Construction in Miami: Shaken Up But Not Shut Down by the Coronavirus – PART I

Patrick BarthetCovid-19 Coronavirus, Work Stoppages and Terminations

Stores may be closed and many folks stuck in their homes for the foreseeable future as a result of the COVID-19 Coronavirus but the business of construction rolls on.  We reached out to some of our construction clients to find out how they were coping with the virus and the regulatory orders being issued daily.

Josh Aberman, Executive Vice President of Lehman Pipe and Plumbing Supply, a 73 year old Miami company selling pipe valves and fittings said: “As of now the virus has not affected our work schedule but starting this week we will no longer be allowing customers or vendors into our facility.”  The family owned wholesaler will initiate curbside pick up for customers and may begin to limit work schedules to offset a reduction in sales revenues. “We have already started to see supply chain disruptions with limited production out of factories in New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois.”

Joe Dudley, Vice President of Sales and Operations of Florida Silica Sand Company, now FSS Company, established in 1948 with 5 locations in Florida supplying bricks, pavers, sand, clay, and abrasive materials, told us they “have had little interruption to our business other than protocols setup for social distancing”.  But he was quick to add “We expect this to change dramatically in the near future.” Like others we have connected with, Joe thinks it is inevitable that they’ll have to implement reduced hours for staff – anything to avoid laying anyone of their team off for as long as they can.

Omar Armenteros, land surveyor and President of Ford Armenteros & Fernandez, Miami service provider to several large developers, has seen a slow down in activity over the last couple of weeks. He told us via email that “the nation’s largest home builder has put an unprecedented hold on all due diligence work that was already in the pipeline.” He notes that another negative impact on his business and some existing projects is FEMA’s proposal to raise the base flood elevation.  “This will surely slow down projects as development costs increase” Armenteros said. “This virus will leave a scar that will take time to heal – a perfect storm.”