for them to pick-up more work. And it needs to be safe for their crews to work on-and-in people's homes.

What's disheartening is here in New Jersey we're so tied to the fortunes of New York and New York City. Gov. Murphy is bound to follow the lead of Cuomo and deBlasio since North Jersey is so-entangled with metro NY...and Cuomo says it will be June at-least before they have a plan to re-start metro NY. Here in NJ, county and local governments are basically closed so we can't get approvals, permits ...or inspections. It will be months before the local Zoning and Planning Boards reconvene and clear the backlogs.

My greater concern is I'm here alone with my elderly father and I dare-not go past the mail-box. If I were living by myself I might feel more emboldened, but I'm responsible for two lives.

[ Sorry, whinging...]
#77956 by David Porter
Mon Apr 27, 2020 12:12 pm
I can provide an update from south Florida land, home of the alligator and hurricanes (and a pelting of hail we had for 30 minutes yesterday). As a one man firm, established in my neck of the swamp for the past 32 years, I have fortunately never been slow with work. For the past several years, I have had months worth of backlog. Since the start of our worldwide slowdown around the middle of March, with no meetings, very few calls and emails, I have worked through months worth of backed up projects (now we'll see if I get paid). I used to get 3 calls a week inquiring about new projects. That has dwindled to maybe one call a week and the project inquiries usually don't have close to the necessary construction budget so they don't become future projects. As of this week, I will have wrapped up the last project on my table. I haven't been in this position for literally decades. I know things will come back but I fear it may take the rest of 2020 and into 2021 to do so. That is the hopeful me thinking that.

I have forewarned the contractors I work with to beware of their own slowdown in 3 to 6 months when they complete their current projects because if the architects are not producing drawings for new projects, the contractors won't have anything to build.

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