By David Fleet
Joe Harrison is ready to be busy again.
“It all starts when people are out mowing their lawns for the first time and they find house shingles in the grass,” said Harrison, owner of Alpine Roofing Complete, Inc., Ortonville. “So, right now is not our peak season, but it’s coming very soon.”
Alpine is one of hundreds of residential and commercial construction companies that resumed work on May 7, following an eight week shut down due to the coronavirus. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order in March to halt construction projects in an effort to halt the spread of the virus, idling thousands statewide.
“A major concern right now is financial for our customers—a lot of people need repairs and they are not working,” said Harrison.
“We’ll provide easy financing to get that roof repaired. Also, people can stay at home, we’ll stop over and provide an estimate chat via email. There’s no meeting face-to-face. Next year the economy will be better, we are ready to get back to work.”
Kevin Koehler, president of the Construction Association of Michigan represents more than 2,500 commercial and industrial contractors, responded to the opening of the construction trade in Michigan during an interview with The Citizen.
“It’s great news,” said Koehler. “We emphasize a safety protocol every day, so we are prepared to go back to work keeping the men and women safe. During the spring from the end of February through April, we ramp up our construction jobs statewide. However, due to the shut-down major projects in Michigan are now on hold for financial reasons.”
For example, Michigan Medicine, the academic medical arm of the University of Michigan, plans to build a new $920-million, 12-story hospital on its Ann Arbor medical campus is now on hold due to the shutdown, said Koehler.
“The University of Michigan medical project may now be pushed back until 2021 due to the shutdown,” he said. “The trickle down effect of the shut-down from municipalities to schools to hospitals are going to tug on real life purse stings for years to come.”