By Reginald Tucker
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S., companies large and small all over the country have been pitching in to help those who are serving such a critical role in keeping communities safe in the wake of this pandemic—the legion of healthcare professionals working tirelessly to save lives. Consolidated Carpet, a long-standing Starnet member and one of the largest commercial contractors in the New York Tri-State area and, more recently, Chicago, is one such company.
Consolidated Carpet is no stranger to adversity on a grand scale. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the company—which was once located in the shadow of Ground Zero—responded quickly to ensure its clients, employees and partners were safe. And when New York finally rebounded from the devastation of the terrorist attacks, Consolidated Carpet played an instrumental role in helping clients get back on their feet.
Now, the company—along with its vendor partners—finds itself stepping up and responding in a big way once again. This time by allocating a team of dedicated installers to participate in the construction of temporary hospitals designed to treat the wave of COVID-19 patients in still red-hot zones such as New York and Chicago.
The most recent example is Consolidated Carpet’s Chicago branch (Consolidated Flooring of Chicago), which earlier this month pitched in to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and Clark Construction Group convert the shuttered Metro South Medical Center in Blue Island, Ill., into a 550-bed COVID-19 Acute Care Center. Remarkably, the Consolidated Flooring of Chicago team was able to mobilize within just a few days to complete the flooring for this project. Due to its efforts, Consolidated has been included in the next phase of USACE build-outs in Northwest Indiana with Clark Construction.
“Through the hard work put in by high-performing installers and dedicated project teams, we will continue our national efforts to help build these temporary sites as quickly and safely as possible,” said David Meberg, Consolidated Carpets president and CEO.
Closer to home
Consolidated Carpet participated in similar hospital construction projects back in its home state of New York. In just two days, a dozen of the company’s dedicated installers united with multiple trades to complete the flooring for the U.S. Army Corps temporary hospital at SUNY College at Old Westbury. This project totaled 21,600 square feet of Mannington Commercial sheet vinyl and required heat-welded seams.
Some of those same mechanics drove directly from that site to SUNY Stony Brook’s Alternate Care Facility, where they spent the Easter weekend working around the clock to help the USACE and Turner Construction Company complete a medical tent at the facility. Two shifts of 15 installers laid down upwards of 40,000 square feet of Armstrong Flooring material that required complicated, chemically welded seams. For this project, Consolidated Carpet worked closely with Salesmaster Flooring Solutions, which ensured materials were delivered in a timely fashion.
“Our skilled installers were careful to preserve the gymnasium’s existing wood floor and completed the project as quickly as possible for the facility to start caring for patients,” Meberg explained. “After completing the job on Sunday morning, our trucking and logistics team were on site to clear the space out of our tools and supplies in time for the next phase of work to begin.”
Not without some challenges
While Consolidated Carpet actively sought some of these projects—most of which were run by some of its best customers—it wasn’t without some trepidation. Meberg reported that about 50% of Consolidated’s workforce wanted to work but were fearful for their own safety at the same time. “We did the best we could to provide them with PPE and safe work conditions, which, thankfully, were present since these were such large and expansive areas,” Meberg explained.
Turning the corner
As Consolidated Carpet begins to see the industry starting to wake up, the company is engaging in more aggressive outreach. The company is in the midst of fine tuning its “back-to-work protocol” based on input from its installers, guidance by government authorities and requirements put in place by its clients. Meberg said he personally will be holding regular Zoom meetings with the company’s foremen and key installers to answer questions or concerns they may have.
“Basically, we just want to instill in our workforce confidence that we—and the industry—are looking out for them,” Meberg stated.