Construction Industry Calls For Coronavirus Clarity

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.

Burflex House, Clay Street, Hull, East Yorkshire, HU8 8HA E.


Construction Industry Calls For Coronavirus Clarity

With the government’s advice on how to deal with Coronavirus – or COVID-19 – changing daily for both businesses and the public, the construction industry has called for greater clarity for the sector.

An article for Construction News explained that while many construction businesses are doing their best to keep sites open, there needs to be greater clarity over how the latest raft of restrictions applies to work in this sector.

The government’s latest advice for workers is to work from home where it’s practical to do so. While office staff at construction companies can follow this advice, those working in manual jobs are unable to do their work off site.

One regional construction director for a major contractor, who spoke to the publication and asked to remain anonymous, said that the government isn’t considering industries like construction where people can’t simply take their work home.

“Who decides what is essential and what is non-essential? Some of the big contractors are taking a blanket view, but what about the knock-on effect? The man on the ground still needs to punch in for eight hours to get paid,” they said.

Head of policy at the National Federation of Builders Rico Wojtulewicz told the news provider that construction is likely to start feeling the impact of the restrictions very soon, in terms of its supply chain and deliveries.

“We need very clear guidance that understands the impact, and that announcement is really vital,” he asserted. Mr Wojtulewicz added: “It’s [The government’s] going to have to offer financial support going forward.”

Following the government’s announcement that everyone who can work from home should do so, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and Build UK issued a joint statement stating that the advice is changing rapidly and although the priority among construction firms was to keep business critical projects working, this is expected to change.

It offered advice to construction firms about what steps they can take to help combat the spread of the virus while continuing to work on projects.

This included making sure that there are a greater number of welfare and hygiene facilities available to workers, reviewing the safety critical elements of their projects and splitting teams to prevent everyone from becoming ill at the same time.

Build UK and CECA also stated that they would call on the public sector to “provide clarity on each of its construction contracts”. In particular, the organisations are seeking guidance about how it will handle delays to projects caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The organisations also want the government to “identify safety critical work on the infrastructure network that is essential and must be continued”.

They also want the government to provide support to help employers retain their skilled workforce and to mitigate the impact that job losses would have on this sector of the economy.

With so much uncertainty, it’s essential that businesses across the construction sector keep communication lines open. If you’ll need some assistance from scaffolding contractors in Leeds, get in touch with us.