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Advice for the construction sector

by Kyle Molyneux  |  Tue 24 Mar 2020

Advice for the construction sector

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined the following to fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19): Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work; stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people; and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

Seeking to clarify certain points for the construction industry, Graham Watts, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Council (pictured below), posted the following on Twitter last night: “The chair of the CLC, Andy Mitchell, has been in dialogue with the Cabinet Office since the PM’s announcement at 8-30pm this evening. Officials are working to secure much needed clarity about the position of construction sites, which may take until the morning…

“It is clear that this does not mean that everything must stop - it certainly doesn’t apply to those working in the health services and utilities operations and maintenance for example. In the meantime, the CLC chair has advised the Cabinet Office that the construction... industry will come to work tomorrow [March 24th], to prepare to shut down works safely, whilst awaiting further information. His interpretation is that this means as a minimum, to do whatever is necessary to leave works in a state that can be safely left for some while... and to secure plant, equipment and materials.

“He has also made clear that this should include the maintaining of site security, the stability of partially constructed structures that could become unstable and potentially dangerous, and the maintenance of systems... that would be unsafe to stop (dewatering systems that, if failed, could lead to catastrophic disaster, but there will be other examples). We hope that by tomorrow morning there will be a much clearer picture of exactly what can and cannot continue...

“The main message is that the Prime Minister’s announcement does not mean “do not go to work regardless of the consequences” as this would be irrational and wrong, and unintended. END”

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