On March 26, 2020, the provincial government released a list of essential services in B.C. during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the Non-health essential service providers category, the following was listed:
- “building code enforcement, inspection of buildings, building sites and building systems by building officials and registered professionals (architects and engineers)”
Given this latest update, Field Review is considered an essential service. It is important to note that other aspects of practice, such as having architectural offices open to the public, or working in offices in groups (as opposed to at home), are not considered essential.
On projects where construction is continuing, architects acting as Coordinating Registered Professionals should consider consulting with their clients, and the clients’ constructors, on the anticipated construction schedule, and consider reminding them of the professional review required. As well, architects are advised to inform Registered Professionals that they are coordinating with this decision of the Provincial Health Officer, and advise them as to project expectations for field review.
At this time, many construction sites are still operating as they are considered “industrial sites”, which means the ban on mass gatherings (50+ people) is not applicable – more information about this clarification can be found here. Health and safety are a top priority – additional precautions have been put in place by the provincial government to help minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission on construction sites. Registrants can review the government’s “Guidance to construction sites operating during COVID-19” for more information about the new guidelines.
In addition to the above precautions, there are several measures that can be taken by the architect while conducting a field review. This can include wearing protective gear, or requesting the site be cleared so that the architect can be alone during the review. If an architect is required to be in isolation (e.g. displaying any COVID-19-like symptoms, has recently travelled, etc.), they will need to have another architect, or staff member, assist.
Further information is available from WorkSafe BC on COVID-19 safety on construction sites.
The AIBC will continue to monitor the situation and update registrants on aibc.ca/COVID-19.