Michigan builders go back to work May 7

The Home Builders Association (HBA) of Northern Michigan, which serves the counties of Emmet, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Otsego, has been working diligently with the HBA of Michigan and other HBAs around the state to give Governor Whitmer assurances that building contractors are prepared to go back to work in a safe manner.

At Whitmer’s press conference on Wednesday April 29, the Governor announced that she would sign an executive order on May 1 to allow residential and commercial construction to resume on May 7.

This will be good news for the 1500 licensed builders in Northern Michigan who are anxious to get back to work.

“We have been sharing a lot of information with contractors on how to get ready to return to work safely,” commented Janet Chambers, Executive Officer of the HBA of Northern Michigan (HBANM). “The HBA of Michigan, along with many building supply companies, have produced videos, handouts, posters and worker training materials for contractors so they will be compliant with MIOSHA and other health and safety standards.”

Some of the resources contractors can access are located on the HBA of Northern Michigan website at www.hbanm.com.

Materials include posters for the worksite, planning templates, taped webinars on how to keep a job site safe and train workers, where to get personal protective equipment (PPE) and other resources to keep workers and homeowners safe in our COVID-19 environment.

Some of the HBANM members with COVID-19 workplace information listed on the HBANM website are Preston Feather Building Centers, Ferguson Enterprises, and James Hardie Building Products. Chambers notes that other HBANM members like Home Depot, Builder’s First Source and Lowes, as well as smaller local building supply companies like Ace Hardware and Barden Lumber, also have PPE available to contractors.

In a webinar presented by the HBA of Michigan on April 30, some of the precautions listed include wearing disposable gloves, wearing a face mask if working within six feet of another worker, sanitizing shared equipment, and worker health screenings. The Governor’s office, or one of the committees working on contractor guidelines, will most likely have specific guidelines for contractors to follow before returning to work. These resources will be posted at www.hbaofmichigan.com.

“We are encouraging all contractors to make sure they have a solid safety plan in place before starting work on May 7. We will be announcing any state guidelines as they become available,” said Chambers. “We also suggest that contractors talk to their employees and sub-contractors about the new requirements and have a communications plan on how the contractor will interface with customers. “Habits in the workplace will need to change going forward to create a safe work site and to insure that any workers do not bring COVID-19 home, if they are inadvertently exposed. We are here to help contractors, and our other business members, access and understand COVID-19 resources and guidelines.”

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