DBIA Members Mobilize to Fight COVID-19 Nationwide

“We don’t have time to deal with red tape and bureaucracy.”

Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite, Army Corps of Engineers

The challenges facing our nation as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic are immense.

The Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) reports they have 15-thousand team members now working with states across the nation to build alternate care facilities treating a growing number of people needing medical care. In a briefing with the AEC industry, USACE leaders urged industry to answer the call for help. “We’ve received more than 4,200 responses already. There are 46 staff now reviewing industry submissions,” says Jill Stiglich, SES Director, Contracting, HQUSACE.

Not surprisingly, many DBIA industry partners have been among the first to answer the Corps’ call. In fact, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, most of their projects in the eastern U.S. will be design-build.

Turner began work on a 1,038 space facility at SUNY’s Stony Brook campus on March 30th and is 82% complete. In Illinois, Turner is converting the abandoned Sherman Hospital (coincidentally used in the movie “Contagion”) to accommodate patient overflow.

AECOM is 55% completed on a 1,024 space project begun March 30th to provide alternate care facilities on the SUNY Westbury campus in New York. The project is expected to be completed in just 20 days.

Clark Construction is now working to re-open the shuttered Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island, Illinois to accept 550 highly acute COVID-19 patients.

While these facilities are all unique and being built in university dorms, hotels and arenas, the Corps has created conceptual designs to help guide states and project teams on the needs defined by FEMA and the Health and Human Services Department. Containers will now also be used in pilot projects in Detroit and Baltimore, taking only 8 hours to set up each container space.

According to the Corps, the need for speed is paramount with projects averaging just five days to two weeks to delivery. Flexibility on site is also critical with updates and changes happening daily and even hourly. There are lessons learned with each facility with staffing, contract and supply decisions sometimes changing on site. Mike Shultz, SES, Chief Interagency and International Division, told the industry, “some non-COVID spaces have converted to COVID mid-stream. This is a very fluid situation for contractors and states.”

Teams with the ability to perform or supply items 1, 2 and 3 below are requested to complete the online USACE COVID-19 Capabilities Statement.

  1. “Build-out” or retrofit of existing space (arenas, convention centers, dormitories, hotels, or other facilities) into alternate care facilities
  2. Field Medical Units
  3. Temporary Medical Enclosures

America’s design-build teams are built for this type of work. The collaboration, integration, and innovation needed to deliver success quickly and effectively are inherent in Design-Build Done Right® best practices. Over the decades, design-build had delivered in times of crisis and will continue to do so as we defeat this pandemic.