Next Stage Design + Build

by Emily Blackburn

CEO Jim Kabel

San Jose, CA
GQ All-time Recommend Rate
: 95.61
GQ 2019 Recommend Rate: 92.59
Number of Jobs in 2019: 46
Type of Firm: Design/Build
CEO: Jim Kabel

The COVID-19 pandemic changed homeowner interactions. What measures do you use to signal an extra level of care when working in or around a client’s home?

In order to maintain job-site cleanliness and safety, we have trained our production team as well as our sub-contractors and vendors on maintaining strict protocols based, which include:

  • Staff must report their temperature every morning. Staff may be required to provide a COVID-19 test showing a negative result if they feel sick.
  • Staff will not carpool with others unless they live in the same household.
  • A confined work area is to be created – this includes the use of plastic dust walls and zippered dust doors.
  • Air filters will be taped over any air vents in the work area and Build Clean air scrubbers will be used.
  • Workers will wear shoe coverings on job sites and will be required to frequently wash their hands with soap and water, use hand disinfectant, and wear latex gloves. Each person will have a mask to wear if the client requests they do so. No-touch waste bins will be provided.
  • Portable toilets will be provided on all job sites where feasible to ensure a separate bathroom for the homeowners and worker. Portable toilets will be cleaned and locked at the end of each day.
  • Groups must be 6 people or less and remain the recommended 6 feet apart.
  • Workers will regularly clean and disinfect tools, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces throughout the day.

Next Stage Project Managers are the designated Site Safety Representatives for each of their active job site to ensure COVID-19 safety practices are being followed.

Seamless communication technology is now both necessary and expected. How have you used new technology platforms to promote better customer communication and satisfaction?

Here are a few changes that we have implemented:

  1. Consultations – Our Project Developers are now offering virtual consultations via Zoom and Face Time. This way, our Project Developers can the client’s home to discuss your project while practicing social distancing.
  2. Design- Once we begin design , we practice safe social distancing procedures followed by the real estate industry to visit your home, measure, and take detailed photographs. Our designers are using Zoom to discuss design plans in detail and to share photographs, plan sets, 3-D renderings, and product selections with our clients. Some of our vendors are even shipping material samples right to your doorstep.
  3. Contract Agreement – Our team continues to provide detailed contracts that we review together and agree to before beginning a client project. Through Zoom and Adobe sign, our Project Developers can walk clients through the entire contract process virtually.

What was your message to clients with projects in progress in order to keep them happy and satisfied during the uncertainty of the stay-at-home period?

Our business shut-down on March 17, then became essential the following week, and then was deemed non-essential from April 1 through May 1. We immediately sent an e-mail to all clients with active projects. In the initial period between March 17 and April 1 we worked closely with a few selected clients whose projects were close to completion to enable them to safely shelter-in-place or needed a critical component installed (stair railing). All other clients were made aware of the changes with individual e-mails or phone conversations with their project managers.

We also reassured existing clients that we could continue the design process remotely using the techniques, tools, and processes described above, if they were comfortable.

Once we were deemed an essential business again starting May 4 and could start new projects while completing others, we reached out to each client to make sure they were comfortable continuing. Most have done so but we have honored the request of a few to delay construction until a later date of their choosing.

We are also applying to become “Health Safety Qualified” in Santa Clara County through the American Ratings Corporation.

Finally, along with the measures described above, we have posted the following information on our web-site:

At Next Stage Design, we take the health and safety of our team and clients seriously. As we are fully committed to our clients and their projects, it is important for us to find a way to serve our clients while creating a safe environment as described here. We believe communication is key, and that is exactly what our team has been doing. During this unprecedented time, our team has diligently worked together to create a plan to assure you that we are taking all the steps we can to protect both you and our team.

As the situation is fluid and continues to evolve, it is our top priority to keep up with the latest practices and protocols to create a safe environment for our team, our sub-contractors and vendors, and our clients. We thank you for your patience as we navigate the changing times and wish you and your families well.

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