Who goes out to work today?

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Stay at home unless you have to go out to work remains the official government line, putting construction workers in the firing line.

Despite mounting pressure to shut down sites, to which many building firms have already conceded, official advice from the government (as of 7am on 25th March 2020) is to keep construction sites open.

However, the caveat is that work may only continue on sites that adhere to the official Covid-19 Site Operating Procedures, published yesterday. These set out practical steps for maximising personal hygiene and social distancing on construction sites.

The Site Operating Procedures do not, however, adequately address the issue of how to get construction crews from home to site and back again without sharing confined public space on public transport. Some may be able to drive or cycle to work, as recommended; many are not.

Representatives of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) spoke with government yesterday and agreed to keep sites open where the new code of practice could be observed.

The CLC has confirmed that all construction sites should assess their situation and those sites that cannot implement the Site Operating Procedures should not remain open.

However, two men on the Construction Industry Council in charge of big building companies – David Thomas of Barratt and Mark Reynolds of Mace – have shut their own sites despite advising others to stay open. The industry will be entitled to ask: do we do as you say or do as you do? Or is there disagreement among the councillors?

The Build UK trade federation said: “Our members are taking this seriously and a number of them have now stopped their construction activities to look at how they can implement these procedures effectively.

“Reduced services on public transport, particularly in London, are also presenting a specific challenge for workers travelling to and from sites due to overcrowding. The CLC has stated that ‘if people cannot get to site whilst complying with the government’s guidance, then they should not do so’.

“We recognise that this has significant implications for sites in city centres, particularly those in London.”

The article was originally seen at : https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/who-goes-out-to-work-today