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CARES Act Helps Construction Industry

Industries nationwide are struggling to navigate the coronavirus outbreak and how it will potentially impact future business. On March 27, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law in an effort to help citizens personally and professionally, including the construction industry.

Under the CARES Act, the U.S. government is providing $2 trillion in federal funding and programs, which Associated Builders and Contractors Vice President of Legislative and Political Affairs Kristen Swearingen said is "a critical lifeline" for construction companies throughout the country.

These companies "work hard to maintain their businesses, keep employees on payroll and provide paid leave and essential health benefits to those affected by the coronavirus," Swearingen said in a statement. "As the majority of the U.S. construction sector is made up of small businesses, the nearly $350 billion for small business loans will help ensure that many of our construction businesses are able to weather this storm."

Furthermore, the act also provides additional tax provisions to help construction companies stay afloat.

Unlike weather disruptions, Construction Dive states COVID-19 brings new troubles to jobsites—such as those in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, New York, and Texas—as it is unknown when projects will get up and running once again.

Construction Dive provided the following list on securing closed jobsites as used by Gaston Electrical in Norwood, Massachusetts:

  • Strap or otherwise secure material so that it does not fall or become displaced, potentially sustaining damage or causing harm to anyone visiting the site or, in some cases, remaining on the project.
  • Lock away any tools and equipment that will not be moved.
  • Make sure the entire project is secured by the appropriate locked fencing.
  • Remove or lock away electronics like laptops or other devices.
  • Cover or barricade all open excavation and trenches.
  • Secure and lock all heavy equipment.
  • Post appropriate warning or caution signs.
  • Install a surveillance system and/or hire security to patrol the site on a regular basis.

"Significant changes in our industry often occur in response to a disruption or disturbance to the plan—whatever that plan may be—and how our industry responds makes us better at what we do," Greg Sizemore, vice president of health, safety, environment and workforce development at ABC, told Construction Dive. "In this case, it will be in the increased focus on total human health."

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate
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Monday, 25 May 2020