Construction left in limbo by lockdown

Grant Prior 4 years ago
Share

Construction sites are still able to operate despite Boris Johnson’s new curbs on daily life revealed on Monday night.

But pressure is growing on clients and contractors to shut some sites down as worried workers highlight crowded conditions breaking social distancing rules putting operatives at risk.

Johnson said people will only be allowed to leave their homes for a handful of reasons including “travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.”

The Construction Leadership Council said it is “doing our utmost to keep construction sites operational wherever it is practical and safe to do so.”

The CLC has published a full list of site operating procedures here designed to protect site workers.

Chair Andy Mitchell said: “We are in exceptional circumstances, and are doing our utmost to keep construction sites operational wherever it is practical and safe to do so.

“Whilst the guidance from Public Health England may change in future, for the time being construction sites of any size that are operating during the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic need to ensure they are protecting their workforce and minimising the risk of spread of infection.

“To implement the Government’s social distancing recommendation the Construction Leadership Council has now published Site Operating Procedures.

“I would strongly recommend that these procedures are implemented by every operational construction site, with the aim of us having a standard approach across the industry that all firms and workers can adopt.

“It is also vital that the health and safety requirements of any construction activity must not be compromised at this time.

“If an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available, or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place.

“We are aware that emergency services are also under great pressure and may not be in a position to respond as quickly as usual.”

But pictures of operatives crammed into canteens have painted an image of a two-tier industry.

Many contractors are doing the right thing and implementing social distancing rules on site to keep their jobs running and workers safe.

While others are carrying on regardless putting at risk the continued operation of all sites.

One contracting director told the Enquirer: “We are doing everything right in terms of keeping the operatives at a safe distance and its perfectly possible to do that with the right planning and leadership.

“It’s a bit like when you go out and about in everyday life. Most people respect the new rules but some don’t care.

“Our work cannot be done from home and we want to keep sites going and make them safe for everyone.

“We need the Government to realise that most contractors are trying to do this properly and we shouldn’t all be tarred with the same brush as those not doing things in the right way.

“We want to continue building and most of our operatives want to keep working as long as it’s safe.

“Industries like finance and manufacturing are keeping going and construction is just as vital to the future of the economy.”

Johnson’s announcement is causing huge confusion among construction companies.

One said: “We’re not sure whether the government classify construction as essential work at the moment.

“We need clarity quickly because clients are putting pressure on us to keep working while some operatives want to stop coming to site.”

The only additional advice from Government after Johnson’s speech came from Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick who stated on Twitter: “Advice for the housing, construction and building maintenance industries: If you can work from home, do so.

If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in calling for construction sites to be shutdown.

He said: “I have expressed my concerns to the Prime Minister directly.

“In my view the only construction workers that should be working are those that we need for safety.

“I think this is a time to understand the scale of the challenge we are facing, these are extraordinary circumstances, of course it is important to recognise this is an economic and a social emergency, but more important it is a public health emergency.”

Latest news

United Utilities names another 18 winners for £2.7bn water spend

Water giant cuts out large management contractors in latest spending round
2 hours ago

Over 100 firms win £1.5bn ICN housing framework

Great Places Housing Group names key partners for new homes programme
8 hours ago

Steelwork firm went down owing £4.5m to suppliers

Subcontractors left holding unpaid invoices from SH Structures
9 hours ago

Scottish civils firm to buy stake in piling specialist

Advance Construction in talks for 25% stake in Northern Piling Ltd
9 hours ago

RSK secures £500m for fresh acquisitions spree

Acquisitive group aims to buy another 200 businesses by 2030
19 hours ago

Beal Homes gets green light for £105m Humber scheme

Work to start on more than 500 homes in North East Lincolnshire
8 hours ago

RED wins £20m East London office refurb

Grade II listed Victorian building to be upgraded to Cat A offices
9 hours ago

Employee-owned Neilcott staff share £250,000 payout

Employee-owned building contractor sales jump 38% to £139m
1 day ago

Geoffrey Osborne supply chain hit for £26m

More than 500 suppliers and subcontractors left holding unpaid bills
4 days ago

Race for £800m South West Wales framework

Up to 16 firms face fight to renew spots on regional contractors framework
2 days ago

SME contractors agree 4% pay rise for site workers

Workers will also get an extra day of holiday
4 days ago

South East expansion paying off for Meldrum Group

Turnover up to £55m as North East based contractor expands national coverage
1 day ago

Wates boosts paternity leave to 12 weeks

Latest leave benefits apply from first day of working for contractor
1 day ago

Taylor Wimpey chief honoured with CBE

Jennie Daly recognised in King's Birthday honours
3 days ago

Labour to mothball £320m A27 job to fix potholes

Manifesto confirms Arundel Bypass canned as "poor value for money"
4 days ago

Lendlease’s £1.9bn Smithfield Birmingham scheme approved

Initial work to start later this year despite questions over Lendlease's degree of involvement
4 days ago

Crest Nicholson rejects £650m Bellway bid

Second Bellway approach rebuffed
5 days ago

Hill submits £800m East London estate rebuild plan

Over 1,900 homes to be built in five phase at Teviot Estate in Poplar
5 days ago

Plan approved for 8,500-seat Edinburgh indoor arena

Construction expected to start next year once a contractor is appointed
4 days ago

Statom starts on £25m Bristol Airport precast car park

Major work package on transport upgrade being overseen by Griffiths Farrans JV
5 days ago

Build problems plunge Crest Nicholson to a £31m loss

House builder unearths more defects on completed sites
5 days ago

Rebooted Amey lifts contract win rate to 1 in 3 bids

Amey chief says firm exceeded expectations in first year under new owners
5 days ago

BAM Nuttall fined £2.3m after worker drowned

Court hears how series of safety failures led to tragedy
6 days ago

OCU buys Scottish civils contractor RJ McLeod

Deal takes multi-utility infrastructure specialist revenue to over £800m
6 days ago

£220m plan to restore secret wartime tunnels approved

Tunnels under High Holborn to become cultural exhibition space
6 days ago

Galliford Try wins £69m Scottish school job

Deal sealed on Paisley Grammar School project in Renfrewshire
5 days ago

Balfour wins design for £690m Skye transmission job

Main work contract for 137km power line to be awarded later this year
6 days ago

Student and resi developer Fortis goes under

Cheshire based developer follows construction arm into liquidation
6 days ago

Construction output falls for third month running

Heavy rain and strong winds blamed for sharp fall in activity in April
6 days ago

Plan in for Leeds 27-storey block of flats

390 flats planned at former Morgan Sindall office site
6 days ago

Contractor services