Modular Building Institute

Discussion Forum

Is the Window Closing, or Just Now Opening?

Original Comment:
Starting to feel anxious that you haven’t landed that big contact for your new COVID -19 special medical unit? Are you worried that the window is closing, and your company might miss out on the biggest opportunity to deliver health care facilities in decades? Let’s hit the pause button and talk for a moment.

It’s possible, even likely that your company will NOT get a contract in the next few weeks as a result of this crisis. With the Corps focus on creating field hospitals out of convention centers and hotels, there is little planning time to construct and deploy anything that looks like a building. We have heard of several members successfully delivering quick space to areas in need. Calgary-based Black Diamond Group says it has received over 100 requests to set up field hospitals in the last two weeks and has been able to move on nearly half of those requests. Others have landed contracts with state or local agencies for quick space needs. Between existing buildings available in the fleet inventory and the makeshift hospitals the Corps is setting up, it’s not likely that “new construction” will play a big role in the short term.

Before COVID-19, the United States received a D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers for our infrastructure. Every four years ASCE issues its infrastructure report card and sadly, the D+ grade did not change from 2013 to the latest 2017 report. We know about the existing affordable housing shortage. And now, we are all painfully aware that our healthcare system needs a major injection of capital to address facility shortages. These needs existed before this crisis and will be there afterwards.

Of course, we want to educate everyone about the full array of modular solutions available. But our goal is to position the modular construction industry for the mid and long term needs that will remain after this crisis is over.

It now seems likely that Congress will pass another COVID relief bill to provide additional assistance for small businesses and the unemployed. What also seems likely is that Congress will soon address larger infrastructure needs as a separate course of action.

With the good news out of New York that the number of cases leveled off in the past few days, we need to realize that the real crisis is about to begin for many other states. In Maryland and Virginia, health experts are projecting the peak to hit in about two weeks, before levelling off.

As such, there is likely to be a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety over the next few weeks as this all unfolds. MBI will continue to promote the overall industry capabilities through our federal, state, provincial, and local contacts as well as through paid press releases and other marketing efforts. And we continue to ask you to be transparent, follow our code of conduct, and to take care of yourself and your employees.

Stay tuned and stay safe.
Started on April 7, 2020 by Tom Hardiman
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