Times have certainly changed since our last e-newsletter. We have cancelled or postponed all BIA meetings and events for half of March and all of April. BIA staff is holding meetings with association, council and event leaders via teleconference and video conference tools to keep information flowing and to determine the next steps as we move forward.

Compiled here is an update on our meetings and events, news from local jurisdictions on permitting and inspections, and the latest from local, state and federal government. We worked to keep construction deemed an essential business so that our members could continue to help homeowners and provide housing, and we want all of you to stay safe while keeping busy. Included here are resources to help you do that.

Together, we will get through this

The BIA office is operating with limited staff Monday through Friday, and those not at the office are working remotely. Call (803) 256-6238 to reach a member of the staff or send an e-mail. We're here to help you and your business in any way we can.
Construction is an Essential Service
NAHB, the HBA of SC and the BIA of Central SC have been working with government officials on all levels to keep commercial and residential construction and related activities listed as Essential Services in the event of a Stay Home order being issued. The City of Columbia has issued such an order and it went into place at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, March 29. Per the ordinance and its included list of Essential Services, Commercial and Residential Construction are deemed essential. See the ordinance here.

We are keeping in contact with local jurisdictions concerning their permitting and building inspection practices during this pandemic. See this article at our website for the latest updates .

 Contact Earl McLeod if you experience anything different than what is posted.
Stay Safe and Healthy on the Job
As many construction workers across the Midlands continue to stay on the job, their safety and health remains our top priority. The industry continues to adhere to all public health guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. Working on a new unfinished home site occurs primarily outdoors and does not involve going onto a location occupied by residents or a public location, and there is minimal (if any) physical or transactional contact with customers. If work does continue on home building sites, The BIA urges members to follow  job site coronavirus safety guidance  recently published by the Construction Industry Safety Coalition.

We urge everyone to use safe practices on the jobsite to ensure the health and safety of all workers. NAHB has put together a jobsite poster that can be displayed at every location for workers to see and follow.

Click to see a message from BIA President Thom Chumney

The Construction Industry Safety Coalition (CISC) has published guidance for construction employers, employees and contractors on coronavirus exposure prevention, preparedness and response. Access the resources in NAHBs   Coronavirus Preparedness and Response section .

We urge you to schedule trades so they do not overlap and review social distancing measures with those on the site at the same time. One complaint or photo/video of workers acting poorly could result in the removal of "Essential Service" status for construction services.
M ost BIA Meetings and Events are cancelled or postponed for now.
But, see the calendar at our website as we are planning virtual council meetings and webinars in the near future.
Small Business Loans are Available
Last week, Governor McMaster requested federal assistance for South Carolina small businesses from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), which has been approved. As such, we want to share SBA's guidance for how you can apply for a federal loan. General information is below, and the SBA's full information sheet is here .
  • Any Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • The information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available once there is a declaration for designated areas within a state, to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.
  • These loans may are for paying fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills impacted by a disaster. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • For additional information, please contact the SBA Disaster Assistance Sevice Center: 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.  

What are you doing differently?
These are difficult and strange times we find ourselves in. Despite that, you must adjust and continue to build your businesses and we want to help.

Many of you have changed the way in which you conduct business in response to the latest regulations or for your own personal safety and for the safety of your colleagues, friends and family. How are you conducting your business differently? Do you have different hours? Is your showroom open by appointment only?

We encourage you to login at BIAofCentralSC.com and update your company information with any changes. Also, please e-mail Bin Wilcenski if you are open for business and he will add your company to the special "Open for Business" page of our on-line directory . If you're company is open, we want you on that page.

We'll share this page on our social media channels, on our website and through our email distribution list.
BIA of Central SC, 625 Taylor Street, Columbia, SC 29201