Roundtable Letter to the Governor and COVID-19 Construction Site Recommendations
Updated On: Apr 17, 2020
April 14, 2020
The Honorable Jay Inslee
Governor of the State of Washington
PO Box 40002
Olympia, WA 98504-0002
Dear Governor Inslee,
The members of the Construction Roundtable would like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in this stakeholder process. We did our level best to be deliberate and thoughtful in developing recommendations for your consideration that we believe are consistent with the mission of combating the Covid-19 virus while allowing construction work to be safely phased back into operation.
We further appreciated the support that your office provided to facilitate these discussions with the various agency partners. There is a lot of interest in this effort and the appropriate staging and supply chain considerations in ensuring that restarting construction is done safely so as to not take a step backward in this pandemic fight. In addition to these meetings, the members of the Roundtable group had several separate conversations to develop the enclosed protocols and to formulate these recommendations for your consideration.
We, the undersigned members of the Construction Roundtable, believe that work classified under the Phase 1 category should be allowed to return to work provided that the protocols outlined in the Phase 1 document are posted on the jobsite and fully complied with. In our discussions, we recognized that there are several residential and commercial jobs that are able to achieve these safety conditions. For instance, residential structures that were well underway at the time that the Stay Home Stay Safe Order was implemented. In addition, WSDOT is currently engaged in a process, as are several other public owners, to systematically prioritize projects by risk level. These deliberations would work in concert for identifying projects that appropriately fit into Phase 1.
We are also working on a Phase 2 document that could be used if, based on the safe return of work under Phase 1, could be implemented for the next level of limited risk under the same strict adherence to the safety protocols. We believe that a Phase 3 document will also be necessary but, in the spirit to getting you these recommendations expeditiously, we limited our current recommendations to the lower risk construction activities.
It was important to us to create a framework that is flexible enough to adapt to changing conditions. Phase 1 projects have strict accountability measures and enforcement agencies will be the first line of compliance and have the authority to issue stop work, and civil penalties for any violations of these protocols. Further, if metrics determine construction work is adversely affecting progress of combating COVID-19, and/or if your enforcement agencies report significant noncompliance, work could be suspended, and the framework allows flexibility in amending criteria or delay in proceeding to Phases 2 and 3.
Finally, it is important that any restart of construction activities also include authorizing the work of material suppliers, state inspectors, and local planning officials to also begin, complying with the requirements listed for essential business in your “Stay Home, Stay Safe” proclamation 20-25. All of these groups are necessary for construction work to restart and progress.
In closing, the Construction Roundtable and our members stand with you as we work together to protect the health of Washington state citizens in these trying times. We understand that our directive, and efforts have been solely focused on considerations surrounding restarting construction work. Should other non-construction considerations inform your decision making in a manner that goes against our recommendations, we will continue to work to alleviate all concerns regarding restarting construction work in Washington State in the safest manner possible. We also appreciate your leadership on this matter and understand the difficult decisions you must make.
Mark L. Riker
Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council
International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302
Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters
Associated General Contractors of Washington
Association of Washington Business
Building Industry Association of Washington