Work resumes on Quebec residential construction sites after coronavirus shutdown

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Residential construction projects with a deadline for delivery of July 31 or earlier could resume on Monday, as the coronavirus pandemic continues. As Brayden Jagger Haines reports, home building was deemed an essential service by the Quebec government in a bid to avoid a housing crisis.

After a three-week mandatory shutdown, the reinstatement applies for work sites for residential construction units that were expected to be ready by July 31. It is estimated that between 20,000 and 25,000 residential housing and condo units need to be completed by that date.

The Quebec Minister of Labour issued the COVID-19 Guide – Construction sites to help with planning work to respect social distancing, especially concerning tasks that absolutely need to be within 2 meters.

According to the guide, employers “must do everything possible to plan the work to respect a social distance of two metres between workers. When that isn’t possible, “the worker must therefore always avoid touching his face, and he must cough in his elbow.”

In addition, if individuals cannot comply with a social distancing regulations, then they must:

Favor small stable teams to avoid the multiplication of interactions.

Keep the same position during tasks as much as possible.

Avoid sharing tools and equipment.

Clean tools and equipment at each shift, with the cleaning products usually used

The provincial minister of labour notified the Quebec Construction Association that he will revise the Guide to clarify procedures when tasks “absolutely require workers to be within two meters of another person for a period of more than 15 minutes without physical barrier:

Wearing a procedural mask (surgical) and protective glasses (eye protection) or a visor should be preferred in addition to the gloves usually worn. This measure is recommended only if wearing glasses or a visor does not pose a risk to workers’ safety (e.g. problem of light diffraction).

These protections will not be necessary if, once only in the day, the works not respecting the rules of social distancing are of a duration of less than 15 minutes.

However, “if the works which require a short duration (less than 15 minutes) closer than 2 meters are likely to happen more than once during the day, the wearing of the above-mentioned equipment will be considered compulsory.”

Vehicles will not be allowed to have more than half of their seating capacity occupied and job sites will also have to be rearranged so as to keep work safe.

Guillaume Houle, a spokesperson for the Quebec Construction Association, says new perimeters will mean fewer contractors will be allowed on worksites at the same time.

“If you are on a site and you have 10 different jobs, now you will have to reorganize to have one or two at a time,” he said.

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