Recommendations: Governor’s Stay-at-Home Order regarding Construction

Master Builders Association of Pierce County Members,

Please use the documents linked below as resources for you regarding the current stay-at-home-order:

  1. Governor’s Stay-at-Home order
  2. “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” List, released with the order
  3. Guidance memo for Construction

Gov. Inslee made his position very clear in the memo that “commercial and residential construction is not authorized under the Proclamation because construction is not considered to be an essential activity.”

However, the guidance memo does provide an exemption, “To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.” There is also language in the list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” that says, “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.” Finally, the order itself allows for “minimum basic operations are the minimum activities necessary to maintain the value of the business’ inventory, preserve the condition of the business’ physical plant and equipment, ensure security, process payroll and employee benefits, facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and related functions.”

Any work done over the next two weeks would have to be justified under one of those provisions. Master Builders Association of Pierce County (MBAPC) cannot provide a definitive answer as to whether your project is exempted or not. However, it could fall under the exemption in the guidance memo, “To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.”

MBAPC recommends that you use the following test to determine if you can move forward:

  1. If the site is in-progress, will it be secure for a minimum of 14-days or will the site/home deteriorate without further work?
  2. If we do not do this work, will people not be able to safely Stay Home for a minimum of 14-days?
  3. What is the minimum work we need to do to create a safe home environment or allow a person to access an essential service?

If you were to be questioned, you want to be able to answer with full confidence that people’s health or basic needs would have been substantially harmed if you hadn’t continued work.

Beyond that, if you do continue with work, we recommend you follow the COVID-19 health best practices including social distancing and minimizing workers on site. Click here for BIAW’s safety recommendations.

We also recommend that you keep a copy of the Governor’s memo on site with yourself or a PM in case you do have a citizen/officer/government employee approach you about why you are working. It may be pertinent to also keep some documentation/photographic evidence of an existing hazard or other condition that is the basis of completing the work. This is not legal advice. Please consult with your own attorney if you have questions.

It’s up to each contractor to make the decision on if they should proceed, keeping in mind the Governor’s Order as well as the safety of your clients and crews.

Lastly in case you need it, here is the number for the Governor’s office: (360) 902-4111. They may be able to assist you or wish to hear your thoughts on this.

MBAPC is providing this information for general information only. This information does not constitute the provision of legal advice, tax advice, accounting services, investment advice, or professional consulting of any kind nor should it be construed as such. The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional tax, accounting, legal, or other competent advisers.

Thank you,
Jeremiah Lafranca
Master Builders Association of Pierce County Executive Officer

Inslee extends Stay-at-Home order through May 4th >>Learn more