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Failing to Distance Socially Can Cost You $100,000+ (Seriously)

By Leonard Klingen

MUNICIPALITIES ENFORCING CDC DISTANCING RECOMMENDATIONS

Miami-Dade County’s Emergency Order 13-20 requires all open businesses to take reasonable measures to ensure that appropriate social distancing is maintained.  This includes floor markings at six foot intervals and other visible means to allow people to maintain proper distancing.

That precaution will work in an existing building, but one of the characteristics of a building under construction is that it changes every day.  Floor marking just isn’t possible, but other safety measures are. These include attending morning meetings no more than 10 at a time and holding them outdoors, not sharing tools among workers, asking workers to leave their boots at the site, and staggering shifts where two trades are working in the same close areas.  Most importantly, construction employees are required to make reasonable efforts to keep six feet apart, a distance almost anyone in the industry can accurately estimate without floor markings or a tape measure.

The Miami-Dade Police Department will be monitoring open businesses, including restaurant pick-up windows, gas stations and construction sites, and will be shutting down those that are not enforcing distancing requirements.

CONTRACTORS COMMITTING TO COMPLIANCE

On March 23, the South Florida AGC issued a Joint Construction Industry Commitment, signed by 30 leading contractors and developers, pledging to enforce a comprehensive set of regulations designed to meet and exceed local compliance requirements.  Click here. The City of Coral Gables has reproduced this set of regulations almost verbatim and turned it into its own set of “COVID 19 – Construction Job Sites Mandatory Compliance Guidelines,” which opens with the admonition that “Jobsites not adhering to the guidelines below will be shut down until further notice.”  Click here.

WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Construction of a residential high-rise is nearing the point of dry-in, there are framers, electricians, plumbers and HVAC workers all over the building, and the job is just barely on schedule.  The project is worth about $35 million and there are heavy liquidated damages that flow down to the subcontractors. Local authorities inspect the project.  They find five workers in a corner enjoying a friendly and sociable lunch break and none of them is more than two or three feet apart. The local authorities shut down the project immediately and send home all the workers.  All jobsite activities come to a complete halt and only a skeleton crew remains to clean up and secure the site.

So what

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