Detroit resuming essential construction projects, starting with affordable housing

The city of Detroit is moving ahead on construction projects and starting with building affordable housing, officials announced Wednesday.

Per city guidelines, contractors building projects purchased by the City of Detroit will be required to follow the city’s COVID-19 Safe Workplace Standards for Construction Sites.

Contractors will need to create policies for their worksites with at least five elements:

  • Initial testing of each worker for COVID-19
  • Daily worker temperature check, health screening, and monitoring
  • Workplace distancing and hygiene protocols
  • Mandatory use of masks and other necessary PPE
  • Thorough and frequent cleaning of worksites and vehicles.

Duggan said the city will back contractors in getting the PPE they need as the city can get it in bulk.

Worksites include all city of Detroit facilities and construction sites for projects that are purchased by Detroit, such as paving projects, landscaping, demolitions, building improvement, and water-main installations.

Construction can only begin after the contractor's policy is approved by Chief Medical Consultant Robert Dunne.

Anyone physically present at a worksite is required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test, must be screened daily before entering the worksite, and much show some sign that they have been screened, like a sticker or a wristband.

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These safety requirements will be enforced through inspections from the City of Detroit’s Buildings Safety Engineering and Environment Department (BSEED) for building construction, Department of Public Works (DPW) for right of way construction, and Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) for water/sewer utility work. Non-compliance may result in immediate contract termination.

The full requirements can be viewed here.

“With this new program that the mayor and his staff rolled out for us we are so happy to come back and to have a safe working environment,” said Kerlin Blaise, executive chairman and owner of Blaze Contracting.

Contractors are accepting cuts. For example, the first 15-30 minutes of a worker’s day will have to be spent waiting in line to get their temperatures checked each day.

“All 16 of these contractors are bearing an expense for the overall good of the community,” Duggan said.

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