Tag Archives: Covid-19

Construction Industry Assists in Health Crisis as Makeshift Hospitals Pop-Up in NY and NJ

While most of the Northeast is on hold, the construction industry continues to provide its essential work in New York and New Jersey. Not only have transportation, utility, housing, and emergency projects continued, contractors and developers have stepped up to assist FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers with some of the many temporary hospital facilities popping up in New York and New Jersey—the two states hardest hit by the novel coronavirus pandemic at this time.

Here are some of the fast-moving projects answering the call of the health care crisis by transforming convention and expo centers, college campuses and even a racetrack into makeshift medical facilities.

At the Meadowlands Convention Center, a general hospital has opened to care for those who require unrelated care and less severe COVID patients. The pop-up field hospitals at the Edison Convention Center and Atlantic City Convention Center are in progress. The Atlantic City site is scheduled to open on April 14.

Meanwhile in New York, construction is underway to convert the Westchester County Center’s main arena, several smaller main-level rooms and a second-floor theater into a hospital. At SUNY Stonybrook and SUNY Old Westbury sites, 250-bed treatment tents are scheduled to be completed on April 19. And three 1,000-bed units are set to begin construction at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York Expo Center in the Bronx and CUNY College Staten Island.

Hopefully, these sites will be enough to handle the influx of patients and, before too long, they can be returned to their intended purpose.

Non-Essential Construction to Shut Down in NJ Friday April 10 at 8 p.m.

Today New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order that will close all non-essential construction sites in the state indefinitely as of 8 p.m. on Friday April 10.

Exclusions to that order include work at hospital and school sites, as well as transportation and utility projects, affordable housing, individual housing sites that can adhere to strict limits in workers that allow workers to be safely distanced from each other. Any emergency repairs and work needed to safely secure a construction site would also be allowed.

Following the governor’s announcement of the executive order, UTCA sent this statement:

“As we anticipated infrastructure work is deemed “essential” and our projects will continue to be allowed to operate.

The following are categories of work to be deemed essential; however, when the Executive order is available, we believe the language contained in the order will provide more flexibility regarding the continuance of construction projects.

  • Transportation projects, utility sector (both public & private) projects and most other public works projects.
  • Construction necessary for the delivery of healthcare services, hospitals, Pharmacies, Pharmaceutical etc.
  • School Construction
  • Residential projects with affordable housing components
  • Homeless shelter related projects
  • Individual housing sites that can adhere to social distancing of workers on-site at any given time
  • Work needed to safely secure a construction site”

New York Shuts Down Non-Essential Construction

Today governor Andrew Cuomo will order the closure non-essential construction sites around the state, as of Friday April 3. The new order will mean most work at residential and commercial buildings will not continue. Public works, transportation, and infrastructure projects will be exempt, along with construction involving hospitals and medical facilities and work on affordable housing.
All non-essential work must be shut down by Friday April 3 and sites will be closed until April 21.
There had been growing concern for the safety of workers in the pandemic. The Building Trades Employers Association (BTEA) supports the decision, the organization’s president and CEO Louis J. Colletti said in a statement.
“We have supported the governor’s efforts to keep construction sites open,” Colletti said. “However the current state of escalating COVID-19 cases confirms the Governor’s prudent action today.”

Constructions Sites to Remain Open as Delaware Begins Stay-at-Home Order

Delaware joins New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York with stay-at-home order from the governor. The restricted movement and closure of non-essential businesses began Tuesday at 8 a.m., but construction sites will remain open.
The state’s list of essential and non-essential businesses can be found here.

New Jersey Shuts Down Non-Essential Businesses; Construction Can Continue

Like Pennsylvania and New York, New Jersey has now shuttered all non-essential businesses. On Saturday governor Phil Murphy made the announcement, which exempts construction from the closures.

From Governor Murphy’s official order:

Examples of employees who need to be physically present at their work site in order to perform their duties include, but are not limited to, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, and other first responders, cashiers or store clerks, construction workers, utility workers, repair workers, warehouse workers, lab researchers, information technology maintenance workers, janitorial and custodial staff, and certain administrative staff.

“UTCA has been working in concert with the Governor’s office to ensure our industry can follow health safety guidelines and keep working. In a conversation with CEO Bob Briant, Jr., the Governor clarified that construction support services are also allowed to remain open,” according to a UTCA email.

In addition to working with the governor’s office, the UTCA has been trying help with the shortage of medical supplies, asking members to donate N95 masks. As of a tweet on Friday, 280 masks had been donated.

Coronavirus Response Suspends Some Construction; NY and NJ Governors Cite Need for Building Medical Facilities

As of 9 a.m. Tuesday March 17

For most companies in the construction industry, it remains business as usual with bid openings and construction continuing, states are stepping in to suspend some projects as part of the extraordinary measures being taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is suspending all construction projects through March 30, but PennDOT crews will be available for “critical functions and emergency maintenance.”

In Bergen County, NJ, county executive Jim Tedesco ordered all construction suspended and utility roadwork done only in emergency situations. It remains to be seen if this is enforceable or companies will follow Tedesco’s order or fight it.

But while non-emergency construction was being suspended in some places, the governors of New York and New Jersey are looking to turn college dorms, former nursing homes and other buildings into medical facilities to treat patients as hospitals are expected to be overwhelmed. Private developers, construction workers, and the National Guard are expected to be needed for these emergency projects. The plan is currently a backup in case the federal government does not meet his request to send the Army Corps of Engineers to build temporary hospitals.

Before state and local governments began enacting these more extreme measures to “flatten the curve” of the spread of the disease and its impact on hospitals, there have been reports of specific sites across the country shutting down after a worker tested positive and companies taking precautions to keep workers safe.

The Associated General Contractors has a webpage dedicated to the virus with information about symptoms and what constitutes a reportable workplace illness. “AGC will continue to monitor the situation and update the information on this page accordingly,” the site said.

Over the weekend, the Centers for Disease Control recommended no groups with more than 50 people for approximately eight weeks.