CISA Updates Guidance on Essential Construction Work
April 21, 2020 — In light of the ongoing nationwide COVID-19 response, on April 17, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) released Version 3.0 of its Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce.
This Guidance reinforces the notion that construction is undoubtedly an essential activity during this time.
While much of Version 3.0 restates Version 2.0, some key additions and provisions for the construction industry include the following:
Residential/Shelter Facilities and Services: Perhaps the most expansive and most important revision to Version 3.0 falls in the Residential/Shelter Facilities Guidance. Version 3.0 revises the prior version to more explicitly include commercial and residential construction.
The revised bullet states that essential workers are: “Workers performing housing and commercial construction related activities, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting, and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and enable the continuity of the construction industry (e.g., allow qualified private third-party inspections in case of federal government shutdown).
Public Works and Infrastructure: Version 3.0 includes two new provisions related to construction of public works and infrastructure. First, it expressly defines as essential all workers that “support the construction, maintenance, or rehabilitation of critical infrastructure.” It then goes on to also include workers supporting construction material production, testing, delivery, and inspection as similarly essential.
Aside from these revisions, many sections of Version 3.0 retain definitions that clearly indicate the essential nature of public and commercial construction. For example:
Energy: The definition of essential workers includes those needed to construct, repair, or maintain energy infrastructure, and also incorporates those who support construction in this sector as well.
Electricity: Version 3.0 retains the previous inclusion of construction (and workers that support construction) of electrical infrastructure and facilities.
Petroleum/Natural Gas/Other Fuels: Version 3.0 retains the previous inclusion of construction (and workers that support construction) of infrastructure and drilling operations for petroleum, natural gas, or other liquid fuels.
Transportation and Logistics: The definition of essential workers included those needed to construct or maintain transportation and logistics functions.
Communications and IT: Version 3.0 retains the previous definition of all workers responsible for construction/restoration of communications or IT infrastructure as essential workers.
Community or Government Based Operations: To reiterate the importance of construction generally—all workers tasked with construction permitting, inspections, licensing, or other oversight are all also deemed essential workers.
Commercial Facilities: Version 3.0 retains the litany of essential worker categories that support the construction industry. For example, all workers that support the building material supply chain, workers in hardware and building material stores, workers servicing or installing mechanical equipment, and workers in the distribution chain for construction goods.
For more information, please contact Andy Harris.
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