How Washington’s stay-at-home order will affect construction projects

Mar 24, 2020, 10:57 AM
Key Arena demolition and renovation, construction...
Ongoing construction at KeyArena. (Michael Simeona, KIRO Radio)
(Michael Simeona, KIRO Radio)

With Gov. Jay Inslee enacting a statewide stay-at-home order Monday evening, questions have swirled over whether certain construction projects will continue, or be halted for the duration of the directive.

Full details on what’s allowed under Inslee’s stay-at-home order

That’s outlined in a 14-page document detailing what defines “essential” work. But for many construction projects, it’s not quite as simple as having some send all workers home, while having others continue as scheduled.

“Let’s say you’re building the Convention Center, and you’ve got it propped up — you just can’t leave it for two weeks,” Monty Anderson with the Building Trades and Construction Council told KIRO Nights. “They might take a week to get what they have up there to ensure the structural integrity.”

Another example he provides is KeyArena, where renovations that have been underway don’t technically qualify as “essential,” but still require ongoing maintenance on-site.

“There’s a lot there, [and] there are going to be exclusions,” Anderson noted. “You can’t just leave (KeyArena) for two weeks and hope it doesn’t fill up with water.”

There are also other more cut-and-dry cases for projects being allowed to continue as planned. That includes anything related to natural gas or energy production, and construction of housing, or anything else considered an essential facility.

“Some of the stuff is critical,” Anderson said. “That’s a lot of work still.”

Read: Gov. Inslee’s full stay-at-home proclamation

For workers unsure of whether their project qualifies as essential or not, Anderson hopes to have employers providing them with more information by the end of the day Tuesday.

“We’re working right now with our contractors, our agencies, and everybody to get this information out so they can be deemed essential or not,” he outlined. “So people can know on the job by (Tuesday), your employer should be telling you whether to take your tools home or not.”

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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How Washington’s stay-at-home order will affect construction projects