NAHB Lauds Reps. Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers for Deeming Housing as 'Essential'
NAHB today commended the efforts of Reps. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) to urge Washington Governor Jay Inslee to include residential construction as "essential" under the state's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. "The need to provide safe, affordable housing is especially acute during this pandemic. We applaud the efforts of Reps. Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers to allow the men and women in Washington state's housing industry to be able to stay on the job and provide badly needed housing during this time of crisis," said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon. Most states that have issued stay-at-home orders have deemed residential construction essential, and the Department of Homeland Security has designated the construction of single-family and multifamily housing as an Essential Infrastructure Business. However, Gov. Inslee has excluded residential construction as an essential service in his state, keeping these workers at home. As residential construction workers from other parts of the country remain on the job, their health and safety is a top priority for NAHB. To ensure the safety of workers, NAHB and our construction industry partners have developed a Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Plan specifically tailored to construction job sites. The plan is customizable and covers areas that include manager and worker responsibilities, job site protective measures, cleaning and disinfecting, responding to exposure incidents, and OSHA record-keeping requirements. Moreover, NAHB is urging members, and all residential construction companies, to halt work for at least 10 minutes on Thursday, April 16, for a COVID-19 Job Site Safety Stand Down to educate workers on what they should do to keep themselves safe from coronavirus and to help "flatten the curve" for everyone. Builders on construction sites across the nation are altering their normal behavior and strictly following public health guidelines while at work. These safety precautions include maintaining a distance of no less than six feet with others at all times, cleaning and sanitizing frequently used tools, equipment and frequently touched surfaces on a regular basis, and ensuring the proper sanitation of common surfaces and equipment. "Residential construction workers across the nation have clearly demonstrated that by exercising proper precautions they can continue to remain safely on the job and provide much-needed housing," said Mon. "I urge Gov. Inslee to follow the lead of Reps. Newhouse and McMorris Rodgers, and allow Washington state home builders to get back to work to produce, safe, affordable homes for their fellow citizens in this time of need."