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Here’s How Protests & Riots Have Affected Construction

You are probably well aware of the protests and riots that have swept through the country this year. Protests began in March 2020 after the death of Breonna Taylor and ensued again in May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since then, there have also been more than 10,000 protests in more than 2,400 locations throughout the country.

Since these riots began, contractors aren’t the only ones looking for plywood for sale and concrete forms these days! Many business owners have also been buying plywood to board up their shops to prevent possible vandalism or looting. During some of the riots and protests, there have been vandalism instances, which has caused many cities to enact curfews and additional safety measures for the public. In addition, many construction tools on worksites have been taken and used for rioting. All of these events have impacted construction and remind workers to do a couple of extra things on the job site.

Majority of protests have been peaceful

In September 2020, there have been more than 10,600 protests across the country between late May and the end of August. According to Demonstrations & Political Violence in America, more than 10,100 were peaceful. The study also showed that fewer than 570 had demonstrators engage in vandalism and violence. The study group reported that major cities only saw these instances occur on several blocks and did not see violence and vandalism spread throughout the city. Time Magazine also reported in September that there have been more than 7,750 demonstrations in all 50 states and that in the 2,400 locations, there were less than 220 protests in which violent acts of vandalism occurred.

Both articles state that between 93 to 95 percent of protests have been peaceful. For the most part, construction sites have seen little to no major incidents because of protestors or demonstrators. This is not to say that construction has otherwise been untouched by protestors.

Incidents at construction sites

Following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, protests broke out for a number of weeks and rioting occurred in different parts of the city. There was one major incident in which a construction site was majorly damaged. A 189-unit affordable housing project burned down, though the concrete structure for the first floor was left intact. The owners of the property have not reported whether or not they will continue with this project. There were no other major construction incidents reported in Minneapolis.

There have been a few other minor incidents of vandalism reported. In San Jose, California, several people broke into a job site to get 2x4s. It is believed that the people obtained took the 2x4s to use as weapons. Construction workers were able to secure the area after the incident and repaired damages to fences.

These acts are unfortunate, but will hopefully cause contractors to remind their workers to secure job site tools and consider other methods of securing and locking up machinery. Casually leaving tools or materials around public-accessible parts of a job site probably isn’t the best way to leave a job site.

Curfews affecting construction

While job sites and construction work has not faced widespread damage from demonstrations, the industry is feeling the impact of protests in other ways. Since the beginning of demonstrations, at least 29 curfews have been announced in cities and counties. While these curfews have been put in place to protect the general public, curfews being enforced in major cities like Los Angeles and New York have prevented construction crews from working. Following the protests in May, Chicago shut down major construction projects downtown to keep public and construction workers safe but then lifted this ban in June.

With bans and curfews like these in place, many construction firms and contractors have had to stop their work altogether or cut back on their hours. Association members of construction companies have been kept up to date with curfew changes, while contractors have had to assess their own risks. Many firm leaders and contractors have to make some changes in the way they store their supplies and worksites to prevent possible vandalism and public safety purposes.

Get the job done with Forming America

Whatever or wherever your next job is, be sure to check in with city or county safety measures in place to be sure you and your team are staying in compliance. Remember to secure job site tools and adding whatever level of security you’re able to. Even if it just means covering your work station, putting locks on doors, or moving tools into a more hidden, safe area in the work zone.

Partner with us at Forming America for your supply material needs. Forming America has the best quality materials you need to complete your next project with excellence. Contact us today to buy our plywood, used concrete forms, and other materials.

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