Governor allows construction to restart on a limited basis, effectively immediately

Gov. Jay Inslee announces his decision in Friday press conference

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a plan Friday to allow residential and commercial construction to re-open on a limited basis in the state of Washington.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a plan Friday to allow residential and commercial construction to re-open on a limited basis in the state of Washington. Photo by Mike Schultz
Gov. Jay Inslee announced a plan Friday to allow residential and commercial construction to re-open on a limited basis in the state of Washington. Photo by Mike Schultz

Inslee had previously deemed most residential and commercial construction as “non-essential’’ as it pertained to his stay-at-home orders designed to address the coronavirus pandemic. In a press conference Friday morning, he announced that it was time to allow the construction industry to restart on a limited basis under strict guidelines.

“We’ve come up with a sensible plan for allowing limited return to construction with safety measures in place,” Inslee said during the press conference. “We have found a way to safely allow low-risk construction to resume. “We have been working toward this measure for some time.”

Tracy Doriot, Doriot Construction
Tracy Doriot, Doriot Construction

The governor’s new order was effective immediately, under what is being termed as a Phase 1 Construction Restart with COVID-19 job site requirements. Tracy Doriot, of Doriot Construction here in Clark County, currently serves as the first vice president of the Building Industry Association of Washington as well as a board member of the BIA of Clark County. He credits the state organization for working with the governor to reach this accord.

“Due largely to the efforts of BIAW (Building Industry Association of Washington), we have a path forward to put our members, as well as much of the construction industry, back to work in a safe manner,’’ Doriot said in a Facebook post Friday. “While we have additions plans being negotiated, this will allow many projects to move forward.’’

Reopening details

The Southwest Washington Contractors Association (SWCA) provided a quick overview of the specifics of the governor’s Phase 1 Construction Restart.

Gov. Jay Inslee
Gov. Jay Inslee

“The Phase I Job Site Requirements were developed by SWCA partners AGC Washington, BIA Washington, Association of Washington Business in collaboration with the Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council, International Union of Operating Engineers and Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters,’’ stated information posted on the SWCA website.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced a plan Friday to allow residential and commercial construction to re-open on a limited basis in the state of Washington.
The governor’s entire reopening plan can be found here. Click to view PDF.

The governor’s entire reopening plan can be found here:

Here are some of the highlights of the governor’s plan:

  • Prior to recommencing work, all contractors are required to develop and post at each job site a comprehensive COVID-19 exposure control, mitigation and recovery plan
  • All contractors are required to post at each job site written notice to employees, subcontractors and government officials the phase 1 work that will be performed at that job site and signed commitment to adhere to the requirements.
  • All contractors have a general obligation to keep a safe and healthy worksite in accordance with state and federal law
  • All contractors are also required to comply with the following COVID-19 worksite-specific safety practices as outlined in Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Proclamation 20-25 and in accordance with the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries General Coronavirus Prevention.
  • All job sites are required to have a COVID-19 Supervisor to monitor the health of employees and enforce the COVID-19 job site safety plan
  • COVID-19 Safety Training is required on all job sites the first day of returning to work, and weekly thereafter. Attendance at safety training will be communicated verbally and the trainer will sign in each attendee. COVID-19 safety requirements shall be visibly posted on each job site.
  • Social Distancing is required. All workers on the jobsite must stay at least six feet apart at all times.
  • Employers must provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gloves, goggles, face shields and face masks as appropriate, or required for the activity being performed. All of the PPE mentioned is REQUIRED for all workers on every job site. If PPE cannot be provided, the worksite must be shut down.
  • Handwashing stations shall be abundantly provided on all job sites for frequent handwashing and workers should be encouraged to leave their workstations to wash their hands regularly. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with greater than 60 percent ethanol or 70 percent isopropanol can also be used but are not a replacement for the water requirement.
  • Policies must be implemented which encourage workers to stay home or leave the worksite when feeling sick or when they have been in close contact with a confirmed positive case. If they develop symptoms of acute respiratory illness, they must seek medical attention and inform their employer.
  • A daily attendance log of all workers and job site visitors must be kept and retained for at least four weeks.
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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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