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.
Updated Site Operating Procedures
The government has confirmed that construction sites should continue to operate during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Alok Sharma, the secretary of state for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, confirmed that the Site Operating Procedures published by the Construction Leadership Council are aligned with Public Health England (PHE) guidance that must be implemented in the workplace.
In response to feedback, the Site Operating Procedures Version 2 has now been published to include:
- Clarification that where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres then work should not be carried out;
- The request from Transport for London to avoid using the tube network during peak times;
Updates from Public Health England to reference:
- those living with someone who has shown signs of Covid-19 infection;
- those living with someone who is shielding;
- 60%+ alcohol-based hand sanitiser;
- keeping groups of workers together to minimise transfer of infection across the workforce.
The need to monitor implementation of the procedures.
A copy of the updated Site Operating Procedures can be found here.
CLC advice on employment
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has produced new guidance on the employment issues raised by the coronavirus crisis. The document provides the industry with everything it needs to know on furloughing staff, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-employed Income Support Scheme.
A series of in-depth FAQs are also included in the guidance for the two major employment schemes designed to protect jobs whilst the economy is in partial suspension.
CLC Letter to Prime Minister
The Construction Leadership Council wrote to the prime minister yesterday (1 April) setting out essential actions to secure the future of the sector:
- Suspend PAYE and CIS tax due to HMRC in April and May;
- Defer/cancel Apprenticeship Levy payments;
- Government to advise all public sector clients, regulated utilities, and firms in the private sector to expedite cash flow throughout the supply chain;
- Support the directors of micro-businesses;
- Direct all government bodies to release retention monies;
- Extend the £25k SME business continuity grants scheme to the construction sector.
A copy of the letter is available here.
CITB update - Skills and Training Fund
CITB’s Skills and Training Fund has been refreshed and now has two strands supporting: micro and small companies (up to 100 employees), and medium-sized businesses (up to 250 employees) to become a wider offer for employers.
CITB has adapted to the COVID-19 situation by amending the scope of activity that will be supported offering more flexibility on what businesses can apply for. The fund comprises of two streams:
A Skills and Training Fund for small and micro-sized businesses where businesses can apply for a maximum of £10,000 (full details and how to apply) depending on the size of the employer
A Skills and Training Fund for medium-sized businesses where employers with up to 250 employees are eligible to receive up to £25,000 (full details and how to apply).
Based on employer need, the fund will allow businesses to define then address their particular challenges. The focus has broadened from productivity and innovation, to helping employers with business sustainability and skill retention – key concerns for the construction industry in the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in at the moment.
Employers are encouraged to contact their CITB advisor to discuss how they can access this support.
Mental health and wellbeing
Advice and information on how employees can look after their mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
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 here. While 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.
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.