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Wed June 03 2020

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US contractors welcome guidance on construction’s current role

30 Mar Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has welcomed new Department of Homeland Security guidance expanding the list of construction work that can continue during coronavirus-related stoppages.

Officials said that the federal guidance on support for essential critical infrastructure should signal to state and local officials the need to allow construction activity to continue, or resume.

AGC chief executive officer of the Stephen Sandherr said: “Federal officials have, wisely, heeded our advice and opted to release new guidance that makes it clear that construction activities are included in its list of essential critical infrastructure workers. This new federal guidance should help eliminate the confusion and ambiguity that has led several state and local officials to needlessly order halts to construction activity that is clearly essential.

“Specifically, federal officials have opted to identify construction and related activities, including the manufacture and delivery of construction supplies and safety equipment and the permitting & inspection of projects, in 25 different parts of its guidelines, compared to four times in its prior iteration. That is because federal officials understand the essential role construction plays in supporting our critical infrastructure and economic activities. They also understand that construction activity can continue to occur in a way that protects workers and the general public from the spread of coronavirus.”

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Sandher added that AGC is eager to work with state and local officials to help them better understand how to heed the new federal guidance so they can continue, or begin, to allow construction work to proceed in their jurisdictions.

The guidance on the essential critical infrastructure workforce was published by Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) director Christopher Krebs. The advisory list identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to the continued viability of critical infrastructure viability. This includes staffing operations centres and maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure. It also includes workers who support crucial supply chains and enable functions for critical infrastructure in industries such as medical & healthcare, telecommunications, transportation & logistics, energy, water & wastewater and public works. 

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