While under the provincial state of emergency declaration due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Vancouver’s restaurants and coffee shops have been ordered to stop dine-in service. What does this mean for the construction industry and how does that affect your renovation projects?
As of the time when this article is written, British Columbia’s construction sites are still open.. Construction workers are continuing to work on residential and commercial projects. The B.C. Building Trades has raised concerns on worker safety in the construction site, and the Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has responded with issuing the construction site guidelines during the COVID-19 period. WorkSafeBC’s Fitzsimmons also said they will “… consider issuing orders for non-compliance, and may issue stop-work orders if there is a high risk of serious illness. Penalties may be imposed for flagrant violations.”
These guidelines are meant to be generic, and most of them do not apply to our homeowner’s renovation projects. For example, we are not going to have nearly 50 construction workers, nor are we going to have construction elevators that can accommodate more than 4 people. Nevertheless, keeping a physical distance of 2 meter, and not getting into a tight space is still the best practice during this trying time.
Many may be wondering if cities building departments are still in operation. British Columbia categorizes the building department as essential service to facilitate public safety so they are still open. That being said, many cities have changed the way they process intakes. For example, the city of Vancouver now uses a drop off system to reduce face-to-face interaction. During these trying times, the city also has staff with COVID-19-like symptoms who are unable to be at work, so the cities may be short-staffed which increases their process time. Homeowners are advised to keep that in mind for a more realistic timing.