Construction continues across Summit County with strict health protocols
DILLON — The amount of construction in Summit County in 2019 was setting records. Despite the pandemic, Summit County Chief Building Official Jeff Flynn says things in the building and construction world have remained relatively normal.
The county is doing an average of 40 inspections per day, according to Flynn, and requires that all job sites submit a COVID-19 site plan. The plan requires sites to have hand-washing or sanitizing stations, symptom screenings, social distancing and other health measures in place.
Flynn explained that many construction projects were underway prior to the new coronavirus arriving in Summit County and are continuing with the proper protocols. He also said the number of inspection requests are similar to what they were at this time last year. Since much of the county’s staff is working remotely, he said the process is moving slower and the department hasn’t seen as many permit submittals.
Marilyn Hogan, executive officer of the Summit County Builders Association, said builders are “on board” with the health protocols and are working with each town and the county to make sure they are following the proper precautions. She said construction is moving slower but still in motion.
“I think it’s just been taking longer,” Hogan said. “There’s more paperwork to be done. Not as many people can be on a job site, so it definitely is taking longer, but there is progress.”
A few projects were in the works in Breckenridge before the outbreak came to Summit County. Eli Johnston, Breckenridge’s chief building official, noted that while the Goose Pasture Tarn Dam restoration project has been postponed, the South Gondola Lot parking structure is still on the table with plans to move forward. However, Johnston said anything could change depending on how long the public health crisis lasts.
Johnston said building inspections are still being performed in Breckenridge as long as job sites use the safety plan. He said that protocols for construction are the same across Summit County and that the town has not had any issues with compliance. While springtime is a slower season for building, Johnston said things tend to pick up in June.
“I predict that we won’t be quite as busy going into the building season as we usually are,” Johnston said.
Another major project in Summit County is Silverthorne’s Fourth Street Crossing development. Tim Fredregill, development executive for development company Milender White, said construction was on hold for the project for about three weeks when inspections ground to a halt.
Now with the site back up and running, Fredregill said the company has implemented the required safety plan and has a temperature gun, which allows for a no-contact form of taking workers’ temperatures before they enter the job site. Fredregill said workers also are asked several questions when entering the job site, including whether they have been exposed to anyone with the virus or are feeling any symptoms.
Fredregill said screening measures have proven effective and that social distancing isn’t difficult on the site as long as people are aware of the rules.
“It does cause you to require special consideration, but a lot can be accomplished,” Fredregill said. “The outbreak hasn’t devastated the contracting base. Construction crews are there and available.”
As for progress on the project, Fredregill said the parking garage is fully erected, and crews are just putting the “finishing touches” on the structure. The foundation is being poured for the market hall, and he expects work on the hotel to begin soon. However, the residential pieces of the project — townhomes and condominiums — are on hold.
“COVID dealt us a bad hand on our presales,” Fredregill said, referring to the residential elements. “It just doesn’t make sense to push forward with breaking ground this spring.”
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