The residential construction industry is gearing up to restart on Monday, and some things will have to change after the break caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
All of Quebec’s construction sites were closed on March 25 on orders from the Legault government. As of Monday, residential construction can reopen for those contractors who have to deliver their units by July 31.
In an interview on Friday, Guillaume Houle, spokesperson for the Quebec Construction Association, said that the “majority” of the contractors concerned are “looking forward to going back to work,” but admitted it would be a lie to say it’s all of them.
Uncertainty remains for many workers on how to proceed.
“It won’t be like before,” said Houle.
How does one install kitchen cabinets while respecting a distance of two metres between workers? If two workers must approach each other to perform a task, what precautionary measures should they take?
Work guidelines have just been published by the Commission for standards, equity, health and safety at work (CNESST) to answer several of these questions.
“A lot of discussions will take place on Monday,” said Houle, who said adapting the ways of doing things and reassuring everyone will be required.
Houle said some work sites may not start up again on Monday and will wait another week, because the production chain, like the suppliers of materials and of windows for example, also needs to relaunch.
“We’re giving ourselves a week to plan things well” while respecting the CNESST guide, he said.
Houle said he’s aware that this part of residential construction will serve as an example or benchmark to measure the success of the other recovery efforts.
“Hence the importance of properly implementing the CNESST guide. If we start all wrong, it could jeopardize the revival of other projects,” said Houle.