The Essential Need for Parks During a Pandemic

For 40 years, we have lived by the belief that our community deserves plenty of outdoor spaces to recreate and enjoy nature. With all the changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, parks and green spaces have become even more vital for maintaining health and happiness during tough times. We recently came across a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, detailing the importance of open spaces in relation to physical and mental health, and we thought we’d share some of the highlights – as well our own thoughts on the subject!


Physical Activity Reduces COVID-19 Risk Factors

We all know that physical activity benefits your overall health, but studies show that outdoor activity and exposure to nature specifically correlate to reducing COVID-19 risk factors. Exercise is proven to lower the chances of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes – all of which are linked to intensifying symptoms of COVID-19.


Mental Health Benefits of Experiencing Nature

Mental illness has been dubbed the unspoken collateral damage of the COVID-19 pandemic. The debilitating mental side effects of isolation and lack of human interaction can be very harmful for those who already struggle with mental health issues. Exercising and spending time in nature reduce stress and depression, as well as release endorphins that improve mental wellbeing.


Socially Distanced, Safe and Still Moving

Even as public places have started reopening, many don’t feel comfortable being enclosed in a gym. Fortunately, experts are saying that outdoor spaces are relatively safe during a pandemic when people stay more than six feet apart, wear face masks, and refrain from long conversations with others. With a beautiful Colorado fall on the horizon, parks and outdoor spaces are the perfect place to engage in physical activity.


Recommendations for Urban Areas in the Future

The CDC article notes that those who live in dense urban areas may be at a higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and have limited access to parks and open spaces. A couple ideas for resolving this issue include an “open streets” style initiative, in which city blocks are closed off for a day to encourage outdoor activity. Additionally, transforming unused natural spaces in urban areas into functioning recreational pockets have tremendous benefits, not only on residents’ wellbeing but on the environment as well. Learn more about this concept with our newest RiNO Promenade project.


Colorado Parks to Explore

Itching to get out of the house and spend some quality time at Colorado parks? Here are just a few pandemic-friendly outdoor spaces that ECI has created:




Industry Insights: Collaboration and Communication

If you look outside your window as you drive to work or have caught a glimpse of the Denver skyline lately, you’ve most likely noticed that the construction industry is booming. While this has provided a multitude of opportunities for people to jumpstart careers and businesses, it has also brought about a few challenges that many companies are working through on a daily basis. One such challenge that seems to be front and center for most contractors is the overall shortage of resources – qualified craft workers, equipment shortages, material shortages, etc. As a general contractor, we see this challenge particularly in the subcontract market, which has a direct impact on our ability to produce reliable and accurate project schedules and budgets.


Over the years, we have found that one of the key ingredients to navigating these challenges is to develop and maintain solid relationships with our subcontractors and strategic partners. These relationships allow us to have open dialog with these teams to assess schedule and budget issues, not only as they develop but hopefully prior to us breaking ground. At the end of the day, it is all about effective communication among project team members. If you can establish this strong communication early on in the project, you can leverage these relationships when challenges present themselves over the course of the project – and you know they will because this is construction, after all.


Strong relationships are a two-way street: You have to be willing to listen if you want to be heard. It’s important to try to understand the challenges that any particular subcontractor is facing and work to help mitigate these issues. If you can do this, the subcontractor will oftentimes move mountains when needed.


ECI starts this process in the pre-construction phase. We sit down with key subcontractors and discuss the potential challenges that they see so that we can help them address these issues. Our team finds out what the subcontractor needs in order to have the best opportunity to be successful on the project, e.g., asking how they can provide the most efficient workflow, schedule, and area. Following this process typically sends you to the top of the subcontractor’s list for scheduling – and your project schedule and budget benefits directly as well.


One way that ECI accomplishes this is to monitor and cross-check schedules when we have the same subcontractor on multiple sites in an attempt to limit schedules stacking on top of each other. Unfortunately, this is sometimes unavoidable, but it is always helpful for everyone to know the plan well in advance so that we can devise a strategy on how to achieve the work, rather than figure it out once it is too late.


When it comes down to it, treat your subcontractors well and they will return the favor. There is a reason it is called a project team – every team member and subcontractor has a very important role in the success of a project. As a general contractor, our role is to figure out how to manage this potential and allow the team to work as efficiently as possible. If we can do this, the rest of the project takes care of itself.