All Construction Work Now Permitted in Austin

The City of Austin has confirmed that all construction work is now permitted in Austin.  The City issued Supplemental Guidance late yesterday based on Governor Abbott’s March 31 Executive Order, confirming that it will no longer prohibit residential or commercial construction.  The City stressed in a memo to the public that safety precautions must still be observed:

Governor Abbott’s Stay at Home orders regarding essential services and activities include some differences from the City’s previous Order, specifically regarding construction.  Consistent with the Governor’s orders, all construction is considered essential.  Committee review is no longer required to determine eligibility for project continuation.

The City’s worker protection requirements remain in place.  Austin Code inspectors will continue to monitor construction sites to ensure that social distancing and recommended hygiene practices are being observed.  The Supplemental Guidance Based on Executive Order No.GA-14 provides additional information regarding compliance with the Order.”

Travis County has issued its own supplemental guidance permitting all construction that also now places the focus on safety.  That order can be found at https://traviscountytx.gov/images/docs/covid-order-construction-industry-guidance.pdf.

Safety Requirements

Per the City’s latest order, construction workers must maintain social distance requirements and practice good hygiene, as outlined by the CDC and local health authorities.  For job sites with more than 10 people, the Site Manager shall:

  1. Post a notice showing the sizes and types of shift crews on site and how the Site Manager is limiting crew sizes and shifting rotations;
  2. Conduct a jobsite pre-screening of each worker’s health;
  3. Ensure there is a handwashing station for each 15 workers on site;
  4. Prohibit the use of community water coolers;
  5. Ensure shared tools are disinfected between users while common areas and collective touchpoints are disinfected twice a day; and
  6. Post a notice with the social distancing requirements once such signage is made available by Travis County.

If a worker contracts the COVID-19 virus, the worker is to immediately return home, and the Site Manager shall notify the Austin/Travis County Health Authority and follow its directions regarding the sick worker.

Additionally, the Site Manager shall keep a list and contact information of every worker that enters the jobsite for the purposes of identifying and notifying workers that shared a jobsite with someone who contracts COVID-19.