Begin Main Content Area

Construction Guidance During COVID-19 FAQs

Guidance for Businesses in the Construction Industry Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency

See a copy of the Guidance to the Construction Industry.

UPDATED 6/1/2020

 Accordion

Expand AllClick here for a more accessible version

​May new construction projects be started, or does this order only allow existing projects to continue? 

Click here to read more.

​Yes, new construction projects may start, provided that the protocols in the Construction Guidance and the DOH Business Safety Measures and Worker Safety Order are followed.

Does the construction guidance change for counties that have moved to the green reopening phase?

Click here to read more.

​Yes, the following requirements are changed in the green counties:

  • The are no limitations to the number of workers on residential and commercial job sites.

  • Gatherings can now be up to 25 people in yellow counties and 250 in green counties.  Social distancing should still be observed while gathering.

  • Workers may travel to the job site together, as long as the occupancy of the vehicle is limited to half the occupancy load and face masks are worn by the occupants.

When may businesses in the construction supply chain open?

Click here to read more.

Businesses in the construction supply chain who are not currently considered a life-sustaining business may again begin operations when the county in which they are located enters ‘Yellow’ in the phased approach to re-opening.

​A construction site isn’t following the safety requirements to prevent COVID-19.  How do I file a complaint?

Click here to read more.

All complaints against a business not following required COVID-19 protection measures, including a specific construction site, should be made using the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) Complaint Form.

Will the Department investigate a complaint if the name or location of the jobsite is not provided?

Click here to read more.

No, the name and address of the business must be included in the complaint.

​Is my employer required to provide masks/face coverings, or is that my responsibility?

Click here to read more.

​Yes, your employer is required to provide you with the required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The DOH has provided guidance on employers providing masks, and the ability for employees to use their own masks if a mask from the employer is unavailable, in the Worker Safety Order FAQs

Can my employer force me to work if they do not provide PPE or have safeguards in place that follow the Department of Health’s guidance?

Click here to read more.

​Employers are allowed to make business decisions only within the boundaries of the law. 

Employment in Pennsylvania is "at will," unless you have a contract with your employer, or you are a member of a union with a collective bargaining agreement. If you are a member of a union, contact your union representative. If you believe that you have been terminated inappropriately, you may wish to consult with an attorney familiar with labor and employment law.  

You can make a complaint against a business not following required COVID-19 protection measures using the Department of Health's Complaint Form.

​If I do not feel comfortable reporting to work, do I need to report to the worksite?

Click here to read more.

​If you are in a population particularly susceptible to COVID-19 and are directed by a medical professional or government official to quarantine or self-isolate, you may be eligible for paid leave mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Unemployment Compensation (UC), or existing paid leave available through your employer. Visit our COVID-19 Guidance & Resource site for more information on FFCRA and UC.

​If I arrive at a construction site and notice the worksite is not adhering to the Construction Guidance, what should I do?

Click here to read more.

​If you are concerned for your health and safety on the worksite, you should talk to your employer about following COVID-19 safety measures, including the Construction Guidance and the Worker Safety Order. You can make a complaint against a business not following the required COVID-19 protection measures using the DOH Complaint Form.

​If a sick employee arrives on site, what options do I have?

Click here to read more.

​Sick employees, including employees with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath, should immediately be separated from other employees and sent home.  Employees unable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons may be eligible for paid leave mandated by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), Unemployment Compensation (UC), or existing paid leave available through the employer. Visit our COVID-19 Guidance & Resource site for more information on FFCRA and UC.

Should I send home employees who were exposed to a sick employee?

Click here to read more.

​If a jobsite or business location has been exposed to person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, the location should follow the protocols in the DOH Worker Safety Order, which includes closing any areas where the infected person was working and beginning monitoring of all employees once the location has re-opened.  Employees without symptoms (asymptomatic) may be allowed to continue working after the location has been closed and sanitized according to the Worker Safety Order.

​Is jobsite screening mandatory?

Click here to read more.

Construction jobsites should follow the guidance in the DOH Worker Safety Order and the associated Worker Safety Order FAQs.  If a person who is known to have COVID-19 or is presumed to have COVID-19 has visited the jobsite, screening, including temperature checks, is mandatory. 

Where can I obtain information on jobsite screening services or equipment?

Click here to read more.

​You can find a list of suppliers that provide PPE and COVID-19 supplies on DCED’s Business-2-Business Interchange Directory.  

Am I required to wear gloves while using tools?

Click here to read more.

Gloves and enhanced cleaning procedures are required for shared tools and equipment. CDC has established guidelines for employers and workplaces. Follow the guidance in the DOH Worker Safety Order and the associated Worker Safety Order FAQs.  

​My construction firm has not established a written safety plan. Is the safety plan mandatory on a commercial construction site? 

Click here to read more.

​While not mandatory, written safety plans are strongly encouraged for all businesses in operation, including all types of construction.

​What qualifies a pandemic safety officer, and what qualifications must the pandemic safety officer possess? 

Click here to read more.

The pandemic safety officer is the individual designated by the business to provide information about how the employer is complying with all relevant orders and guidance. This individual should be familiar with all relevant orders and guidance and be able to provide workers on site with accurate, reliable guidance in this regard.

​Can the pandemic safety officer both serve as the safety officer and also be a working member of the construction crew?

Click here to read more.

Yes.

Is the pandemic safety officer required to be on site at all times?

Is a pandemic safety officer a requirement for residential construction?

​If a residential construction project is over 2,000 square feet, can the same non-residential guidelines apply?

Click here to read more.

​No. Residential projects must follow the residential guidelines, which state no more than four persons on the job site at the same time.

May outside visitors come on to the job site, such as spouses bringing lunch or potential clients?

Click here to read more.

​Outside visitors to the job site should be strictly limited. If an outside visitor is absolutely necessary, all visitors should follow CDC guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and the DOH Business Safety Order, including wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and staying home if they are sick. 

​My worksite is not following the COVID-19 safety requirements.  What should I do?

Click here to read more.

Concerns should first be raised to the worksite’s designated pandemic safety officer for commercial jobsites, or to the worker’s supervisor for residential jobsites.  If a remedy is not reached, a complaint can be made using the DOH Complaint Form.

​Is the square feet rule aggregate, per floor, or for any specific trade of the job?

Click here to read more.

​The rules for enclosed square footage are in aggregate and include all areas under one roof that are under active construction at the time. The rules cover all trades.

​Does the Department have any say in which local public construction projects are allowed to continue?

Click here to read more.

​For publicly funded projects, the state or local government entity funding the project must determine if the project should proceed.

​May my organization’s construction training or apprenticeship program resume?

Click here to read more.

​Yes, as long as all activities follow the safety guidelines in the Guidance to Construction, and that any classroom portions of the training follow safety measures in the Worker Safety Order

​Do architects and engineers count towards the number of individuals allowed on the site?

Click here to read more.

​So long as the individual is not directly engaged in construction activity and require only temporary access to the site, they may be excluded from the total number of individuals allowed on site, and do not count toward the limitation.

​Do Heavy and Highway Construction projects have the same limits to numbers of individuals allowed on site?

Click here to read more.

​No. Heavy and Highway Construction projects are typically non-enclosed, and thus are not subject to the per-site worker restrictions.  

​Will townhome construction sites allow four workers per unit?

Click here to read more.

​For townhouses and duplexes under one roof, the four-worker limitation is in place until the dividing fire separation wall is erected separating each residential unit. Once the wall is erect, then each residential unit is limited to four workers and must adhere to the restrictions enumerated in the construction guidance. 

​When is a tilt up project considered enclosed? When is the roof is on? 

Click here to read more.

​A structure is considered enclosed when the roof is on.

​Is constructing a roof structure with no walls, such as a pavilion, considered exterior? 

Click here to read more.

​A pavilion is an unenclosed structure.

Do worker limits apply to work being done on the exterior of the property?

Click here to read more.

Work being conducted to the exterior of the project may utilize additional workers and does not count towards the worker limitations for that jobsite.  This applies to both residential and commercial projects.

​Can a contractor open its office location to conduct business?

Click here to read more.

Yes, as long as the safety measures in the DOH Business Safety Order are followed. When possible, those who can telework should do so.

​Is a construction business permitted to operate in its permanent work/office location?

Click here to read more.

Yes, as long as the safety measures in the DOH Business Safety Order are followed. When possible, those who can telework should do so.

Are modular homes and manufactured homes considered “construction” activities and may they resume?

Click here to read more.

Yes, activities related to modular and manufactured homes, including their sale, may resume.