Industry

01 APR 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: 1 APRIL 2020

Introduction

This short briefing has been prepared on behalf of the UK construction sector to brief companies and individuals on the ongoing repercussions of the Covid-19 coronavirus for our sector. 

New industry survey: 30 March

As part of our work to assess the impact of Covid-19 on the construction sector, we have been carrying out a series of surveys. Thank you to all firms that have taken part in the surveys. The latest version can be found hereWhile the questions are similar to previous versions, please do fill in this version as it allows us to assess changes in the industry over time.

Letter from Secretary of State for Business

Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma has written to the construction industry to offer thanks for the work it has done to help in the fight against coronavirus, and to confirm that continuing work is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer's advice.

Temporary suspension of sites

The Construction Leadership Council, working with the Construction Coronavirus Taskforce, has developed advice on temporary suspension of sites to ensure that any closures can be achieved as safely as possible, avoiding potential issues while the site is not active. Read the document here.

Coronavirus toolbox talk for site operatives

CITB has developed a coronavirus toolbox talk to be delivered to construction workers by their immediate line manager or supervisor.

Remediation and COVID-19: Building Safety update

Making buildings safe, including progressing the remediation of high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding, particularly those with unsafe Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding; and maintaining measures to ensure buildings are safe ahead of remediation, remains a priority for the Government. 

It has now put in place additional project management support with construction expertise to help oversee remediation. The additional support will identify blockers to progress and work directly with those responsible for remediation to support individual projects. 

This new team will work with those responsible for remediation and the Government to understand the impact of Covid-19 on remediation projects and identify ways to reduce the impact on pace. 

Links to useful sources of information which the construction industry and others with an interest in building safety may find helpful within the current context are available here.

Temporary changes to Right to Work (RTW) checks 

Since 30 March 2020, Right to Work checks have been temporarily adjusted to make it easier for employers to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Until further notice, employers do not need to see original documents and can complete Right to Work checks over video calls. Prospective workers are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have the right to work. 

Checks continue to be necessary and it is an offence to knowingly employ or let property to anyone who does not have legal immigration status in the UK.

If prospective or existing employees cannot provide any of the accepted documents, employers should use the Employer Checking Service

Once the temporary changes end, employers will be asked to carry out prescribed checks on existing employees who started work during the pandemic.

Covid-19 Webinars

ACE has announced a new online webinar series to help its members and the wider industry through the coronavirus crisis. Attendees will have the opportunity to ask virtual questions to the panel of experts on specific announcements, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. 

The webinars are open to anyone with an interest in the topics covered. 

Procurement (02.04.20, 12.00pm)

Sam Ulyatt and John Welch of Crown Commercial Service, part of the Cabinet Office explore the recent procurement policy notices and what they mean for the construction sector. Alasdair Reisner of CECA joins to explore how contractors can support the supply chain during the crisis. 

People in a Pandemic (07.04.20, 12.00pm)

Exploring the HR and people issues raised by the crisis such as remote working, staff morale and more. Panellists TBA soon.

Communicating in a Crisis (09.04.20, 1.30pm)

With special guest Andy Walker, editor of Infrastructure Intelligence, we will explore the steps you need to take to communicate effectively externally, internally and with stakeholders and clients. Stuart Young, BEIS joins us to help answer any questions.

The Briefing has been prepared in collaboration between the industry’s leading trade and representative bodies: Association for Consultancy & Engineering, Builders Merchant Federation, Build UK, Chartered Institute of Building, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Industry Council, Construction Plant-hire Association, Construction Products Association, Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), Federation of Master Builders, National Federation of Builders, and Institution of Civil Engineers. 

We are grateful to Building, Construction Enquirer, Construction Manager, Construction News, Highways, Infrastructure Intelligence, and New Civil Engineer for support in distribution to the wider industry.

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