Discover important COVID-19 updates for licensed residential builders including information on renewing your licence, Continuing Professional Development, financial support and useful resources for construction site safety.
Construction Industry Resources during COVID-19
The Provincial Health Officer, Dr Bonnie Henry has provided guidance about operating construction sites in British Columbia.
The guidelines, updated on April 27, 2020, highlight precautions that must be taken on construction sites. This includes:
- There should be no more than 50 people in the same space in any circumstances.
- Where possible, employees should maintain a distance of two metres apart from each other.
- Post signage that limits the number of occupants in any elevator to four people at a time.
- Reduce in-person meetings and other gatherings and hold site meetings in open spaces or outside.
- Increase the number of handwashing stations and post signage that identifies their location.
- Maintain a list of employees that are currently working on sites and update this list daily.
- All common areas and surfaces should be cleaned at the end of each day. Examples include washrooms, shared offices, common tables, desks, light switches and door handles.
- Self-isolation can end 14 days after the last contact or return to Canada if you have not developed symptoms.
- With or without a history of travel, if you have respiratory symptoms that can be managed at home, self-isolate at home for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms. After 10 days, if your temperature is normal and you feel better, you can return to your routine activities.
- Coughing may persist for several weeks, so a cough alone does not mean you need to continue to self-isolate for more than 10 days.
As the Provincial Health Authority considers residential construction an essential service, licensed residential builders need to be aware of best practices for ensuring construction sites are managed correctly and safely. Licensed residential builders continuing to work on construction sites must maintain physical distancing when doing so and follow the guidance of the provincial government.
Builders must also consider increased hygiene protocols, managing presumed COVID-19 cases and working in private residences safely.
The Building and Safety Standards of B.C. website includes a range of resources and guidance to help builders navigate the COVID-19 pandemic including:
- Construction site safety
- Support and resources for construction industry groups
- BC Building Code questions
The BC Construction Safety Alliance (BCCSA) also has resources to guide builders through these aspects of construction safety including:
- What COVID-19 prevention procedures to take whilst working on a construction site
- How to ensure enhanced surface cleaning and disinfection
- How to perform a COVID-19 site inspection
- What to do if physical distancing is not possible
- How to safely perform work in private residences
Builders can also find other resources such as signage and posters on the BCCSA website.
Federal and provincial financial supports are available for small businesses, including builders, affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These supports for eligible businesses include:
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) offers forgivable loans to eligible commercial property owners to help reduce rent in April, May, and June by at least 75% for qualifying small business tenants.
- CECRA includes a moratorium on commercial evictions during the months of April, May and June.
- CECRA launches in mid-May
- A 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy is available to qualifying businesses, for up to 3 months, retroactive to March 15, 2020.
- This helps businesses keep and return workers to the payroll
- Organizations that do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy may qualify for the previously announced wage subsidy of 10% of remuneration paid from March 18, 2020 to before June 20, 2020
- The EI work sharing program provides EI benefits to workers who agree to reduce their normal working hours as a result of developments beyond the control of their employers
- Eligibility of these agreements has been extended to 76 weeks, eligibility requirements have been eased, and the application process has been streamlined
Changes to taxes:
- Some provincial and federal taxes have been deferred, delayed or reduced.
- The Canada Revenue Agency will allow all businesses to defer, until August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after March 18, 2020 and before September 2020
- Effective immediately, many provincial tax filing and payment deadlines are deferred to September 30, 2020
- B.C. relief is available for Commercial Property Owners and Tenants
For more information on financial support for small businesses visit the B.C. government webpage.
The Urban Development Institute website includes information to help licensed residential builders understand the current status of municipal operations across the Lower Mainland during the COVID-19 pandemic. The web page includes up-to-date information on:
- Facility closures
- Council meetings and public hearings
- Applications and permits
- Property taxes
- Other important municipal information
Key information is available for other organizations such as Land Title & Survey Authority and Metro Vancouver.
The Condominium Homeowners Association of BC (CHOA) website has a range of helpful guidance resources for managing COVID-19 in multi-unit residential buildings. Strata councils and condominium owners can use these resources to help ensure buildings are safe for all residents:
Online Education Opportunities for Licensed Residential Builders
The current situation surrounding COVID-19 has resulted in many, if not all, in-person educational events and training being postponed. Education providers are stepping up to provide online learning opportunities to assist Licensed Builders in obtaining their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits. You can find a wide range of online training opportunities on the Education Registry available on our BC Housing website. Select “online course” from the training format drop down list to search for learning opportunities.
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