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Construction sites to keep working | BUILDING MAGAZINE

Construction sites to keep working

Construction sites are to keep working despite the beginning of the second national lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it clear that construction sites can carry on.

When the first national lockdown was called in March 2020 many construction sites, along with many other businesses closed their sites. House building sites were closed for several weeks, and many that chose to keep working were subjected to much media pressure to close.

After new operating procedures were devised and implemented constructions sites were able to re-open, with social distancing protocols and new hygiene procedures This of course meant fewer people on site at any one time but led to longer site opening hours.

The disruption cost the industry billions of pounds. House-builder Barratt Developments alone had to absorb £74m of direct Covid-19 related costs by the end of June.

With the second lockdown, starting on Thursday 5th November 2020, there should be no such disruption, or at least nowhere near the same scale. Covid-resistant operating procedures are already in place across the industry and the prime minister was clear in his address to the nation on Saturday evening that “Workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors”.

Tradespeople can also continue to work in customers’ homes as long as both the worker and household members have no symptoms of coronavirus.

The coronavirus job retention scheme – known as the furlough scheme – will now remain open until 1st December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. The job support scheme, which was scheduled to come in on Sunday 1st November, has been postponed until the furlough scheme ends.

Build UK has produced an authorisation letter template for employers in the event of workers being stopped on journeys to and from sites anywhere in the UK.