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As a large campus that processes and delivers Toyota vehicles to more than 175 dealerships in the United States, the Southeast Toyota Distributors project team in Commerce, Georgia faced unique circumstances when the COVID-19 pandemic began affecting cities and construction in the US. Fortunately, this design-build project had a planned completion of May 2020, minimally impacting material deliveries and construction schedule. The challenge, however, was developing an action plan to keep workers safe across a site including nearly 200 acres of new buildings and site development.

“We’ve been very diligent with implementing the protocols and guidelines that have been issued by JE Dunn,” said Group Manager Brent Strength. “One of the most beneficial processes we’ve implemented was a single access point for the site with a new secured gate.” On a project this expansive, it was imperative to minimize multiple designed entry points down to one. Establishing one single entry point ensured each worker and person entering the jobsite was being properly screened and oriented for social-distancing protocols, wearing a face cover, and other evolving COVID-19 best practices.

From the onset of COVID-19 impacts, JE Dunn connected with its client’s task force to ensure the team was in sync to manage expectations. “We provided our teams with very detailed guidelines and information helpful to establishing a project-specific plan. We then distributed it to our client to ensure they were very clear on our management plan,” said Strength. Included in the project team’s management plan were daily huddles outdoors that included safe distancing with job site workers. With uncertainties, changes, and daily updates regarding the virus, these daily huddles were created to reinforce the expectations on site and discuss any latest changes to the policies that would require implementation. “It has been important for us to align on best practices and make sure we are implementing one consistent set of requirements across all workers on site,” said Strength. “I think the constant flow of information was critical to ensuring a comfort level that JE Dunn could actively manage the challenges.”

In addition, the project team communicated regularly with the client, delivering weekly updates to ensure all parties were on the same page, especially with a project in the home stretch of its completion. “Throughout the pandemic response, JE Dunn effectively communicated the who, what, where, and when location as well as the remediation plan to Southeast Toyota,” said Chris Tripp, regional director of facilities for JM Family Enterprises. “Once the plan was activated, we felt safe at the work site. The guidance JE Dunn provided allowed us to keep the site open and safe and kept the project on schedule during an incredibly challenging time.”

From a speedy response to COVID-19 and an efficient flow of communication, the project team was able to maintain the project schedule and is on track to complete the entire project by June 30.