Is Construction an Essential Service? Guidance from BIAW
Under the Gov. Inslee's guidance issued March 25, commercial and residential construction are considered non-essential businesses and are therefore not permitted to continue. However, an exception to the order allows for construction in the following limited circumstances:

  1. Construction related to essential activities as described in the order;
  2. To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; o
  3. To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.

If your construction business falls into one of these categories, then you can continue. Otherwise, you and your workers should stay at home pursuant to the governor's Executive Order.

If you’re a worker or a business wanting to know if your business is “essential” or you need clarification whether your business is “essential”,   complete this form >>
Are there certain operations that can occur even for businesses classified as non-essential?
Non-essential services, such as construction may continue in limited circumstances and must follow the current CDC COVID-19 health and social distancing protocols.

Does my circumstance qualify?  It depends and is a grey area. Ask these questions:

  • Is it necessary to prevent spoliation or avoid damage? (i.e. lumber warping, wind and rain damage)
  • Is it necessary to correct an unsafe condition? (i.e. trip hazards, unfilled holes, etc.)
  • Is it an emergency repair?
  • Is it necessary for an "essential activity" to continue? (i.e. agriculture, healthcare, etc.)
  • Is it for publicly funded low-income housing or a public entity or government function?

If yes, these activities may continue as long a social distancing and COVID-19 safeguards are in place and followed on the jobsite. COVID-19 safeguards are in addition to existing construction safety requirements.
If my business can operate under Inslee's guidance, what should I do?
In accordance with the Guidance Memorandum and local guidelines on allowable work, the CWHBA recommends that businesses:

  • Immediately do an inventory of each project against the clarification document to determine minimally necessary work to “prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions.” Document the project items and activities needed to get the structure to what is minimally necessary, so no further risk of damage or unsafe condition exists. Keep this inventory document on site to refer to if approached by enforcement officials.

  • Proceed as quickly as possible to complete the necessary items to the point which no further of risk damage or unsafe condition exists and continue to follow all the protocols of physical distancing, cleaning, etc., as prescribed by State order and CDC recommendations.

If you are asked by law enforcement to leave your site, respectfully explain why you believe you are able to continue securing your site under the Governor’s limited exemption. If you are still asked to leave pack up quickly, securing what you are allowed to and leave the site.
As you proceed please keep these three items in mind:

  • You need to be able to justify how what you are doing fits within the allowable exemptions; the red face test

  • You do not want to be a front page headline as the business that is defying the order while everyone else is staying home to protect our community

  • We are working with the governor’s office to get these restrictions relaxed, so we must act very carefully and responsibly.
WA construction industry advocates for...

"Halting residential construction could exacerbate communities’ ability to respond to housing shortages and homelessness"...

Read more
With exemption, public projects continue...

[Construction can continue] for projects that "further a public purpose related to a public entity."

Read more
Share Your Story with Us
In our efforts to advocate on your behalf and provide the best resources, we want to know and hear about first-hand accounts of the direct effect of the decisions at the state level. 
Watch Out for Fake OSHA Inspectors
There are reports of fake safety inspectors hitting businesses that are open, allowed to continue, or finalizing spoliation prevention, etc issuing fines and demanding immediate payment. Demanding “OSHA" penalty payment on site is a sure sign of a con -- No OSHA inspector collects penalties ever, especially during an onsite visit.

Call L&I immediately if you see this happening in our area: 1-800-423-7233
Fake Proclamation Posted on Olympia Businesses
The city of Olympia responded strongly to a fake proclamation posted on downtown businesses overnight, calling it a “shameful” act in a time of fear and confusion about coronavirus. Read More >>
Scammers Hard at Working, Preying on Fears
Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a new warning to Washingtonians about scammers looking to capitalize on fears around the COVID-19. Read More >>
Can't Pay Your Workers' Comp Premiums? L&I Can Help
To help during hard times, L&I can work with financially distressed businesses impacted by the economy, natural disasters, or other serious problems to arrange a payment plan for workers' compensation premiums . Businesses that are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak and have not paid their most recent quarterly premiums should call L&I for help. Learn More Here >>
Webinar: CARES Act Stimulus Package and WA Unemployment Update for Businesses
This 90-minute FREE webinar will cover information you need to know as an employer to make choices about your business and your employees. It will address components of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Relief Act), including grants, loans, tax credits, an overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and Washington state unemployment options. Juli Bacon, BIAW member and president of JB Consulting Systems, LLC, will be your presenter.
View Recordings of Previous BIAW Membership Town Hall Webinars:
Crisis Connections
Here, you can get connected to crisis services like applying for food, child care, cash, long-term care and health care.
Turn to Who You Trust
Chelsea Snodgrass , Executive Officer

Jake Mayson , Government Affairs Director

Emily Jameson , Member Services Director, South Central

Cheryl Nelson , Member Services Director, North Central
We are shifting our sails and will begin to focus on ways to prevent further hardships for our members.  We want to see our members recover and thrive, as 2020 was looking to promise. (You can find current city and county permitting status by visiting our Response Page here.)
CWHBA Events on Hold Through April
In response to the public health threat of COVID-19, we have postponed any gathering or planned events cancelled through the month of April. We will continue communicating with those affected by these event cancellations and working to develop a plan, as we get better understanding of the long term affect. The upcoming events in May are tentative at this time and we will regularly keep you updated with decisions for cancellation or postponement. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
CWHBA Yakima | 3301 W. Nob Hill Blvd., Yakima, WA 98902
CWHBA Wenatchee | 25 N. Wenatchee Ave., Suite 207-B, Wenatchee, WA 98801
Office - 509.454.4006 | follow us on social media  @CWHBA  |