To our employees, clients, trade partners and stakeholders:
The Austin Company is celebrating 142 years of continuous service this year. I start this letter with that fact because it is representative of the resiliency of Austin and our focus on the long-term. We are not alone in this longevity. There are many century-plus companies in the building industries, including our parent company, Kajima, who is celebrating 180 years this year.
We reflect on the historic nature of our company at times like this. It reassures us that we will persevere. We also reflect on what has sustained us through some of history’s most tumultuous times- our values, our relationships, our reputation and our team. These are not separate and distinct elements. Together, they define who we are as an organization.
With that backdrop, I want to assure all of our partners in this enterprise that we will do all that we can to deliver our side of the equation that defines our relationship. Safety is always our top priority. The coronavirus has undoubtedly added a new dimension to the risks we face every day.
Part of any construction firm’s daily responsibility is the mitigation of risk. Our task at hand is to find the right balance between protecting the well-being of our employees, protecting those with whom we work to build the projects entrusted to us, and maintaining our project commitments.
Currently, our primary focus is limiting the opportunity of exposure to the virus, especially for those at the greatest risk of being seriously impacted by infection. Specifically, we are taking these steps:
- Arranging our work schedules, habits and technologies to minimize the number of people who need to work in the office at any one time
- Limiting travel to only the most essential
- Severely limiting the exposure to work environments to anyone over 60, as well as anyone who has diabetes, coronary disease, respiratory disease, cancer, or whose immune systems are otherwise compromised
- Strictly prohibiting anyone who is feeling ill from working
- Practicing social distancing through virtual meetings and minimizing the number of people who need to be in one place at one time
- Providing more PPE and venues to practice appropriate hygiene
These—and other actions—are designed to protect those with whom we work. We will endeavor to manage our projects so that we minimize the impact on our teams. However, it is inevitable during this period that projects will be affected.
Austin will keep you informed of any changes to our project team, impacts on schedules, deliveries, etc. We also fully expect that our Owners and trade partners on our projects will also be affected. Together, let us commit to keeping all stakeholders informed, through normal project communication channels, of the challenges we face on our projects due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Finally, let us add that these practices will continue to evolve. We are in uncharted territory and we ask for patience, communication, and support. You have our pledge to do the same.