NAHB has been working diligently to keep home builders and contractors on the job as large swaths of the American economy shut down to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by a new coronavirus. But those still working on homes need to alter their behavior and follow guidance to do their part to flatten the curve.
Over the weekend, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it had designated construction of single-family and multifamily housing as an “Essential Infrastructure Business,” meaning that construction could continue in places under stay-at-home orders. Although this designation is not binding to state and local governments, it does mean that there could be more workers on job sites in the coming weeks.
The health and safety of home builders and contractors is our top priority. NAHB and construction industry partners developed a Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan specifically tailored to construction job sites.
There has been enormous demand for this plan, not just from NAHB members.
When Dallas County, Texas, was working on its stay-at-home order, officials reached out to the Dallas Builders Association. They were concerned about reports of workers on construction sites not observing social distancing guidelines and questioned whether construction work should be classified as essential. Dallas BA Executive Officer Phil Crone shared NAHB's plan and safety guidance with the county. Not only did Dallas County classify residential construction as essential, but it actually included some of the NAHB coronavirus safety guidance in its official order.
“I commend NAHB and the industry partners that created those resources,” said Crone. “They helped keep our industry open and, most importantly, will help keep our workforce safe from this terrible virus.”
The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan is customizable and covers areas that include manager and worker responsibilities, job site protective measure, cleaning and disinfecting, responding to exposures incidents, and OSHA record-keeping requirements. There are also several shorter component documents that can be separately downloaded, including:
- A poster that can be printed and displayed on a job site with the most important guidance for workers (also available in Spanish and in larger sizes)
- A template authorization letter that employees can use to prove they are essential workers if asked by local authorities (also available in Spanish)
- A job site coronavirus preparedness checklist and toolbox talk
Because of the hyper-local nature of this crisis, NAHB urges members to contact their state or local HBA with questions about their authorization to work on job sites. Some states have adopted more restrictive stay-at-home orders that do not allow construction work to continue.
Any questions about the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan should be directed to Rob Matuga. For all of NAHB’s coronavirus resources, please visit nahb.org/coronavirus.