Through the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, raSmith is one of many consulting firms that are still in operation while following the necessary precautions to keep its workers safe and healthy. The multi-disciplinary consulting firm is comprised of civil engineers, structural engineers, land surveyors, development managers, landscape architects.
Additionally, the firm's roster of work is considered "essential" in three states, including California, Illinois and Wisconsin. To give other firms an idea of what it is like to be operational during the pandemic, we caught up with raSmith to get some answers for a few of our questions:
About how many projects do you currently have in process?
raSmith currently has 275 land surveying, LiDAR and UAS projects in various stages of completion.
At what stages of work are those projects? Close to being completed?
Approximately 200 projects are nearly complete, 25 are just starting and 50 have been completed in the field and are ready to be drafted in the office. We have six project managers operating full time remotely, allowing us to maintain this typical project workload.
How has the atmosphere changed on your job site? Is it business as usual? Or are people taking more precautions, such as gloves and masks to avoid close contact?
At raSmith, the health and safety of all of our surveyors is of the utmost importance, and we are taking all necessary precautions to keep them safe and healthy. Our surveyors are practicing social distancing to the greatest extent possible. All surveyors are driving in separate work vehicles to job sites. We have divided our crews and have them working as far apart as possible. We are maximizing our use of one-person crews whenever possible. All communication is limited to phone or has been rescheduled to limit the number of staff meeting with project managers.
Once these projects are finished, is there any worry that there won’t be any new business? Why or why not?
We have noticed some projects, mostly in the private sector, are being delayed or put on hold for an unknown duration. While we have some concerns, not unlike others in the A/E/C industry, it helps that our client base is equally diversified between the public and private sectors. Many of our public sector clients such as the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and others are continuing to move ahead with critical infrastructure projects. We are confident that once the current situation is behind us, surveying firms such as ours will continue to thrive and grow.
How would you recommend other surveyors continue to work during this time? Should they be looking to use their professional skills to break into more construction work?
Surveyors will be able to continue working during this time depending on the diversification of their public and private sector work, as well as their ability to find unique opportunities that best match their current skill sets.
Is your surveying firm still operational during the pandemic? Reach out to POB editor Emell Derra Adolphus to share your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.