As a result of the “stop work order” on construction in New York State, many projects are now being suspended. In shutting down, it is crucial that the workforce and the public are protected. The Department of Buildings (DOB) offered guidance on how to do that, and what is required for a suspended project, in Buildings Bulletin 2020-004.
As a project owner or contractor, your obligation to protect the personnel and the public extends both to typical construction hazards as well as the novel coronavirus. The Bulletin specifies twenty-two minimum requirements for sites generally, eight specific guidelines for projects suspended in the excavation/foundation phase and an additional two for projects in existing buildings. These measurers are wide ranging and include both one-off acts such as sloping of cuts to prevent erosion and securing equipment to ongoing actions such as maintaining watchpersons and implementing rodent control plans. The guidance also notes that additional measures may be ordered by the DOB based on site-specific conditions.
The ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic is presenting a unique challenge for everyone involved in the construction industry. All owners and contractors should review the Bulleting to confirm compliance, but must recognize that each job may require additional step no covered by the Bulleting to ensure construction sites are safely shut down and legally compliant.