Construction Shutdown

In the effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, areas around the country have recently called for the shutdown of non-emergency construction activities. In light of this recent development, there are some questions to help you prepare for a potential shutdown either due to a shelter-in-place order, or as in the case of Boston, a direct halt in regular construction operations order from the mayor. If you are a construction business owner considering taking steps towards suspending or slowing operations to protect your employees and their families, the following will also assist you in your planning considerations.

Please note that this by no means is a comprehensive list, but rather intended to prompt further thought and ideas. Should you have any questions or would like further assistance, please do not hesitate to reach out your Parker, Smith, & Feek team, and we will be happy to assist you.

Planning

  • Do you already have a plan in place?
  • Can you modify an existing plan (e.g., holiday shutdown or extended severe weather shutdown) to meet your needs?
  • Do you have a plan for the company overall, as well as site-specific plans?

Employees

  • What are your plans for your employees?
    • Are you able to keep paying them or will you need to conduct layoffs?
  • Who are the “employees you absolutely do not want to lose?”

Site security

  • Do you have cameras that can record already in place?
  • Are there sufficient barriers currently in place around sites to deter unwanted entry?
  • Is the appropriate signage in place?
  • In the event of a shutdown, if skeleton crews can be utilized to ensure the safety and security of sites, are you able to use the “employees you absolutely do not want to lose” for this purpose?
  • Is access to any upper levels blocked?
  • Is lighting available around the site to deter unwanted entry during night hours?
  • Has the site been cleaned and organized, and all rubbish and combustible debris been removed?
  • Have all non-essential electrical connections been disconnected?
  • Have all non-essential water connections been disconnected?
  • If working on an existing building, is the fire suppression system in working order?
    • If not, can it be brought back online temporarily without risking damage?

Theft

  • Are you able to remove all tools and highly valuable items (including materials) from sites?
    • If not, are you able to identify what is not removable and document specifically what those items are?
  • Are all tools and highly valuable items permanently marked to indicate ownership, and is there a documented inventory list?
  • Is there a secure and out-of-plain-view location onsite where items can be stored?
    • Does this location also prevent easy access and egress from site?

Weather

  • Is the site secure from weather?
    • Are materials secured from movement and damage?
    • Is there any scaffolding erected? Is it secured? Can any unnecessary scaffolding be taken down while the site is shutdown?
    • Are there any sections of the site that cannot be exposed to weather?
      • Are these areas able to be blocked off and protected?

Mobile Equipment

  • Can mobile equipment be relocated to a more secure location?
  • If relocation of equipment is not possible, is mobile equipment equipped with security systems such as those installed by the manufacturer, aftermarket telematics, wheel locks, or other immobilization devices?
    • If only certain larger machines are equipped with these devices, is there a way to use them to block other pieces of equipment from being moved?

It is most likely that some items will need to be left onsite. For these, implementing layers of protection will provide you the most security. If there are specific locations where items are to be stored, consider adding additional lighting, cameras, and barriers in these locations. Additionally, if you are able to have multiple physical personnel onsite, station these individuals at these locations.

If you already have site security set up with a third party, talk to your provider now about what level of service will be available in the event of a shutdown – they may have limited operations as well. If you don’t already have security measures in place, now is the time to reach out and set that up.

Please refer to the checklist from TechnicalRisk Underwriters as a place to start preparing for a potential shutdown. Again, if you have any additional questions or concerns, reach out to your Parker, Smith & Feek account team for further assistance.

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The views and opinions expressed within are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Parker, Smith & Feek. While every effort has been taken in compiling this information to ensure that its contents are totally accurate, neither the publisher nor the author can accept liability for any inaccuracies or changed circumstances of any information herein or for the consequences of any reliance placed upon it.