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Weeks away from completion of a nearly four-year project, the team at the Oklahoma State Capitol had to think quickly to keep the copper roof replacement on track in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The primary goal of this project was to stop deterioration and correct damage to the 103-year-old exterior that affected visitor and occupant safety and building envelope performance, as well as repair and redesign the underground tunnel between the Capitol and east parking lot. Working to finish up a project as massive as this one – and one that included a COVID-19 case on site – the project team collaborated with the owner to complete the remaining punchlist items at hand, keep a roof replacement on schedule, and maintain best practices to keep the project running safely.

The project site felt the immediate impact of the virus when a legislative staffer tested positive for COVID-19. JE Dunn sent all trade partners and employees home for the remainder of that day, followed by the state closing the Capitol for the rest of the week to be cleaned and sanitized per CDC guidelines. The team immediately implemented remote work for all PMs and office staff, while the superintendents, foremen, and carpenters continued on site with newly implemented safety procedures. “We still had remaining punchlist items for the roof replacement and tunnel work, so we limited the number of people on site,” said Senior Project Manager Rick Fleming. “This allowed us to abide by the new social distancing guidelines while completing the punchlist walks at the end of March.”

With many moving parts finishing at the same time, the team had to stagger some tasks to accommodate schedule changes after the initial COVID-19 interruption. “We couldn’t dismantle the crane for a couple weeks after the punchlist was finalized,” said Fleming. “This delayed the installation of the site retaining walls and landscaping in the area of the tower crane. While the tower crane was being dismantled, our self-perform concrete crews installed a site retaining wall in the northwest quadrant of the capitol, and once the tower crane was removed, we were able to finish up the retaining walls and landscaping work.”

In response to the keeping staff and team members safe on site, JE Dunn also employed a screening process at the Capitol. Onsite personnel worked with JE Dunn’s safety managers and general superintendent to develop the site-specific plan throughout the screening period. The plan utilized the conference trailer and later an outdoor canopy as a screening area where third party screeners would take temperatures and ask those entering a series of questions; if they passed, they would receive a different-colored wristband each good for that day. “To date, the screening process has been successful, with zero persons being identified as potentially ill. The owner, architect, trade partners, JE Dunn employees, and vendors are all following the screening process, as well as continuing to observe social distancing while working,” said Fleming.