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    Coronavirus update for construction

    As we prepare to enter week seven of the lockdown, there are a number of issues for the industry to resolve, including appropriate use of PPE on site, keeping face to face contact to 15 minutes or less where possible, and minimising the use of public transport, particularly in London where the service is drastically reduced at present.

    The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) is looking at a ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ for the industry. During this week’s conference calls we have been discussing what it should include, from accelerating public sector projects to delaying the implementation of Reverse VAT. The CLC also has a group looking at the challenges that will arise when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end and employers no longer have the option of furloughing their workers.

    We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who responded to our recent Materials & Accommodation survey, which has provided us with extremely useful information on the demand for products which we can use to help open up the supply chain by matching demand with supply.

    The results showed that plaster and plasterboard were in short supply; however, with key suppliers now re-opening their factories, this should start to ease. Other materials proving difficult to get hold of were aggregates and bricks, although data from the Construction Products Association (CPA) and the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) indicate that these are available within the supply chain. Not surprisingly, there is also significant demand for facemasks, gloves and hand sanitiser (minimum 60% alcohol based).

    A number of Trade Association members have published sector-specific guidance based on the Site Operating Procedures, setting out how to comply with social distancing requirements in relation to various specialist activities. Any queries on the guidance should be directed to the relevant Trade Association.

    • Construction Plant-hire Association (CPA) – Protecting your workforce (covid-19) – Supplementary requirements for plant operations
    • Finishes and Interiors Sector (FIS) – Coronavirus task assessment tool
    • Highway Electrical Association (HEA) – Coronavirus local highways safe operating procedures – Protecting our workforce guidance document
    • National Access & Scaffolding Confederation (NASC) – Guidance for scaffolding operations during the coronavirus pandemic

    BEIS is hosting a webinar next Tuesday 5 May at 11:00am for small businesses to find out more about the financial support available, including grants, loans, tax relief and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

    Businesses should continue to follow the most up-to-date government guidance