The profession of architecture itself does not fall within any of the vaccination priorities. However, a strong argument can be made that architects and non-licensed staff of architectural firms who visit job sites do fall under one of the priority tiers.
We say “a strong argument can be made” because the California Department of Public Health has not responded to several inquiries from AIA California for a definitive answer.
So, below is our argument.
Here is the list of individuals who will be prioritized:
Under Phase 1B Tier Two you will find “industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services.”
The list of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers released by the State Public Health Officer includes “industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services.” This is Sector Index 13 on the page linked in the prior sentence.
Sector Index 13 includes construction workers and those providing services necessary for the construction and operation of buildings, including the following (with AIA CA highlights):
- Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, construction material sources, and essential operation of construction sites and construction projects (including those that support such projects to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications; and support to ensure the effective removal, storage, recycling and disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste).
- Workers supporting the operations of commercial buildings that are critical to safety, security, and the continuance of essential activities, such as on-site property managers, building engineers, security staff, fire safety directors, janitorial personnel, and service technicians (e.g., mechanical, HVAC, plumbers, electricians, and elevator).
- Professional services, such as legal or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities and critical sector services.
AIA CA believes architects and non-licensed staff who visit job sites, and whose visit is necessary for the construction process to continue, or who visit qualified commercials buildings, and whose visit is necessary for the continuation of essential activities, qualify for Phase 1B Tier Two Priority Vaccinations according to the description of those providing work or services to “industrial, commercial, residential, and sheltering facilities and services” highlighted above.
AIA CA certainly would prefer to have confirmation from the California Department of Public Health, but that confirmation was not provided after several inquiries.
If construction on a project is allowed to occur and staff visits to the construction site is necessary, AIA CA believes a strong argument exists for those staff to qualify for Phase 1B Tier Two Priority Vaccinations. Likewise, staff who visit and support the “operations of commercial buildings that are critical to … the continuation of essential activities” also qualify for Phase 1B Tier Two Priority Vaccinations.