Sources: National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Alexandria, Va.; Associated General Contractors of America, Washington, D.C.; CP staff
Major construction material and product groups, along with contractor counterparts, have implored federal, state and local officials to exempt building and nonbuilding work from business shutdowns as part of efforts to contain the coronavirus spread.
“Public works construction, roads and highways, transportation infrastructure, and the materials used for these projects are critical to our nation’s ability to deliver medical supplies and services, food and goods, and clean water and energy to the American people, especially as we address this pandemic,” notes an umbrella producer and contractor coalition in a letter to the White House and all governors. “Our collective members are already going to great lengths and following the recommended public health guidelines to ensure the infrastructure needs of our country continue to be met.”
“Shutting down the ability of our industries to serve our nation and maintain our physical infrastructure will impact the economic viability of the entire nation, not to mention numerous businesses. Our industries have long been critical to the vitality of our nation and the backbone of our economy. During this critical time in our nation’s history, it is imperative that construction is characterized as an ‘essential industry’ exempted from any current or future mandatory shelter-in-place orders or quarantines,” adds the coalition, members of which include the American Concrete Pipe Association, National Concrete Masonry Association, National Precast Concrete Association, National Ready Mixed Concrete Association, Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute, and Portland Cement Association.
Concurrently, Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer of another coalition member, Associated General Contractors of America, issued a joint statement with North America’s Building Trades Unions President Sean Garvey, echoing producer sentiments: “Government officials at all levels should treat the construction industry and the work it performs as vital and essential to the critical industries that must remain in operation. Construction workers provide an invaluable economic service, maintaining and improving the nation’s infrastructure, including critically important energy and communication systems, roads and bridges, and police, fire and health care facilities.”
“Construction workers’ unique skills are essential now and in the coming weeks to construct, maintain, and repair critical infrastructure, and to build temporary health facilities and retrofit and expand existing ones,” they contend. “Labor and management partners continue to monitor and provide guidance on all recommended health and safety job site precautions for construction workers so that proper measures are deployed.”