Ep. IX: The Rise of (Low Risk & Existing) Construction Projects
The last several days have seen changes in Washington State as Governor Inslee ordered the limited re-opening of certain business sectors. Among these actions was an order resuming low-risk construction work. Unlike Oregon, whose business closure order did not apply to the construction industry, Washington halted virtually all construction statewide.
The Washington order specifies that any existing construction projects complying with numerous, specific conditions may resume only those work activities that do not require workers to be closer than six-feet together. If a work activity requires workers to be closer than six-feet, it is not considered low-risk and is not authorized. Critically, the order only applies to existing construction projects that had already commenced at the time of the stay-at-home order.
Among the requirements to resume an existing construction project are: (1) having a COVID-19 site supervisor and developing a specific COVID-19 safety plan; (2) conducting safety training for all employees on the first day of resuming work and weekly thereafter; (3) social distancing; and (4) personal protective equipment (PPE) must be provided by all employers.
More information on the specifics of the Washington order can be found here: Phase 1 Construction Restart: COVID-19 Job Site Requirements
The order raises a host of issues for community associations in Washington. Associations who had begun a project that was halted by the stay-at-home order should find out whether (a) their contractor is able to comply with the mandatory conditions established by the new order, (b) whether resuming the project will increase the cost to the association, and, if so, whether the association has sufficient funds to pay for the project, especially if the association passed a special assessment or took out a loan. Keep in mind that associations still waiting to begin a construction project will have to exercise a bit more patience.
As always, if your community needs assistance with a construction project, contract review, or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact us.