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Homebuilding continues while many other jobs are shut down

Residential construction is considered an essential business.

Homebuilders and remodelers aren’t being closed down by the coronavirus restrictions, but builders say they are trying to keep their workers safe and their projects on track.

“As you know, residential is considered essential infrastructure per the Dallas County order,” said Phil Crone, executive officer with the Dallas Builders Association. “We’ve instructed our members to strictly adhere to social distancing.”

Matt Mitchell of James Andrews Custom Homes said his construction crews are working to halt the spread of infection.

“In most cases crews have less than five people on a site at any given time — partially due to the labor shortage — and they tend to be spread out,” Mitchell said. “Also, crews often have gloves, specialized footwear, long-sleeve shirts, long pants, eye protection and in some jobs masks.

“If they do not feel well, they are always directed to stay home because other safety issues could be compromised,” he said.“I have not heard of any companies completely shutting down, but some have been making adjustments as necessary to keep everybody safe.”

Builder Greg Payne said he’s telling some of his clients that the timelines of their projects may stretch longer.

“We have already felt the effects of shelter in place,” Payne said. “Some of our material delivery companies already have a shortage of drivers.”

Builders anticipate that some services and materials deliveries may be delayed by the pandemic slowdowns.

“We have been informed that there will be some supply chain issues down the road, and we are doing our best to adapt and take action now where we can,” said Tony Visconti of Bella Custom Homes. “We are also giving our clients the discretion on postponing nonessential warranty and punch list work for now, which they seem to be taking.”

Builders and real estate agents say there have been some delays with appraisals.

The big mortgage companies — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are looking at changes to appraisals so to limit direct contact.

So far builders say their job sites are staying busy while many other businesses are idle.

“As far as trades, they are all showing up and wanting to work,” said Carl Anderson of builder Larkspur Capital. "We have ensured that our outside general contractors are taking the necessary recommended precautions for construction sites.

“While it’s imperative that precautions be adhered to at construction sites, I’m glad to see that construction is continuing so that the area’s housing shortage and affordability crisis continues to immediately get addressed.”

Connect with needs and opportunities from Get immediate access to organizations and people in the DFW area that need your help or can provide help during the Coronavirus crisis.

Steve Brown, Real Estate Editor. Steve covers commercial and residential real estate in Dallas-Fort Worth.

stevebrown@dallasnews.com @SteveBrownDMN
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