Many cities and states have prohibited construction activity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they shut down non-essential business activity to help slow the spread of the virus. Yet construction is an essential industry, especially at this time both to protect critical infrastructure and to maintain economic activity.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has issued guidance on which industries, workers, and functions are critical to public health and safety, as well as to economic and national security. While this is an advisory, not a federal directive or standard, it enumerates several key infrastructure related activities that state and local governments should consider as essential.
This includes construction in the energy sector, the public works and infrastructure support sectors, communications and information technology, and housing—especially those building additional units to address the shortage of housing supply. It also includes industries and function supporting construction, like inspectors, manufacturers, and shippers.
As the CEO of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, says: “This new federal guidance should help eliminate the confusion and ambiguity that has led several state and local officials to needlessly order halts to construction activity that is clearly essential.”
In addition to these enhanced federal guidelines, some states specifically allow specific construction activities, including inspection of essential facilities and construction related to housing and housing safety. A critical piece of the Massachusetts guidelines states that to remain open construction sites must “consistently comply with the COVID-19 construction safety guidance, including ensuring that social distancing and safety requirements are being followed.” Otherwise they must “safely secure the site and pause construction activities until a corrective action plan is prepared…and submit a site-specific risk analysis and enhanced COVID-19 safety plan” before being allowed to restart activity. CCA can provide such plans and analysis.
Throughout this crisis, CCA is continuing the important work of inspecting essential construction and buildings following our health and safety protocols, in compliance with all local, state, and federal COVID-19 guidelines.