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Residential Construction now labeled an “Essential Infrastructure Business” by DHS

Over the past couple of weeks, the Concrete Foundations Association, in combination with the North American Concrete Alliance (NACA), NAHB and many others in both the residential construction sector and other labor organizations have been working tirelessly to demonstrate the need to keep construction moving forward. We are proud to report that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today designated construction of single-family and multifamily housing as an “Essential Infrastructure Business.”

The designation will enable many foundation contractors to keep their businesses open during the COVID-19 pandemic and help to stabilize the housing industry and its supply chain in the near term. More detail about the construction workers who qualify as essential can be found in both the “Public Works and Infrastructure Support Services” and “Residential/Facilities and Services” sections of the guidance.

“This is an important step in the work stream of our economy,” states James Baty, CFA Executive Director. “We have been in communication with a large number of concrete foundation companies who have devised practical and plausible work systems to maintain the health and welfare of their work crews while keeping the progress moving forward for one of this nation’s primary infrastructure needs.”

The NAHB, in their public release of this notice alerted all to “keep in mind that there is no mandatory federal order on what is an essential business, and many states have their own rules.” The guidance document produced by the DHS is a tool or an advisement that states can follow, if they so choose. Several states are restricting work to only those deemed “essential businesses,” which allows such businesses to keep operations going during the coronavirus epidemic. In this movement, the coalition effort establishes that residential construction workers should continue to be allowed to stay on the job.

While CFA was not on the frontline of this effort, ceding to the impact that NAHB, NACA and labor unions have, “we were definitely supportive of these efforts and contributed both our name and our attention as these efforts were underway,” states Baty. In addition, CFA and many other proponents of this effort are working through grassroots measures to support likewise designations to the various state governors.

In a quote from the NAHB release on this success; “Americans depend on a functioning residential construction sector to provide safe, affordable housing for our citizens, and this need is especially acute during this pandemic,” said NAHB Chairman Dean Mon. “Moreover, a healthy housing market is critical to maintain a sound economy. I commend DHS for heeding the urgent concerns of the housing community and taking this decisive action to assure the men and women of the industry will be able to stay on the job and serve the needs of the American people at this critical time.”

On March 26, in an effort spearheaded by NAHB, 90 companies and organizations, including the CFA, sent a joint letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Jack Wolf urging him to designate the construction of single-family and multifamily housing as an Essential Infrastructure Business.

“As cities and states issue declarations and public health orders as a result of the crisis, it is essential that communities have access to our professionals to build and maintain essential services including: building, plumbing, residential property management, rental housing operators, roofing, electrical, HVAC systems, waste/wastewater treatment plants and power generations,” the letter stated. “Home construction, including those industries listed above, should be designated as ‘essential’ because it is necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and economic security.”

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us