FRONT LINE: Construction worker grinds through COVID-19 challenges

2020 - Jaime

Meet Jaime Carranza, assistant construction manager of Lennar Homes. As a front line worker, Jaime has a unique perspective of working during this global pandemic.

SJEarthquakes.com: What do you do for work?

Jaime Carranza: “As an assistant construction manager, I am in charge of about 20-40 people. We are currently working on the construction of a 130-unit condominium building.”

SJEQ: What kind of restrictions has COVID-19 put on your job?

JC: “We have a checkpoint before you come to our construction site. We ask things like name, address, people you've come in contact with, travel history, etc. On-site, we require personnel to wear face masks at all times and there is no re-entry. I work with a lot of contractors so we need to be very strict and transparent with the rules. We have postage everywhere about social distancing and have handwash stations as well. If someone doesn’t have a mask, we take their picture and have a talk with them, sometimes even send them home. We take safety precautions very seriously at my work. Other than safety precautions, another restriction is that we don’t allow people to bring microwaves! We used to use all of each other’s microwaves daily, but because everyone touches it, we don’t allow it. We also don’t allow the big Igloo/Gatorade water jugs because of the high contact with the water dispenser. Now, everyone is required to bring their own food and water just to minimize contact with common surfaces.” 

SJEQ: What is your day-to-day look like during these times?

JC: “My day-to-day has changed because we used to have electricians, plumbers, carpenters, etc. all working in one unit. Now, it’s just one by one. On top of that, we stay six feet apart. I do my walkthroughs to make sure everyone is following this guideline. Sometimes I have to send people home if they aren’t following the rules.”

SJEQ: What has been the most challenging aspect of working under these new conditions? 

JC: “We have a person in the office modifying the schedule of our projects. Schedules have been stretched and we can’t get things done in short periods of time anymore. We have to figure out who can come in and get things done in a timely manner because we can't have all workers in the same unit at the same time. Also, our hours are only 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday compared to being able to work till the sun goes down. For example, my current project has a lifespan of 2 and a half years now, so the change in our project timeline has been the biggest challenge for me.”

SJEQ: What have been the positives for you?

JC: “Besides all the challenges, I have more time for quality control now. With the extra time, I can spend more time making sure people are doing their job correctly and following our guidelines. Additionally, everyone is definitely more conscious of what’s going on and they are all compliant with the safety protocols. I used to have employees who kind of brushed off COVID-19, but now they are more willing to cooperate and work together to complete the project. Additionally, I'm just glad my family is safe at home. My daughter is forced to take online courses for college, but it gives me peace of mind knowing she is safe and we are all at home together.”