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'Securing' new homes under construction deemed essential: Builders

Posted at 7:47 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 20:54:40-04

ROCKFORD, Mich. — The debate and confusion over what businesses are considered essential under the governor's ‘Stay home, Stay safe’ order continues. Bob Filka, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Michigan, says many people are under the impression that homes under construction should be idle at the moment.

However, he says that's putting millions of dollars of material and people's safety at-risk.

"There was a lot of confusion across the state. We had local law enforcement and others trying to shut down construction sites because they thought that was what the order required them to do," Filka says.

In an effort to clear up that confusion, he says state senate majority leader Mike Shirkey reached out to Governor Whitmer over the weekend and asked her to clarify what home builders can do under the her order.

Filka says the governor drafted a letter stating new construction is not allowed. However, existing construction projects can be secured and weatherized in order to protect the investment and protect people walking or playing in the area.

"So that did provide a green light for our builders around the state. We've asked them to keep a copy of that letter in their pocket in case law enforcement asks them about it," Filka explained.

"They're authorized to go ahead and secure their site. That may require, in some instances ya know, completing a roof so that the home is not exposed. It may require some siding to make sure the sides and stuff of homes are not exposed to the elements," he said.

He's hoping the governor's executive order doesn't extend beyond the next two weeks because he says other Great Lakes states have deemed new home construction *is *essential.. And he fears that *could make a worker shortage in Michigan even worse.

"If our stay-in-place order goes beyond the current deadline of mid-April, we are concerned that some of our guys who may get a little more desperate in terms of cash flow and stuff for their businesses may go across the borders," Filka says.

Filka says the Kent County prosecutor's office has sent out letters to clarify the guidelines, and he anticipates existing projects should be buttoned up by the end of this week.