Policies and Guidelines for the Resumption of Nonessential Construction in New Jersey

This week, Executive Order 142 was put into action allowing the resumption of all construction projects that were previously considered “nonessential” in past Executive Order 122. This has been a big step in the Governor’s plan: The Road Back: Restoring Economic Health Through Public Health.

All New Jersey construction projects are permitted to resume subject to the conditions as follows:

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Governor Murphy Unveils Multi-Stage Approach to Execute a Responsible and Strategic Restart of New Jersey’s Economy

At his press briefing this afternoon, Governor Murphy announced that he will sign an Executive Order allowing some outdoor businesses to restart, including batting cages and golf ranges, shooting and archery ranges, horseback riding, private tennis clubs, and community gardens, and golfers may now play in foursomes.

The Governor also discussed his three-phase plan for reopening New Jersey’s economy. Phase One, the phase we are currently in, relaxed restriction on low-risk activities if properly safeguarded. This phase loosened restrictions on many outdoor activities and permitted the resumption of elective surgeries.  Phase Two will loosen safeguards on a number of additional activities that can be easily safeguarded including expanded retail, outdoor dining, indoor dining at significantly reduced capacity, limited personal care, and the potential opening of libraries and museums. Phase Three allows for most activities to resume with significant safeguarding including expanded dining, critical in-office work, limited entertainment, expanded personal care, and bars with limited capacity.

The Governor made clear that social distancing, use of masks, and work from home orders continue to remain in place. The Governor did not provide a timetable for entering into Stages Two and Three but in answer to a question indicated that Phase Two is likely “a few weeks away assuming we continue to make meaningful progress.”

Attached is an outline of the Governor’s reopening plan.

Click here to download the press release.

The Role of Government in Engineering

Engineers are responsible for thinking up, designing, and creating ways to make the world more efficient. Due to the nature of an engineer’s work and the effect it has on the population, the government plays a large role in regulating the way the industry operates, not just in passing engineering legislation but in making it possible for engineers to acquire licenses and continue their education.

Government is involved in many facets of engineering, including: 

  • Safety – Engineers create hundreds of infrastructures, buildings, and consumer products that touch the lives of people every second. To ensure everything is built safely, there are laws and regulations in place. These laws touch on everything from types of energy and environmental protection to liability and risk management. Professional organizations, such as NJSPE and NSPE, monitor these pieces of legislation to make sure the best interests of engineers are represented.
  • Ethics – Since engineers have a direct impact on the population’s quality of life, they must abide by a code of ethics. The code encompasses the fundamental canons, rules of practice, and professional obligations. While the core principles remain the same, the government sometimes makes revisions or additions, altering the way that engineers operate. Learn more about the engineer’s code of ethics here.
  • Licensure and Certification – To maintain or earn engineering licenses or certifications, including the professional engineer license, you must meet the state requirements. For example, in New Jersey, PEs are required to take 24 hours of continuing education courses, two of which need to be on ethics. Each state’s government ultimately determines these requirements, and they may change from year to year. 
  • Continuing Education Opportunities – There are so many positives to continuing your engineering education. Not only does it provide you with new, up-to-date information about the best practices, it also reinforces the key points of information you previously learned and opens the door for earning new licenses and certifications. See upcoming continuing education opportunities here. NJSPE members can take advantage of special member rates for all courses!

By working with the government in all these areas, engineers can operate efficiently and effectively and keep improving the way the world operates. To stay up-to-date about current and upcoming legislation that affects engineers, visit https://njspe.org/gov/.

Coronavirus and the Future of Engineering

COVID-19 has made for some uncertain times. Beyond the spread of sickness, coronavirus has impacted every industry in multiple ways. Finances have been impacted along with the workforce, productivity, supply chains, cybersecurity risks, fraud risks, and more. So what does this mean for the engineering industry and what has been the overall impact so far? 

State-level impact

At the beginning of April, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy released Executive Order 122 which halted all “non-essential” construction in the state. Exceptions to this include projects at hospitals and schools, in transportation and utility sectors, for online or “essential” retail businesses, those contracted by federal, state or local government or under a federal deadline, affordable housing, and data centers. For all of the retail, commercial, and major residential projects that are getting put on hold, the industry is seeing a significant economic impact. 

Widespread Impact

The industry impact of COVID-19 reached the United States before the virus itself. Back in February, before coronavirus spread in the US, China was suffering from the pandemic. In turn, global supply chains were affected. About 40 to 50 percent of the world’s production is in China. When factories started to close their doors, the whole world felt the impact. Immediate impacts were felt at the subcontractor middle market of the industry when many construction sites halted or canceled operations. 

Long term impact may be seen by engineering and construction companies that serve energy and chemical companies. Oil prices are plummeting so many core energy companies are seeing an immediate impact on their revenue. Those companies that serve these markets are projected to see a longer-term impact on overall revenue. 

Read a thorough breakdown of steps to consider if your business is being negatively affected by COVID-19 >>

The future of engineering and the industry as a whole seems unclear now, but we’re all in this together! NJSPE will keep you updated with the most important information. To receive real-time industry updates, become a member of NJSPE! Check out our different types of membership and consider joining today

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