This post was published by High Profile magazine on May 27, 2020.
Governor Charlie Baker announced today that all construction projects in Massachusetts may reopen immediately, provided contractors and owners comply with new safety guidelines and compliance documentation requirements. These new requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A COVID-19 Officer must be designated on all projects, except in the case of residential construction or remodeling of one-to-three-family homes;
- The COVID-19 Officer must submit a written daily report to the Owner’s Representative and must certify that the contractor and all subcontractors are in full compliance with the COVID-19 construction safety guidance;
- For large, complicated construction projects, a city or town may require the owner to develop and submit a site-specific risk analysis and enhanced COVID-19 safety plan, which the contractor would be obliged to comply with;
- Before each shift, employees must self-certify to their supervisor that they are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; and
- Construction workers must wear gloves at all times and must continue to maintain a minimum distance of six (6) feet from each other to the extent possible.
For a full description of the new requirements, see Mass.gov’s Safety Standards for Construction webpage, which includes a Construction Protocol Summary and a particularly useful Construction COVID-19 Checklist. The site-specific safety requirements that were being imposed on essential construction projects over the last several weeks were largely carried over to this phase of reopening.
The City of Boston, which has imposed stricter requirements on the construction industry than the Commonwealth since this crisis began, also recently announced that it would permit any construction of a type allowed by the Commonwealth, beginning on May 25, 2020. The City of Boston’s safety protocols, which Neil Franzese summarized here, will remain in effect.
Other cities and towns may likewise have requirements that go above and beyond what is required by the Commonwealth. Owners and contractors will need to confirm all requirements that apply to their projects before recommencing work, and will need to ensure compliance with all safety guidelines once the work begins.
Additional business reopening guidance, including the Reopening MA report, workplace posters, and guidance for reopening offices, can be found on the Reopening Massachusetts webpage.