How to act in construction sites against Cororavirus: Guidelines and advice

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Works in progress against the coronavirus COVID 19

Many professionals in the architecture sector; architects, technical architects, engineers, masons, etc. They are currently directing construction sites and working "on site" side by side with colleagues.

Obviously, the exceptional situation that affects us due to the pandemic of the coronavirus COVID 19 At the national level, it will affect us in one way or another from a professional perspective and we will have to make a series of strong decisions.

Professional associations are rushing to formalize action protocols for works in the face of the pandemic Y how we should act in a work when a case of coronavirus appears.

The Higher Council of Colleges of Architects of Spain (CSCAE) and the General Council of Technical Architecture (CGATE) have just launched some guidelines for action for the Facultative Directorate on works in progress in the face of the health emergency situation created by COVID-19.

The professional associations of architecture launch a guide of recommendations in the face of the coronavirus that is urgent pending an official protocol

The purpose of the recommendations guide is to clarify and interpret in the professional field of technical architects and architects, the relevant actions in a work to guarantee the health of all people in the face of the coronavirus and that they intervene in the building process and their own obligations.

Although we are going to clarify all the guidelines to be followed a little later, we must first recognize what the obligations of the Facultative Directorate are, as we already reported in the expert report article and the architect expert.

What are the responsibilities of the Facultative Directorate

It is very important to remember and know what the responsibility of the Facultative Directorate is and for that we have very good schemes, applicable regulations of Spain: (Clicking on the image opens a new window to see it better)

Due to the importance of the previous and the following diagram, as well as the quality of the document that collects the information, you can access the Report "Critical analysis of responsibilities of the different agents involved and Integration of the Prevention of Occupational Risks in the Building Process" … HERE. The agents involved in a work execution would be:

Once we are a little clearer about our responsibilities on site (interesting article on how to validate projects before starting works with 32 useful files), we have to see the guide provided by professional associations.

Steps to follow at a construction site in the face of cororavirus

Be aware that professional associations have published a guide of recommendations which is of an urgent nature to facilitate their work for technicians, it will always be waiting for an official protocol based on such an exceptional and changing situation.

Remember first, that we are facing some suggestions proposed by the CSCAE and CGATE schools at an exceptional moment and that:

  • The guidelines are only recommendations.
  • That they do not take into account what is published and established by the labor and health authorities.
  • That nowhere is it established that the contagion of an employee entails the closure of an entire workplace.

1.- Communicate risk prevention measures derived from COVID-19

The architect or technical architect who holds the status of coordinator in matters of health and safety during the execution of the work or assume these functions as part of the optional management of the same (obligations referred to in article 9 of RD 1627/1997, of October 24). It will request the contractor and project manager so that within the scope of their obligations communicate the risk prevention measures derived from COVID-19 that have been adopted, and if such measures in their opinion, and of the construction company's own or third-party prevention services, are sufficient to guarantee the health of the workers and people who come to the work.

I know inform the builder, the project manager, and where appropriate, preventive resources, the right that assists workers, provided for in article 21.2 of Law 31/1995 of November 8, on the Prevention of Occupational Risks, to interrupt their activity and leave the workplace if they consider that said activity involves a serious risk to their life or health.

2.- What preventive resources do we have and how will the health of the workers be guaranteed?

It must be specified by the contractor, the project manager or the person designated by the contractor and preventive resources If the entire work or certain activities of the work can be carried out with said health guarantees to preserve and guarantee the health measures and conditions of the workers and personnel who come to the work

3.- What measures are adopted according to official health protocols

Measurements and conditions that must necessarily be adopted to guarantee the health of workers and site personnel and prevent the spread of the virus must be those required by the official health protocols and specifically, those indicated by the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health from HERE, without prejudice to those indicated by the Autonomous and Local Authorities or those developed by the contract itself. In any case, and in particular, it must be agreed:

  • Guarantee the safety distance between workers of a meter.
  • Avoid agglomerations or groups of workerss, that suppose a contact between them, both in the work and in all the dependencies and facilities of the same.
  • Set the protection protocols for workers and site personnel and also ctemperature measurement controls at the entrance of it.
  • As soon as the slightest indication is found that any worker or work personnel present disease symptoms, the established sanitary protocol will be rigorously followed. To confirm that Someone has tested positive for the disease, the work will be stopped immediately and all members of the facultative management will be notified, as well as subcontractors and freelancers who may have been on site during the last 15 days.

Someone has tested positive, the work will be stopped immediately and everyone involved will be notified

  • Where appropriate, the builder, with the collaboration of its own or third-party prevention service, will adapt or expand the Health and Safety Plan in order to take into account the organizational changes and of any other nature that must be implemented as a result of the measures. indicated or those others deemed necessary to incorporate into the work.

4.- Actions of the Health and Safety Coordinator

In accordance with the provisions of article 14 of RD 1,297 / 1997, the health and safety coordinator, during the execution of the work or, where appropriate, the architect or technical architect that assumes these functions as part of the optional management of the work, you will have to take a number of steps.

Remember that prevention is better than cure, and according to the indications of professional associations, the following decisions will be made:

  • The continuity of the work, if in the opinion of the contractor and the project manager or the person designated by the contractor, can ensure adequate prevention measures to guarantee the health of the workers and personnel of the work;
  • In another case, you may, if you observe non-compliance with health and safety measures, warn the contractor of this, leaving evidence of such non-compliance in the Incident Book and being empowered to, in circumstances of serious and imminent risk to the safety and health of the workers, order the stoppage of the pits, or where appropriate, of the entire work, reporting to the Labor and Social Security Inspection, the contractor, subcontractors affected by the stoppage, as well as worker representatives. The essential actions related to the safety of the work and its conservation will be carried out.

The stoppage of the work will be communicated to the corresponding City Council where the work is located

5.- All reflected in a signed certificate

All of the above and all Actions and processes that are carried out must be duly reflected in a signed act, as well as by the facultative direction, by the builder, project manager and promoter and, where appropriate, the project manager. Likewise, all of this will be recorded in the Incident Book of the work.

Documents of interest and help

  • You can see the recommendations document provided by the Higher Council of Colleges of Architects of Spain (CSCAE) and the General Council of Technical Architecture (CGATE) from HERE.
  • Criteria for the management of the coordinator in terms of health and safety during the execution of the work … Document here from the Musaat.
  • All the models of minutes and a "Minutes of meeting due to temporary stoppage of works" is the last example … Document here from the Musaat.
  • Another example of a work stoppage act by the Official College of Architects of Sevillas and already focused on COVID19… From HERE.
  • Example of the stoppage of works from the Murcia Engineers College … From HERE.
  • Example of the shutdown of Works Health and Safety Coordinator by Colegio Ingenieros Murcia … From HERE.
  • The architect Carlos Paternina Die together with the Health and Safety Coordination team have made a document to expand information on the measures taken against the coronavirus, the document is very good! And it can serve as a reference - suggestion when presenting a real case. It can be consulted HERE.

Also the Prevention Line website (which we already talked about in this article about construction site signage) has a document reviewed by the Construction Labor Foundation "Coronavirus preventive measures at construction sites and construction companies" that you can consult from this PDF that reflects the following infographic:

Remember, we have also written an extensive article on the types of masks; FFP2, FFP3, surgical and hygienic and when we should use them.

Video talk about coronavirus under construction

The following video is a webinar that brings together five professionals from the construction sector and experts in Occupational Risk Prevention issues to clarify doubts and provide a little more information to the construction sector:

We have a new article to see how to understand construction in the face of the coronavirus: 5 Key schemes, very interesting. And the article on how to create an action and prevention protocol for works.

Remember that prevention and the health of workers comes first, and second, here there will be economic repercussions from a negative perspective, therefore, take a good look at what you sign and that everything is very well documented. Also, to continue training for free now that we possibly have more time:

  • Free courses on BIM all levels
  • 10 free courses for engineers and architects
  • Various Excel courses for Basic, Medium and Advanced levels
  • 60 Free courses from UNAM University (Mexico)

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