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COVID-19 Lay-off Thread

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threeohdoor

Hello!

With the apocalypse upon us, I propose a thread to discuss lay-offs (numbers, experiences, trends, etc). The other COVID thread has gone to seed (politically) and honestly, we might need a space to vent.

Yours truly got the ax yesterday as well as everyone save principals. We worked a lot in restaurants, retails, etc - the sort of projects that are dead on arrival now. Sucks. And now the NYS Unemployment site keeps crashing. Double sucks. 

So I'm going to crack open a beverage and give everyone a digital cheers!

Stay safe and stay healthy.

 
Mar 20, 20 1:54 pm
Non Sequitur

Damn, sorry to hear that.  Figured there would be more time before this falls apart.  We have a few repeat commercial clients as well but most projects are in full CA mode and we've dusted off some other shelved projects to tie-us over while the dust settles.  Still a few more weeks at least until we know more.

Cheers and good luck.

Mar 20, 20 1:59 pm  · 
 · 
threeohdoor

Thanks and best of luck to you too. For your jobs still open, have the subs been able to source material?

 · 
Non Sequitur

Good question. I do not know. I'm pretty sure the materials in my biggest CAD job are already ordered but I'm sure labour must be getting thin. Something I'll keep an eye out for sure.

 · 

Some contractors are using it as an excuse t get the cheapest non matching crap approved claiming "there is nothing else, supply chain disruptions" this makes submittal reviews a lot harder as we have to call factories and discover that they are open and ready to ship.

 · 
liberty bell

Thanks for starting this thread, threeohdoor, and I’m sorry to hear your news.

In 2008 I very much relied on Archinect to keep me sane and aware of what was happening in our field, so I would love to see this thread stay serious and helpful.

Mar 20, 20 2:25 pm  · 
 · 

Sorry to hear threeohdoor, I figured we'd have a little more time before the layoffs started happening. I haven't heard of anything in my office getting put on hold or stopping because of this yet ... but it's hard to hear this information sometimes when there isn't a virtual water cooler, or coffee machine. 

Mar 20, 20 2:59 pm  · 
 · 
citizen

Sorry to hear that, threeohdoor and anyone else affected this way, and so quickly.  Best of luck to you, and all of us.

Mar 20, 20 7:28 pm  · 
 · 
cdesigngroup

Hi all,

New to archinect. Great to find such an awesome community!

So my employer laid off our entire architectural staff yesterday (5 architects). I was the only one spared and still employed. Totally in shock and angry with how it all went down.

Whats everyones pulse on how this thing impacts our industry come say July? Things bounce back? Or is this really the time to hang on to any paycheck you can?

I'm stunned to be looking at an incredible arch team that all knows each other and works together well with no employment.....


Mar 21, 20 6:29 am  · 
 · 
wynne1architect@gmail.com

wishful thinking, it will not come back in July this year.

 · 
Nonononotme

Not so much layoff but a similar undertone. I know of people who got admitted to M Arch programs but then got rejected a couple of days later because of security reasons... International students are having it tough hey

Mar 21, 20 8:04 am  · 
 · 
BR.TN

zero chance I believe that

 · 
sp429

Furloughed yesterday. Midsize firm mostly education, residential, corporate interiors in NYC. How you guys doing in NY? 

Mar 21, 20 9:02 am  · 
 · 
curtkram

are all those markets hurting for you, or is there a more narrow sector taking the hit? i wish you the best of luck

 · 
sp429

Thanks. It was b/c of a school client.

 · 
cdesigngroup

My office is NY as well. Outside the city an hour. 

Mar 21, 20 9:10 am  · 
 · 
Dangermouse

NYC here, design build.  Entire fabrication team got furloughed yesterday.  PM's say we're still getting more proposals but i know two of our big projects (developer work in NYC) have been "paused".  My over/under is 1 month or less before design staff starts getting cut.  

Mar 21, 20 11:57 am  · 
 · 
archanonymous

Chicago here... My firm cut a little bit of fat (5%ish of arch staff) already... Worried that it's just the beginning though.

Mar 21, 20 12:47 pm  · 
 · 
CodesareFUN

Chicago here too. Had a reduction of around 10% earlier this year, just had salaries cut 20%. Other firms in city are cutting by same/slightly higher percentage from what I’ve heard, but also some other firms are soldiering on ok.

 · 
CodesareFUN

Reduction of 10% of staff that is. 10% on top of the 20% cut that just happened would really blow.

 · 

The Firm I am at, Milhouse still has open positions and has not slowed down. Mostly engineering and drafting but we have tollway, IDOT maintenance yards and other utility work. Nothing glamorous but very steady work.

 · 
sameolddoctor

20% furlough here in LA ... sucks ass.

Mar 21, 20 12:51 pm  · 
 · 
cdesigngroup

Anyone have a clear answer on if new building construction is considered essential services in NY per yesterday?

The notice from the governor was not particularly clear if all construction could continue or just emergency work...

Mar 21, 20 3:40 pm  · 
 · 
Bench

My understanding is that basically construction sites can still operate, they are not getting a mandatory shut down from the government. I can see the rational - workers are not necessarily in closed and close proximity to each other, they typically wear masks / full PPE so can ensure a certain amount of non direct contact, etc. The building I live in has been getting a masonry facade treatment for about a year now, and those workers are all still on site (they’ve even started working weekends since late February).

 · 
home_alone

As of today only essential construction is now allowed to commence in NYC

 · 
shellarchitect

Production staff cut to 32 hrs per week, 20% pay cut.  Those without billable work are being required to use pto (about half the staff)


Didn't know that was even possible

Mar 21, 20 5:45 pm  · 
 · 
code

how many in your office, and where are you located?

 · 
shellarchitect

Metro detroit, 15 staff and 6 principals or pms, 21 total

 · 
threeohdoor

I don't think that's possible (or legal). That's essentially wage-theft and I'm sure MI has some regulations on it.

 · 
BR.TN

agreed, threeohdoor. can anyone look into this further or does anyone have any further insight?

 · 

The option is take PTO or get laid off and paid the PTO as severance. I think if in that situation I would take PTO stay on the payroll and benefits.

 · 
code

The office i'm at, we are working remote from home - it's much harder and I have to work longer hours to cover as much as possible. I'm on a 6 day schedule now. We are supposed to go back to the office on April 7(bay area counties) but Newsome apparently has issued an overarching more draconian order that threatens the state economy - he needs to be more balanced and reasonable about this before he crashes the states economy

Mar 21, 20 10:19 pm  · 
 · 
flatroof

Really this should answer the "Should I go into Architecture?" question once and for all. When SHTF and the razor margins this profession operates on, firms can't even last one week, let alone a month, of hardship without canning their entire staff. And not like you can just come back to work when this blows over, some projects will just die on the vine for good. 

Mar 22, 20 10:29 am  · 
 · 
threeohdoor

Yea, I'm strongly considered bailing. Since I've been laid, I've seen an immediate rise in the "collect unemployment and get paid under the table" wink-winks. It's trashy (also incredibly illegal). Hearkens back to 2009ish. I predict a lot of "oh shit, I just received a 1099" threads next year. Pathetic industry once you get below a certain firm level.

 · 

This is not the norm, most firms will be OK some make decent money on repeat corporate or government work that is not going to stop all out. But if your firm only does high end restaurants then you are probably in trouble. Diversity of your portfolio of clients is good thing.

 · 
amarchy

Agreed 100%

 · 
OneLostArchitect

just got notice today not to come in on monday... guys this fucking sucks 

Mar 22, 20 10:44 am  · 
 · 
shellarchitect

Agreed, sorry for the news

 · 
threeohdoor

As in no more job, or work from home?

 · 
Non Sequitur

One lost, permanently or just got the time being? You’re in the GTA area right?

 · 
OneLostArchitect

South West Ontario not GTA... permanent lay-off

 · 
Non Sequitur

Thanks for clarifying. Sorry to hear. T’is be the first Canadian example I’ve seen so far.

 · 
Bench

Damn, sorry to hear that OLA. I’ve got a lot of connections to the Golden Horseshoe area, trying to check in the last few days to see how people are doing.

 · 
OneLostArchitect

South West Ontario not GTA... permanent lay-off

Mar 22, 20 11:32 am  · 
 · 
robdmob

b

Mar 22, 20 11:37 am  · 
 · 
archi_dude

The issue is that unlike past recessions that have a slow creep and leaders of companies can take time to react this is a 100% shutdown reaction. Do you burn all your cash in a few weeks to keep employees on staff when things start again or do you save reserves for the ensuing recession. So right now since its unknown, the answer is work with no pay or lay offs. We had to prepare change orders this week since this is actually allowed in the AIA docs for work stoppage due to national emergencies. The burn rate on keeping all staff paid while not producing any billable work is staggering. I question the rationality of making these shutdown decisions based on hysteria to do more than too little. Will the end justify the means? I guess we shall find out.

Mar 22, 20 12:00 pm  · 
 · 
revolutionary poet

very helpful.

 · 
thisisnotmyname

It appears that some of the financial relief proposals being considered in the USA will monetarily assist businesses that agree to retain their employees and not lay them off. I hope this comes to pass in the next 1-2 weeks.

 · 

I really hope so to, thisisnotmyname.

 · 
archi_dude

The belief in the government being able to print enough money to cover all these losses is terrifying to me. We had a debt issue before this....

 · 
thisisnotmyname

I'm expecting some kind of loan program. Architecture firms are too small and don't have the lobbying clout to get the free money.

 · 
liberty bell

There’s an article in the WPost saying there is strong congressional agreement that a small business loan program with very generous repay/forgiveness terms is workable. The logic being that if a ton of people file for unemployment it will cost the same or more than if a ton of people continue to work but get paid by a forgivable loan. Don’t think of it as *adding* to the debt, archi-dude. It’s putting the same amount of debt in a different account, is all.

 · 
SneakyPete

the idea that government debt is a voting issue is terrifying to me

 · 
George Gibson's comment has been hidden

How many days do we have to stay this way for this damn virus?

Mar 22, 20 2:44 pm  · 
 · 
RickB-Astoria

Until 2099.

Seriously.... there maybe a number of weeks to a couple of months or so. China started dealing with this in late December and January to present and it is getting under better control in China but still it is probably some more time. June/July is a fair estimate given it is likely to be until end of April or May before getting to the point of a sort of "all is clear" there. We are a month or two behind them in the epidemic.


 · 
Non Sequitur

George, aren't you a nurse? Should you not be more aware?

 · 
revolutionary poet

fake account.

 · 
revolutionary poet

if i had to, like make a more fake account, this would be my headshot


 · 
archi_dude

I think it will be a direct correlation to how woke your state is.

 · 
code

threeohdoor

Yea, I'm strongly considered bailing. Since I've been laid, I've seen an immediate rise in the "collect unemployment and get paid under the table" wink-winks. It's trashy (also incredibly illegal). Hearkens back to 2009ish. I predict a lot of "oh shit, I just received a 1099" threads next year. Pathetic industry once you get below a certain firm level.

from 10 - 13', I had work 1099 at one firm - It took 5 years to work through 1099 gigs to get a direct job, and now, I'm seeing it happen all over again


Mar 22, 20 7:37 pm  · 
 · 
leonizer

I just got a raise the other day lul sorry guys.

Mar 22, 20 9:44 pm  · 
 · 
OneLostArchitect

Way to rub it in our faces

 · 
sameolddoctor

he got a raise, so they can use that pretext to lay him off. loser.

 · 
leonizer

only losers think that way. loser.

 · 
SneakyPete

troll is bad at trolling

 · 
Mr Almost Architect

I work for Leo A Daly in one of our offices here in the U.S.  The reaction so far was to sent everyone to work from home. As it was mentioned above, if you didn't have work, you have to use PTO, but in our case, we can add 80 hours of "future PTO" in case more is needed. So far I'm happy with their reaction, to my knowledge, no one had gotten laid of yet.

As for my current situation, I have work for atleast another month, but hopefully things are better by then :(.

Mar 22, 20 10:13 pm  · 
 · 
BR.TN

what you're failing to realize is that if you get terminated, you wont get paid out your deserved PTO. your 80 hrs of "future pto" is conversational - it's not on the books.

 · 

That is true, but you stay on the company benefits, and you postpone unemployment benefits which are time limited and not likely to be a 100% income replacement for the average salaries in our profession.

 · 
Volunteer

Have the AIA and NCARB reduced their dues, fees?

Mar 23, 20 8:21 am  · 
 · 
midlander

i heard ncarb was adding a sterilization surcharge for any records accessed this year

 · 
thisisnotmyname

We've had a huge problem with slow paying clients since the middle of last year and so I didn't pay my 2020 AIA dues in January to conserve cash. I got an email last week saying they are giving me until sometime in April to get current.

 · 
Non Sequitur

I think my association moved dues deadline from march to june.

 · 
l3wis

I'm curious if engineers are in similarly precarious situation, or if their jobs are generally more secure?

I'm working on AXP and exams. They waived rescheduling fees for the exams, and a few weeks ago the testing centers have closed down. I would like to see NCARB pause the rolling clock as there is no way to progress on licensure right now.

Mar 23, 20 10:22 am  · 
 · 
Bench

I believe the email stated if anyone's rolling clock is affected they are offering a 90-day grace period addition. But only for those that it directly applies to.

 · 

NCARB's Coronavirus updates page (https://www.ncarb.org/press/2020-coronavirus-update) indicates that all candidates will receive a 90-day rolling clock extension as appropriate. The FAQ clarifies that it will apply to everyone who's rolling clock is ticking, not just those who's would expire during the next 90-days. If you haven't passed an exam, your clock is not ticking.

 · 
LOlivier

I work in a structural engineering office part time, have no sick time and was told not to come in...so no pay...our billing has been slow since December

 · 
midlander

sorry for all those affected already. it's amazing how suddenly change like this happens, and goes to show how useless predictions are about where good jobs will be in x months time.

Mar 23, 20 10:35 am  · 
 · 
BlueMoon

20% salary cut here. 



Mar 23, 20 1:08 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

That sucks man.

 · 
JLC-1

no lay-offs here, but reducing hours by half, which also means salary by half.  construction has slowed down and owners are aware and understanding, vacation homes will be finished when they're finished.

Mar 23, 20 1:13 pm  · 
 · 
Chad Miller

No reduction in hours or layoffs yet.  Partners don't foresee any but still began the federal loan process just in case. 

Mar 23, 20 1:29 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

just out of curiosity, have most of you been working from home since last week or two?  

Mar 23, 20 1:42 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

started WFH today. system went live last thursday. some have been home since last friday, others are still in office today.

 · 
Chad Miller

We're all still in the office except for one team member. The office says we can work from home but they prefer we come into the office because working from home isn't as productive due to distractions. I pointed out it's only less productive because we're not set up to work remotely so our personal computers are slow to use remote desktop. My input was not appreciated.

 · 
tduds

Been WFH since Wednesday. I'm plenty busy on this project but starting to get a little concerned about the lack of projects to jump on next month when this one is no longer a full-time commitment .

 · 
x-jla

Same. Have two that in getting close to finishing up, then looks like slowness beyond that

 · 
leonizer

G onna start WFH tomorow the province where i live legislated all non-essential business shut down.

 · 
shellarchitect

This is my first full week of WFH. I've been pushing for that for awhile and had gotten nowhere. Changed pretty quickly when schools were closed and the chances of the full office showing up to work dropped pretty dramatically.

 · 
shellarchitect

Not sure there is much of a productivity drop-off, but I'd def. prefer to be in the office for social reasons if nothing else.

 · 
Chad Miller

Yeah I don't think productivity would go down as long as I had a computer system and remote access capabilities. Heck my wife works from home year round managing a part of huge company and she's really productive.

 · 
thisisnotmyname

Started WFH one week ago. We have one person staying in the office to keep an eye on the place and get deliveries and mail.

 · 

I've been WFH for two weeks now. Today 3/23 is the start of week 3 for me.

 · 
x-jla

I’m building 2 projects...working from home and on site outdoors half. Told owners to not come on site until were gone. Workers all wearing masks and gloves.

 · 
x-jla

I’m a germaphobe so, been carrying alcohol soaked paper towels in a zip lock in my back pocket.

 · 
shellarchitect

huge pet peeve of mine is when people say that architects can't work from home because our work is "so collaborative" or "so complex." Yet somehow many other industries can do it. I think this will be an eye-opening experience for many of the geezers who have been very resistant up until a week ago.

 · 
tintt

We outsource much of the work to consultants and others anyways. Our work is actually IDEAL for remote work. Been doing it for 8 different firms over almost 5 years. Come join me!

 · 
tintt

Now I'm doing it while running 1st grade and preschool homeschool. Just hire women if the men can't handle it. :)

 · 
x-jla

like after ww2, it’s conceivable that this disaster can be followed by a boom.  Let’s not get too gloomy yet. 



Mar 23, 20 1:44 pm  · 
 · 
bowling_ball

Exactly. I'm not even an optimist, but I believe there's going to have to be a whole bunch of incentives for the healthcare and development/ construction industries to start employing people again once the dust settles.

 · 
OneLostArchitect

My two buddies just got laid off today in the States... this is becoming worse that 2007!

Mar 23, 20 3:11 pm  · 
 · 
Bench

Curious - in the GTA? Or surrounding towns ?

 · 
OneLostArchitect

State of Michigan and New York... and they are both at large companies.

 · 
proto

State of Oregon says construction is an essential service

Design clients seem to be unaware of that though...they seem to have disappeared :(

Hoping you folks laid off or furloughed find some stability and everyone stays Covid-free

Mar 23, 20 4:19 pm  · 
 · 
RickB-Astoria

Construction is an essential service but to an extent. In practice, it is when you are at permit or near permit readiness and construction phase that matters but when you are not even there, people and even small businesses aren't paying for services when they aren't really making money even facing possible closure and maybe eviction from commercial space or apartment they are renting. They are just going to cut costs and wait it out like any recession which we are effectively just entered. How long? I don't know.

 · 
SneakyPete

FTFY.

 · 
shellarchitect

^ took me a minute.... pretty funny

 · 

Oh, Sneaky, LOL.

 · 
RickB-Astoria

Really Sneaky? Really? Ha Ha.... whatever. Anyway, the main issue is a lot of smaller businesses are cash strapped to riding this out so we aren't necessarily that essential until work is already at permit approved/construction phase and even then, we are limited to in the construction stage. I see construction phase stuff still going for a bit. However, that is not so clear cut everywhere. Smaller businesses and most individuals/household clients would likely stop or put project on hold during design and sometimes they would rather do that and resume later especially if the client are among those laid off or otherwise more significantly impacted by the COVID-19 situation.

 · 
SneakyPete

...


 · 

I can't believe I missed this earlier. Sneaky, you win the internet for whatever day you posted these.

 · 
tduds

Can someone write a Chrome extension to do this automatically?

 · 
code

the housing projects in Oakland are still going - as long as they have BMR units(essential service) they can keep building 

Mar 23, 20 9:35 pm  · 
 · 
gwharton

The governor of Washington finally issued a stay-at-home order yesterday. Essential professions are exempted, including construction, engineering, and architecture.

We haven't seen any of our local projects in the Seattle area cancelled yet (instead they are speeding up), but all our outstanding proposals have gone into limbo for who knows how long.

Mar 24, 20 11:12 am  · 
 · 

Great, just what we need ... a bunch of firm owners forcing people to still come into the office because the governor said it was essential. I could see your work being essential if your office does critical infrastructure or healthcare projects, but even on those the majority of people can stay at home to complete that work on the design side.

 · 
Non Sequitur

Our province just closed all non-essential business effective today until april 13th. Construction still open but I don't think any offices are. At least not anymore.

 · 
leonizer

NS my office is still open (in Toronto)

 · 

gwharton, this article doesn't mention architecture as an essential profession. The closest you could get is construction for essential public works.

 · 
gwharton

It's the smaller firms that have been staying open, since most of them never invested anything in creating remote working infrastructure and have no way for their staff to work off-site. The larger firms all sent their staff to WFH weeks ago, about the same time Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia closed their offices.

 · 
Non Sequitur

^ we're not small, by our city's standard size office, but not large enough to have a permanent WFH network but we scrambled at the last minute to get one up and running. Not sure how most are doing but traffic right now is slowing it to a crawl. I guess I'll go clear the dinning room table and mark-up these A0 drawings. Not sure if it's worth doing this tho, how am I going to get the corrections to the right staff? Eugh.

 · 
gwharton

Using Bluebeam Studio to do markups virtually works pretty well. No paper involved, but still fairly fluid and intuitive.

 · 

I LOVE Bluebeam, and our medium-sized firm was able to pretty easily switch to WFH in part because of it and MS Teams.

 · 
gibbost

I have been amazed at how well our mid-size firm has adapted. Our physical office still remains open for anyone that needs to use it (printing, meetings, etc). But nearly everyone is now WFH. Skype, MS Teams, and BlueBeam Studio Session for mark-ups is creating a fairly seamless work flow. I can't speak for the rest of my office, but my remodel/reno projects have all accelerated at owner's request now that the buildings are virtually empty.

 · 
gwharton

Yes. And one downtown tower project I have in shoring and excavation right now is going to have their hole dug 6 weeks faster than scheduled because there is no traffic blocking truck trips anymore.

 · 
joseffischer

I am essential to getting some measurements for a project in CA, but delayed because permitting/inspections shut down, so the contractor isn't on site anymore.... I've gotta go to the site tomorrow for some measurements. The project you ask? Retail/restaurant rehab... yeah, you know those things that are closed due to Covid, but sure, it's really important to know if we've got 7' clear or not

 · 
Chad Miller

To work from home our employer requires that we use our own computers that can run Revit. :(

 · 
gwharton

Wow..... Make sure you write that off on your taxes later.

 · 
Chad Miller

With the standard deduction that Trump implemented I can't.

 · 
drums please, Fab?

You are not required to take the standard deduction. Go ahead and itemize away if it makes you feel better!

 · 
curtkram

is your work paying for both an in-office and at-home revit license?

 · 
archi_dude

You mean the standard deduction that went from 6k to 12k? Not following.

 · 
liberty bell

Chad we are able to remote in, so I’m working ON my office desktop but using/through my home laptop. My home laptop dies not have Revit.

 · 

Trump and the GOP tax cut did away with the unreimbursed employee business expense deduction: https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/filing/adjustments-and-deductions/unreimbursed-employee-expenses/ and https://www.irs.gov/publications/p529

 · 
archi_dude

If you were getting more than 6k in unreimbursed expenses and you didnt quit....

 · 

It was only a piece of the itemized deductions. So no, not 6k in unreimbursed expenses alone, but there were usually a few bones I could add to the pile.

 · 

The larger point is that these tax write offs that some people are claiming you can make don’t exist anymore for employee’s business expenses. Maybe if enough of us call our representatives they’ll add them back in the stimulus bill. Really hard to type that last part with a straight face, lol

 · 
gwharton

Most of those deductions still exist, especially the home business ones. But there is a cap on how many of them you can claim now, depending. Go talk to a tax accountant instead of making random claims about it. Using your home and personal computer for work is not an "unreimbursed business expense."

 · 

Yes, you should talk to a tax professional ... but I'm not the one making random claims. I offer my claims with citations so they aren't random. You could follow suit and maybe we could get somewhere. For using your home for work see my comments in the other thread

Perhaps I assumed too much when Chad mentioned needing a home computer capable of running Revit. I assumed this meant he might be thinking of purchasing one, which if not reimbursed as a business expense from his employer, would have been perfectly placed as an "unreimbursed business expense" prior to the TCJA.

 · 
Michael.Willhoit

Another one bites the dust.. I was a contract-to-hire employee at an office in southeastern PA. The staffing office I was working through still has me on until August, but my current assignment just canned me. 

Not sure if I'll be reassigned or what, but I sure hope I can stay working until I go back to school in September.

Mar 24, 20 5:50 pm  · 
 · 
karenronayne

Ugh, I'm sorry... 

I'm also in southeastern PA and working contract-to-hire at a firm that does multi-family housing. The firm has hired a ton of us lately (I got hired 2 months ago, 1 person got hired a few weeks after me, there are 4 or so who where there before me)... most of us have had our hours/pay cut while the rest of the office who isn't contract-to-hire is still at full time. At this point I'm just waiting for further cuts for us contractors.

 · 

so, a couple of thoughts from the employer's seat:

as someone mentioned, this is quite different from 2007/8/9 in terms of the sheer speed with which everything is moving. what we see being affected in terms of particular markets (and we're not in all of these):

hospitality is on a total hold. restaurants, hotels, all of it. nobody knows what companies will survive let alone how quickly will the whole industry be able to recover. 

state funded projects - if it's in construction, you're good. if it's in design, don't plan on it starting construction. 2021 FY budgets will be brutal. every state's individual constitution requires them to balance budgets and they can't borrow or print money like the federal government. so, long story short, they're about 2/3 of the way through the fiscal year here, revenues are falling off a cliff, and their rainy day fund might get them to the end of the year, but not beyond that. 

anything donor driven - museums, churches, some higher education related projects (some public, mostly private). really, anything that relies on fundraising - the stock market drops and overall volatility is putting most of these projects on a shelf until things recover (very much like 2008). 

spec developer work - a lot depends on the specific project but they're going to be reliant upon the banks continuing to lend. that could be dicey for the next few months, as well as their ability to know what the market will look like as we come out on the other side. 

that's a lot of work in just those 4. throw in skittish corporations who are putting things on hold and really, what's left? federal work? single family for people who don't have to worry about what their stock portfolio looks like? 

for the next 6 months - regardless of how quickly we flatten the curve - no one knows what this economy will look like yet. and if the projects go on hold indefinitely (and with 2008 firmly in mind), i'm not sure how many firms will be able to hold on to their current staff at full pay without being able to bring in enough revenue. 

to be perfectly blunt, it's going to be an ugly, ugly year. firms will want to run leaner, sooner and, hey, if it picks back up, great! in the meantime, expect to be asked to do more as people are inevitably let go. 

hoping for the best for all of us though. 

(and if you think we're going to have it bad, try being in the restaurant industry right now. there will be so many bankruptcies, it's going to boggle the mind). 

Mar 24, 20 9:47 pm  · 
 · 
curtkram

Why are state projects going to fall apart?   Loss of tax revenue?

I don't think banks are drying up.  If a developer can fill leases, I think they can get money.  Construction is going in most states, but it sounds like labor is getting a lot more scarce, which was already a problem.  I certainly could be very wrong about all of that, but it's what my little piece of the world looks like.

the next few months will definitely be unstable and filled with uncertainty.  however, whatever stimulus bill might have real help, and  we're at a place where a lot of people are still working; it just looks different.  my time is billable, and my client's projects are moving forward.  i'm pretty sure my neighbor is doing the same.  "The economy" doesn't care if I work from office or home (I think).  FWIW, my office is hiring, but mostly for healthcare

Best thing I think we can do is order delivery or curb-side pickup from a restaurant that would normally have wait staff.  They're taking loans to cover how ever long this will last.  I imagine it will be hard for them to ramp back up when things turn around. 

Mar 24, 20 10:37 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

So...wouldn’t it be better, from an employer perspective, to hit this thing fast and hard. National 30 day shutdown then it’s over, rather than half ass prolonged shutdowns that will likely drag this out for several months.

 · 
x-jla

Most companies could more easily handle a 30 day total freeze over a 18 month partial painful slooow down.

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curtkram

there is a fair chance there will be waves, where we go back to doing stuff, then someone starts spreading it again and we have to shut down again, rinse, repeat.

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gwharton

A 30 day total shutdown probably wouldn't work. And curt's right that until there is a reliable treatment regimen and vaccine, this is going to keep springing up in waves until enough people get it that we have herd immunity.

 · 

@curtkram - yes. loss of revenues. 

the question of developer work is, as mentioned, on a project by project basis. if your leasing strategy was for a hotel, you're not going forward. if it's for a majority retail, it could be iffy. 

overall, i'm not sure if a 30 day "shutdown" is as simple as we all take a break and then it's back to 100% again. there will be a lot of businesses hurt enormously by a 30 day shutdown. 


 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

WOW! @gwharton and I agree on something?! Color me purple!

 · 
gwharton

Not so fast, b3ta! I'm sure we can find a way to turn this into a bitter disagreement as well if we try!

 · 
SneakyPete

You know what's cool? How medicine can facilitate herd immunity with vaccines. It doesn't even take 60% of the populace catching it! But this will require us not overwhelming the system charged with creating and administering it. So don't go swimming in the Senate pool just yet.

 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

@gwharton, I'm sure if we work, at a minimal pace, we can MAGA - Make Archinect Great Again.

 · 
gwharton

We will have the greatest threads on Archinect. Believe me!

 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Bigly!

 · 
SneakyPete

*plays invisible accordion*

1  · 
code

One major firm(HMA) in SF has ordered 25% paycuts for an indef. time

Mar 25, 20 12:35 pm  · 
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SneakyPete

Heller Manus? I know some folks who work there. Hope they're ok.

 · 
BR.TN

well SneakyPete, they're not okay - 25% pay cut in any of the Top 5 major US cities gives you a spending budget of like $10-20 per day including weekends

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code

we need a balanced approach to get people back to work - architecture runs at too thin of a margin. I have nightmares of 08' and 09' - 1 year out of work, we can't do that this time, no 99 weeks unemployment like then

Mar 25, 20 1:06 pm  · 
 · 
BabbleBeautiful

One small design firm in MA is going to be implementing 20% pay cut. Half of the loss will be subsidized by the state.

Mar 25, 20 2:56 pm  · 
 · 
Stasis

Even though the situation is getting worse, I have been contacted by many recruiters several times past 2-3 weeks... Wonder what's going on with the recruiters..  Are they trying to place someone asap and collect the talent fee before things get really bad?  I don't trust that these recruiters looking out for your career development (in spite of their claim).  Jumping to another firm at this moment seems really risky... 

As for my current work, I am working at an EAC firm as half time PM and Architect.. As a PM, I have been experiencing new projects and proposals being on hold, so I could not find hours for my architects and engineers.  I have to go out and find more leads but it has not been successful.

On the architecture side, my work is starting to dwindle down that I am reaching out to other offices for more work.  I am splitting time with my juniors so that they have something to do.. Hopefully, this is a short term decline rather than a long recession like 08-10.   

Mar 25, 20 3:04 pm  · 
 · 

yes as to them working overtime to place people before it turns. we've gotten so many calls...

 · 
tduds

"Are they trying to place someone asap and collect the talent fee before things get really bad?" ...probably. Recruiters are garbage. Middefolk siphoning off the fat of the system.

 · 
Chad Miller

I don't know if it's going to actually happen but the stimulus package has a grant for businesses of under 500 employees to cover two months operating expenses.  

Mar 25, 20 3:05 pm  · 
 · 

Loans. Not grants. Up to 1,540 per week, for 6 weeks, for each employee still on the payroll. I'm not sure how many employers will take that if they hear clients are parking projects for 4-6 months. Seems much more applicable to restaurants, retailers, etc.

 · 
proto

Not seeing much for sole proprietors tho

 · 

nope. nothing.

 · 
archi_dude's comment has been hidden
archi_dude

FYI this is a change my mind post. Sorry if it offends people but please educate me. What are states end games here, flattening the curve or stamping out the virus? At first it was flattening the curve. It seems this is happening in Washington which was achieved by their early limited social distances efforts. I, not a doctor assume this because since cases reported lag roughly 2 weeks from infection the reduction we are seeing now in Washington occurred during the early distancing and not the more strictly implemented stay at home orders and outdoor activity limited to short walks and groceries. Same for Italy, keep in mind Italy still had construction and factories going until this Monday. So same scenario there, relaxed social distancing flattens rhe curve. New York however has reached crisis mode where they will probably run out of beds so really flattening the curve and stricter controls make sense. California though, where we're on a more limited trajectory now has $1000 fines if you leave your neighborhood and helicopter patrols to keep surfers out of the water (who naturally distance anyway). Newsom also just said the strict rules should stay in place for 12 weeks which is not a flattening a curve goal but an elimination tactic. Knowing how many people who are out of jobs right now I'm not fearing for the DOW, wall street or a recession I fear an economic collapse. California was already precarious before this and on the verge of a pension crisis. Is the sustained destruction of the economy for elimination of this virus over flattening the curve truly a good long term society benefit or are we stuck in group think right now?

Mar 25, 20 6:23 pm  · 
 · 
x-jla

By the amount of celebrities, athletes, and politicians testing positive, id bet an enormous portion of the population already had it with mild-no symptoms. If so, this may prove to be virus way less deadly than thought that affects some minority really hard. That dilemma will cause the conversation to switch from one about general public health to one about social justice for the minority vs business as usual and normalcy for the rest. Ironically, the often demonized boomers are likely a big part of that high risk class.

 · 
x-jla

Basically, this can be treated more like ADA in the future if the virus sticks around.

 · 
archi_dude

If you research the only scenarios where an entire demographic was tested you will see you are correct. Check out the cruise liner quarantines. Death rates are super low, still not the flu but not above 1%. Which comes back to why are there.helicopters chasing down lone hikers right now?

 · 
x-jla

They should be focusing on testing a random sample of the population.

 · 
x-jla

All I know is if you pick 50,000 Americans you most likely ain’t getting Tom hanks and Kevin Durant in there. 50,000 is a small cross sample.

 · 
x-jla

I’d like to see some statistics people work the odds for that one...

 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Quite simply; flatten the curve, a vaccine is 18 months away at a minimum. However, as we know from the scientists, we will not stamp it out in round one, maybe round two. We don't have enough ICU beds - included in that should be assumed equal numbers of required staff and ventilators - and we know that if 40-70% are going to get this, and 5% will need ICU care, do the math. Social isolation allows industry to make enough masks and ventilators, give staff needed time to recoup, replenish, and heal.

 · 
bowling_ball

We hired a senior technologist today, starts in a couple weeks. Of course, he was laid off a week ago, so it's a wash. Trying to hire another CA/ PM in the next few weeks as well. It's not all doom and gloom yet.

In 2012/2013, once the dust settled from the last recession, our firm literally did 3 times the business it had for the years preceding and during the recession. I have a feeling that this will be similar once it's safe to return to normal again. 

Mar 25, 20 7:16 pm  · 
 · 
joseffischer

Where is this mythical hiring firm?

 · 
bowling_ball

The great white north. It regularly gets to -40 during the winter here, so it's not all rainbows and unicorns.

 · 
code

I live in the Bay Area, and we need to get back to our offices. working remotely is at best a 30% drop in productivity. One big SF office put their staff on 25% pay cut. I don't mean to sound like Trump, but we need a balanced approach to get back to our offices in 3 weeks. Otherwise projects will go on hold and or be cancelled and we will be vack to 08' + 09' , I was out of work for a year, and I'm not going to do that again.

Mar 25, 20 10:34 pm  · 
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archi_dude

Our main developer in pharma and bio sciences shelved anything without funding today so it's already happening. Went from a backlog of about 100 million to zero...

 · 
Bench

Interesting - did they give a reason why (beyond the general economic fears)? It just seemed to me like that would be one of the market sectors in architecture that would want to ramp up.

 · 
archi_dude

That's what I was hoping but that sector is full of zombie companies operating on loans and investments. So investments dried up and poof!

 · 
b3tadine[sutures]'s comment has been hidden
b3tadine[sutures]

Balanced approach = 90 days = Millions won't suffer.


Mar 25, 20 10:45 pm  · 
 · 
archi_dude

That article admits there probably would be spikes immediately as restrictions were rolled back. So extremely misleading.

 · 

Federal numbers this morning: 3.3 million jobless claims last week. For comparison, in 2008 the high was something like 600,000 claims. This is unprecedented.

Mar 26, 20 9:34 am  · 
 · 
b3tadine[sutures]

Most of that is definitely restaurant workers.

 · 

Absolutely, I doubt there is a single waiter employed right now in the entire country.

 · 
Non Sequitur

gov here says they got (pinky finger up) 1million EI claims so far... and we're like 10% of your size.

 · 
JLC-1

ski resorts got hit hard, hotel workers, drivers, lift attendants, restaurants, gear shops.

 · 
thatsthat

Big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, and Target are hiring in our areas for stock positions. They're having trouble keeping shelves stocked and needing extra staff to help unload and stock inventory. Hopefully some of those looking for positions can get temporary help at places like this.  Supposedly they're scheduling people so there are more shifts but fewer people each shift to help with the distancing.

 · 

anything hospitality and/or travel related is the bulk. then retail (depending on the type as noted).

 · 

I think airlines have not laid off flight staff and operations as they have to hold their routes or lose them to competitors.

 · 
Thayer-D

In DC, still employed, but we can hear the cracks in the rafters.  The absolute worst case scenario to have a mad con artist as president.  

There will need to be some serious restructuring to build resilience for what is sure to be a recurring issue.  If the scientists can't get a hold of a vaccine soon,  it's something that will take a New Deal type program to get us through.  Nationalizing manufacturing to get the supplies needed quick, had we not outsourced much of it to buy cheap disposable crap.    Something good will come out of this eventually.  Till then, love thy neighbor.   

Mar 26, 20 9:49 am  · 
 · 
SneakyPete

If nothing else, this crisis has provided an opportunity for me to agree with Thayer. :)

 · 

Aw Sneaky that's sweet. We all have more alike than our differences.

 · 
x-jla's comment has been hidden
x-jla

much of trumps recent backtracking to open the country up is a backlash to Chinas propaganda machine using this tragedy (that they most likely made worse with early coverups) to show the inadequacy of a Democratic society and the efficiency of an authoritarian state. China and Russia are both exploiting this situation. I was telling my 16yo son, that his responsibility is to distance rn, and to prove that this self governance thing works in a situation where a large scale community action is required. His grandfather’s both had to fight nazis, sometimes at knife point, least he can do is stay tf home and play video games. I think the president needs make that point clear. Without authorization draconian measures, we can still beat this thing.

 · 
x-jla's comment has been hidden
x-jla

*my grandfathers...his great grandfathers.

 · 
sameolddoctor's comment has been hidden
sameolddoctor

As liberal as I am, Im going to advise myself and my kids to distance from the oppressive Chinese regime. Nothing against the chinese peoples or immigrants (who are themselves escaping from that regime)

 · 
x-jla's comment has been hidden
x-jla

I think his backtrack is idiotic and premature, but Chinese propaganda is likely why he’s up there talking shit.

 · 
Thayer-D's comment has been hidden
Thayer-D

I'm with jla-x. I ain't about to let any regime that works off terror to out class us just cause my kid plays minecraft and eats cheetos. Did you see that BS about Trump threatening media outlets that run the add about the timeline of what he knew when and all his Stalinist lies? All's we gotta do is stick together and dump him in November. Once the smoke clears we can go back to bitching about glass walls vs. icing.

 · 
x-jla's comment has been hidden
x-jla

Trump is a fool, but worst thing we can do right now is let him know that. He works off of praise and ego. Media should know this by now, and use it to manipulate his decisions in the right direction. Praise him for listening to Fauci, etc.

 · 
code

people working remotely need to be able to respond in a timely fashion, not get befuddled with Zoom, Logmein and VPN, it takes more discipline than at the office. I'm in my recession era mode, working from 8:30am to 8:30pm and weekends - Slack your PMs, Team Mates and PAs on a regular basis to stay in the loop - this way, one can avoid getting laid off.

Mar 26, 20 1:05 pm  · 
 · 

If you're salaried and working 12 hours each day instead of 8 you're effectively taking a 33% cut in pay. If both you and a co-worker are doing it (total 8 hours a day extra), you've just taken away someone else's job. I know this is simplistic, but don't work for free. 

A little overtime is fine and normal, but don't consistently work that many uncompensated extra hours. If you're hourly and getting paid for it, go for it, but also don't overwork yourself. That many hours is not sustainable.

1  · 
RickB-Astoria

code, I agree fully with the point where working remotely will require timely communication. What is important in this is not letting family members be a distracting element where they think if you are home, you are not working so we're going to have you do this and that.

 · 
flatroof

If it saves them a dollar you get laid off no matter how hard you work.

 · 
RickB-Astoria

E_A, in this situation like what code is saying, you are working say.... 8 or so hours BUT you are spreading the 8 or so hours work day over a 12 hour window to accommodate the usual distractions at home. Domestic environment can be more challenging to work straight 8 hours without the distractions because household members can tend to want you to do more "honey dews" and the likes. 

Now, with kids at home will be wanting your attention because they aren't able to be at school or with their friends like they normally will. Most architect offices are one singular work shift businesses so from a productivity standpoint, it isn't that big of a deal to work 8-10 hours a day over a 12 hour time window instead of working from 8am to 5pm or 6pm or 7pm. You are just inserting longer break period. Since in a regular office productivity will stop when the office closes for the day, normally, when everyone goes home. 

I sometimes with collaborative work in software will spread that work time over the day and even night especially if I needed to collaborate with people in Europe or elsewhere. So I take a little time to rest and nap a little, if necessary, for the late night chat with collaborators in Europe. As the central coordinator, I may have to spread my work across the whole 24 hour window.

 · 
code

Rick, that's it - It' to cover the time to go to the store and get in line, VPN disconnects

 · 

code, Rick, that's understandable. 

Also, for those in a leadership or management position in your firm, consider that your email at 8pm might send the message to the employee receiving it that you expect them to be working that late too. They may not have the same distractions as you, or choose to manage their time differently, and can easily put in 8 hours before 5pm. 

Wording can make a big difference. "Please make these changes to the model..." can read differently at 8pm to the recent graduate than, "In the morning, please make these changes to the model..."

 · 
RickB-Astoria

E_A,

Don't disagree there. More often, it is keeping up with and meeting deadlines but it should be clear that people aren't necessarily expected to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is more like, work a 3 to 4 hour shift then leave for a couple hours to get other things done and work another 2 hours, then maybe have some dinner and work the remaining 2-3 hours or so and go to bed. You're working the 8 hours but you are having larger periods of available breaks. The goal is not necessarily about working exuberant amount of hours.... some do in what we in the software/video game development field (and likely other fields) called "crunch time" and you have some marathon sessions but they are not nor should be assumed to be what you do every week. I'm experienced enough in this architectural field to know there is similar realities. Wording makes a difference, I agree. Sometimes the words just don't get communicated effectively. When its one of those "all hands on deck" and are doing a marathon grind, everyone is generally expected to put the extra effort in. This is not intended to be one of those, you have to work ridiculously long hours every day.

 · 

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