CORONAVIRUS UPDATE  

    Updated: 4/1/2020

 

While we work diligently with government officials to keep as many construction related services flowing, public health officials are warning of worsening conditions that may lead to further restrictions. Representatives from Charleston County, the City of North Charleston and the Town of Mount Pleasant are urging all residents to remain in their home. To date, there is NO statewide issued Shelter-in-Place order. The City of Charleston does have a Shelter-in-Place order, however construction related businesses are exempt. As most of you know from the emergency alert, Gov. McMaster has ordered the closure of non-essential businesses. Below are the details of the order – note that the construction industry is not listed (as banned) and therefore may continue while exercising safe social distancing practices. It is vital you follow the safety guidelines in order for the industry to remain classified as safe and essential, New York has banned construction because of non-compliance. Here is a link to CDC recommendations for your workplaceRest assured that the CHBA is working hard to preserve the builders way of life in the Lowcountry. Below is the SCEMD’s press release on the Gov.’s most recent order.

 

Gov. Henry McMaster Orders Non-Essential Businesses Closed Throughout S.C. 

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2020-17, which orders the closure of non-essential businesses, as defined by the executive order, throughout the state in order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

 

The businesses that will be closed as a result of the governor's executive order are as follows: 

Entertainment venues and facilities as follows:

-Night clubs

-Bowling alleys

-Arcades

-Concert venues

-Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers

-Tourist attractions (including museums, aquariums, and planetariums)

-Racetracks

-Indoor children’s play areas (excluding daycare facilities)

-Adult entertainment venues

-Bingo halls

-Venues operated by social clubs

 

Recreational and athletic facilities and activities as follows: 

-Fitness and exercise centers and commercial gyms

-Spas and public or commercial swimming pools

-Group exercise facilities, to include yoga, barre, and spin studios or facilities

-Spectator sports

-Sports that involve interaction with another person in close proximity and within less than six (6) feet of another person

-Activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment

-Activities on commercial or public playground equipment  

 

Close-contact service providers as follows: 

-Barber shops

-Hair salons

-Waxing salons

-Threading salons

-Nail salons and spas

-Body-art facilities and tattoo services

-Tanning salons

-Massage-therapy establishments and massage services

 

Clarification Assistance Provided by the South Carolina Department of Commerce

If a business has a question as to whether they qualify as essential, they should complete the Essential Business Clarification form located on the South Carolina Department of Commerce website, which will be easily accessible on the South Carolina Department of Commerce’s website. Questions can also be sent to covid19sc@sccommerce.com, or business representatives can call 803-734-2873. A team from South Carolina Department of Commerce will review the business’s request for clarification, and the business will receive a response with their determination, essential or non-essential, within 24 hours. If a business is not explicitly addressed in the governor's executive order, the business should continue normal operations until a determination is made.

 

For those interested in utilizing the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Assistance program, you can learn more at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

 

Below you will find links to the State's Business Resource Center, CDC Best Jobsite Practices Video, and SCDHEC’s latest update on the Coronavirus.

SC Department of Commerce's COVID-19 Business Resource Center

CDC's Best Jobsite Practices Video

SCDHEC Coronavirus Disease 2019 Update Page

 

To learn more on how to be proactive at this time, check out the Journal of Light Construction’s “A Builder’s Guide to COVID-19” or register for the Build Show Network’s “How The Building Industry Can Tackle COVID-19” webinar. For those interested in utilizing the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Assistance program, you can learn more at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

 

Two ways to give back:

The CHBA has worked diligently during this time of uncertainty to ensure the building community stays strong and an essential business designation.  

 

1. Drop your extra, unopened surgical/N95 masks, protective eyeware, face guards and face shields, sterile gloves, hand sanitzer, industrial cleaning wipes and thernometers at a Builders First Source location. Ashley will pick them up every Thursday morning from Builder First Source and take them to MUSC. If you have questions, call Ashley at 803.412.5144.

So far, we have collected: 144 safety goggles, 1,400 disposable gloves, 505 safety masks and 40 disposable lab coats. Let's keep this going!

 

2. Help support the Builder Campaign. The CHBA's marketing campaign has focused on how the home building industry is prepared to meet the needs of the homebuyer with purchasing a home virtually from tour to contract. We ran ads with CUMULUS and The Post & Courier, both online, in print and through social media. We would like to keep the message going with your help. Any donation goes directly to the cause. To date, we have raised $7,000 of the $13,610. The closer we get to our goal, the more we send the message to homebuyers. Contact Ashley to support today at 803.412.5144.

 

Public Services Resource List

The Charleston Home Builders Association has requested updates from local jurisdictions regarding changes in permitting, inspections, plan review and more as a result of COVID-2019. The following is an update of those jurisdictions' responses as of March 24th. As changes occur or new updates are received the CHBA will update the list below.

Charleston County - County offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. The Auditor’s office additionally has a web-based chat function available. Citizens that need to file documents with the Register of Deeds may still drop off filings on the first floor of the County Office Building, located at 101 Meeting Street. The Treasurer encourages residents to utilize the online e-check feature at https://sc-charleston.publicaccessnow.com/ to make their tax payments. That service is free of charge. 

 

Dorchester County - County offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Once you have created an account, you will be able to submit for permits, request inspections and pay fees through the Evolve Portal. On-site building inspections will continue. The Register of Deeds office will require your book, page reference, and copy code. Per the County Attorney, they will not abstract any needed documents but only provide copies of documents that you request.  

 

Berkeley County - County offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and drop-offs. Berkeley County Permitting/Plan Review will now only be accepting permits via email, and inspections will continue as usual but with limited contact.  For permits that are already ready, they will be issuing those via email. Please note at this time the overall inspection process has not changed, however they will have limited contact with public and will not perform inspections for the next two coming Fridays (3/27 and 4/4).

 

Colleton County - County offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone email, and web-based services. The Register of Deeds will be able to accept documents via e-file, which can be accessed on their website, walk in documents by appointment only by calling 843-542-2745 or emailing dgusler@colletoncounty.org. For  anything  related to Building  Permits, Planning & Zoning, Code Enforcement, or Floodplain Information - please call (843)  549-1709  extension 1255. All applications are available on the County website.

 

City of CharlestonOn March 24th City Council passed a Stay-at-Home" ordinance effective on March 26th that would require the closure of non-essential businesses and direct citizens to stay at home, except for necessary trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or for other essential services and activities. Construction related operations are considered essential services and you will be allowed to continue work while using social distancing practices. City offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services – expect delays. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Inspections will continue but in a limited fashion – please visit the City’s website for a complete list of new policies.

City deemed non-critical inspections and inspections of existing occupied structures may be deferred or delayed.

The City will not inspect buildings and structures that have 3 or more people congregated in enclosed areas.
The City inspector may ask for occupants to vacate in order to conduct the inspection.

The City inspector may ask for the inspection to be rescheduled when the areas/buildings are cleared of occupants.

The City will not inspect building and structures that have occupants who are suspected of or notify the inspector of being sick or illl.

The City inspector may ask occupants if they feel sick or know of anyone who may be sick or ill before entering the building.

Many permits can be submitted online through the Citizen Access Portal (CAP), https://www.charleston-sc.gov/cap. For permit types not yet configured in CAP, permit applications can be submitted digitally to permits@charleston-sc.gov. City departments are implementing work-from-home policies that allow city services to continue.

 

 

City of North Charleston - City offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Inspections will continue but in a limited fashion - If a building is occupied and there is an upfit on a particular area, staff will evaluate prior to conducting the inspection. Due to limited staffing, the city says to expect delays. Permitting hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Limited inspections will be conducted 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Building plans can still be submitted online for review by Zoning, Building, Fire, and Public Works, but expect a delayed response time due to limited staffing. 

 

Town of Mt. Pleasant  - Mayor Will Haynie issued a new proclamation (3/31) mirroring South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster’s Closure of Non-Essential Businesses executive order. Mayor Haynie’s new order revokes his order issued March 31 limiting businesses to only those that are deemed to offer essential services, and instead calls for the closure of non-essential businesses as defined in the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-17. Construction is still consider essential. Town offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Inspections will continue but in a limited fashion. Staff will not have the ability to answer any incoming calls. Please be patient while awaiting any email responses and/or confirmations. To schedule an inspection for an open permit, please email inspectionsmp@tompsc.com. To submit a flood certificate, non-conversion agreement, Energy Test Results or a Manual J please email mpfloodsubmittal@tompsc.com. To submit for a building permit please visit their online applications webpage.

 

Town of Sullivan's Island - On Sunday (3/22) Town Council passed an ordinance limiting access to Sullivan’s Island to residents, service workers, contractors, delivery services, medical service providers, care givers and the like. Sullivan’s Island Police will establish a checkpoint on SC-703 near the entrance to the Island. Residents should either have a driver’s license with a Sullivan’s Island address, Sullivan’s Island windshield decal or proof of ownership.  Those attempting to access the Island for work should have proof of purpose, business license or other form of documentation. Guests must be accompanied onto the Island by residents. 

 

City of Isle of Palms - Administrative offices and services are assumed closed. At an emergency meeting on Friday (3/20) morning, Isle of Palms (IOP) City Council members voted to restrict access to the island beginning Saturday at 7:00 a.m. For the next fourteen days, law enforcement will be checking documentation and only allowing certain groups onto the island. Residents with decals (both expired and valid) will be allowed on the island. Friends and family of residents will be allowed on the island only in the presence of a resident and in a vehicle with a resident decal. Service workers with decals and employees of island businesses will be allowed on the island.  

 

Folly Beach - At an emergency meeting on Friday (3/20) morning, Folly Beach Council voted to restrict access until March 31st with checkpoints that will operate daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Access will be granted to residents, care-takers, guest of residents (in same care), short-term renters (with proof of contract), employees of local businesses (must have previously-issued red or yellow re-entry pass issued by the City and employee credentials), contractors or businesses with Folly Beach Business License vehicle sticker, property managers, realtors, and brokers with proof of state license and City of Folly Beach business license and related industry delivery persons who can demonstrate business on the island.

 

Town of Kiawah Island - Town offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Inspections will continue but in a limited fashion. If you need personal assistance, please contact Ed Monahan, Director of Livability, at 843-708-3611 (cell). In order to limit interactions, all commercial decals, with an expiration of March 31, are automatically extended until April 30. 

 

Seabrook Island - Administrative offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Inspections will continue but in a limited fashion. For assistance with business licensing, code enforcement, permitting and other town services during normal operating hours (Monday to Friday, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm), please contact us by phone at (843) 768-9121 or by email at info@townofseabrookisland.org. The town’s code enforcement officers will remain active on the island as long as it is safe for them to do so.

 

City of Hanahan - City offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Inspections that are new construction, renovations of existing/unoccupied structures, or exterior work that does not require entrance into a home will continue as scheduled. All other inspections are being postponed and will need to be rescheduled once the State of Emergency is lifted.

 

City of Goose Creek - City offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and the city's drive-through window to submit applications. All City water payments, permit applications, and business license payments will only be accepted at the drive-thru window at City Hall.

 

Town of Summerville - Administrative offices will be closed to the public but are still providing permitting, inspections, and plan review services. Their offices will continue to be available by phone, email, and web-based portals (encouraged) available on their website. Inspections will continue but in a limited fashion. Inspectors will be attempting to keep a safe distance from people at the jobsite, the town asks to please respect this and communicate from a safe distance. The town will avoid inspections in occupied homes unless there is an emergency such as restoring power or gas.

 

Town of Moncks CornerAdministrative offices will be closed to the public. Builders are asked to use the city website to submit permits, licenses, and schedule inspections - which will continue but in a limited fashion. New construction inspections will be conducted from 7:00 am – 10:00 am.  No one is to be on site during this time during any scheduled inspections. This does not prohibit work on other sites or after 10:00am. If there are people on site prior to or during the inspection, the inspection will be canceled and treated as a failure. The 2018 International Building Code defines a site as: 2018 IBC 202 SITE. A parcel of land bounded by a lot line or a designated portion of a public right-of-way.

 

“Our current situation is new to both construction and enforcement staff and we are doing our best to create policies that protect everyone and are mutually beneficial.  There will be no policy that completely prevents the spread of this virus but allows inspections to continue. It is believed that the virus is no longer airborne after 3 hours and lasts on surfaces for a few hours to a few days.  It is also assumed work stops on site no later than 9:00pm, this gives 10+ hours for airborne pathogens to dissipate and pathogens to be reduced on other surfaces prior to the arrival of the inspector.  Our staff is currently working from home so we are immediately brining any pathogens from jobsites home to our families. Over the last few days there have been builders and sub-contractors on site and we have issued warnings and reduced fines.  Due to multi-unit (duplexes, townhomes, condos, apartments, etc.) still sharing many aspects of construction we are expanding the requirements from just the site to the site or structure (2018 IBC 202 STRUCTURE. That which is built or constructed.), whichever is larger.  Beginning tomorrow (3/26) if anyone is on site or in the structure the inspection will be canceled and treated as a failure with no reduction or warning.  This will include arrival of builders or sub-contractors prior to or during the inspection.” – Building Official’s Office

 

Office Closing

Due to new recommendations from national and state public heal officials, the CHBA office will be closed until May 4th. The Association will continue day-to-day operations remotely, however meetings, classes, and events will be postponed until public health officials announce it is safe for public gatherings.  Be sure to check our Facebook page regularly for updates from the CHBA office.  CLICK HERE

 

Event Postponements & Cancellations

NEW Clay Shoot Tournament TENTATIVE Date: May 19th at Kiawah Shooting Club

 

Events, Meetings & Educational Classes POSTPONED:

4/2 IRC Codes Class updates

4/7 Membership 101

4/9 L&L CEU Class: Quartz Fabrication

4/15 CEU Class:  Light Control

4/20 – 4/22 CEU Class: New Home Sales

4/21 Golf Tournament: The new TENTATIVE date is June 30th at Patriots Point.

 

Events, Meetings & Educational Classes CANCELLED:

South Carolina HBA Bird Supper, Columbia, SC (was scheduled for March 31st)


We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.

 

Recommendations to Members

Please Follow CDC Business Guidelines (click here to read online) - the CHBA encourages members to work remotely, restrict operations with person-to-person contact, and follow public health professional recommendations as much as possible. 

 

Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and WHO have provided the following resources and guidelines regarding preparation for COVID-19 in the workplace:

 

·        Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 – WHO

·        Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – CDC

·        COVID-19 – OSHA

 

Resources for HBA members are also available on nahb.org. The CHBA, the HBA of SC & NAHB will continue to provide additional updates as we receive them.

 

CARES Act

The Senate shortly before midnight voted unanimously to approve a $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the U.S. economy. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes several provisions to help small businesses and those engaged in the residential construction sector.

 

The House is expected to approve the bill on Friday morning and President Trump said he will sign the bill immediately.

 

At the top level, the CARES Act would:

Make direct payments of $1,200 to most individuals earning up to $75,000, or $2,400 for couples earning up to $150,000. The amount decreases for individuals making more than $75,000 and payments cut off for those earning above $99,000.

Provide an additional $367 billion in loans for small businesses to help deal with payroll issues:

Small business owners in all U.S. states and territories are currently eligible to apply for low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 response. Applicants may request an advance in the amount of $10,000 to be delivered within three days of the request. This advance must be used to

-Provide sick leave to employees unable to work due to the effects of COVID-19;

-Maintain payroll to retain employees;

-Cover increased costs of materials due to interrupted supply chains;

-Make rent or mortgage payments; or

-Repay other obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses.

 

An applicant will not be required to repay this advance if it is used for these purposes, even if they are subsequently denied a loan under the EIDL program. Qualified businesses can apply online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. For application assistance, please contact an SBA customer service representative at 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

 

Small and medium sized businesses (with fewer than 500 employees) are also eligible to apply for SBA’s expanded 7(a) loan program. This program is not provided through SBA directly, so the first step to qualifying for a 7(a) loan is to find an SBA approved lender in your community. Your lender can guide you through the application process and determine which 7(a) loan product will work best for your business.

 

Allowable uses of these loans include:

-Payroll costs;

-Certain costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits;

-Employee salaries (including commissions);

-Mortgage, rent and utilities payments; and

-Interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period.

 

A loan recipient may be eligible for forgiveness on a covered loan used for costs including payroll, mortgage and rent obligations, and utility payments.

 

If you have questions about the 7(a) loan program, you can contact the SBA at 1-877-475-2435 or email 7aquestions@sba.gov. If you are having issues with the EIDL or 7(a) loan application process or if your application was denied, please contact Alex Strong at NAHB at 1-800-368-5242 x8279 or Heather Voorman at 1-800-368-5242 x8425.

 

Helpful Links

Coronavirus Preparedness and Response

Evaluating Your Contracts in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic

What Construction Workers Need to Know 

Department of Labor Allows Employers to Weigh in on Family Leave

Please reach out to any of us at the CHBA office should you have additional questions.

 

Patrick L. Arnold

Executive Director

Patrick@charlestonhomebuilders.org

C: 337.581.5929

 

Ashley Valdivieso

Association Director

ashley@charlestonhomebuilders.org

C: 803.412.5144

 

Paige Durham

Marketing & Membership Manager

paige@charlestonhomebuilders.org

C: 803.807.3106 

 

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