Some N.S. construction jobs held up as crews navigate social distancing rules

Some construction work in Nova Scotia is on hold while crews figure out exactly how they can comply with the province's social distancing rules and still do their jobs.

Scott Armour McCrea, CEO of the Armour Group Limited, said Monday that work at the Queen's Marque apartment complex on the Halifax waterfront has been shut down as officials await written plans from the trades doing work at the site.

The plans will lay out how crews can safely comply with the Nova Scotia government's state of emergency requirements laid out yesterday in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Construction sites are one of the industries exempt from the newly imposed gathering limit of five people, but they still must adhere to social distancing guidelines, meaning workers must keep a distance of two metres from each other.

"So much is happening so quickly and we are taking today to reset," said McCrea. "It will allow us to ensure we have appropriate policies and procedures from the trades in place that will allow us to continue to work."

Paul Palmeter/CBC

He said the plans from crews should come quickly.

There are several large construction sites in Halifax, as well as many new homes being built.

But there are still many unanswered questions.

"Electricians going out on the job, if there are two electricians, do they have to take separate cars? I don't have the answer to that," said Karen Slaunwhite, CEO for the Canadian Home Builders' Association Nova Scotia.

"We're also trying to stay on top of how inspections through HRM are going to continue to happen."

Slaunwhite and McCrea were both in agreement that safety trumps getting jobs done on time and on budget.

"It's inappropriate for us to think too much and spend too much time worrying about the economic impact of this," said McCrea. "We know it will be significant, but the first thing for us is to [stop] this pandemic."