Special Message to the Members of the HBRAMA

COVID-19 and the Residential Construction Industry

The HBRAMA is aware of the challenges that many of you are encountering as both the state and cities and towns act to protect the health and safety of the residents of Massachusetts during this unprecedented crisis. Many governmental entities have already decided to shut down all non-essential services, while some have begun to allow employees to telecommute. Such actions will likely lead to disruptions or delays in your business operations in a variety of ways.

We have already contacted officials in the Baker-Polito Administration, the Board of Building Regulations and Standards, and House and Senate leadership, to communicate to them how the governor’s emergency declaration is affecting homebuilders, remodelers and residential developers. For example, we notified state officials that some local building departments had indefinitely suspended code inspections and the issuance of building and occupancy permits. I am pleased to tell you that the Department of Public Safety and Inspections promptly issued guidance to local building officials about how to fulfill their statutory responsibilities to issue permits and conduct inspections.

The HBRAMA has also raised a concern about the ability of local planning, zoning and other boards to conduct public hearings when acting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity, such as hearings on special permit applications and variance applications. The association is working with NAIOP, Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Municipal Association on language to be included in either legislation or executive order to address this subject.

Finally, the HBRAMA is actively engaged with the Administration and the Legislature as they are in the process of developing a package of bills designed to mitigate harm to businesses, employers and employees in the Commonwealth.

We w ill continue to provide regular updates on our efforts on your behalf during this emergency. Be sure to also check the association website ( www.hbrama.com ) for updates under HOT TOPICS. You can click here for an update regarding: State Issues Guidance for Building Officials COVID-19 .

Matt Anderson, President