Last updated: Thursday 29 July
CAB is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 for its members and the wider construction industry closely. We are working closely with the Construction Products Association and other construction bodies and our business support partners to provide the most appropriate business continuity support.
The next CAB webinars for members can be viewed here. Contact Julie.harley@c-a-b,org.uk if you are a member who has not received links to the seminars or is interested in limited guest places available.
Summary w/c 27 July
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has announced a number of new policies, which should help to support construction activity, and further detail has been published including:
- Changes to Use Classes Order ‐ From 1 September 2020, a number of existing uses will be condensed into a single commercial, business and service use, which means that planning permission will not be required for changing use going forward. There are a list of exemptions, including pubs, bars, nightclubs and take‐away food establishments, which will continue to require planning permission.
- A new permitted development right ‐ From 31 August 2020, commercial buildings will be able to be replaced with residential buildings using a streamlined prior approval process, rather than a full planning application. There will be a number of qualifications, including a vacancy test of six months, a size limitation of 1,000 square metres, and a height limit of 18 metres.
- Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme ‐ A new £3 billion scheme will increase investment in providers of affordable housing and support the delivery of a significant number of new affordable homes. The contract for a delivery partner to operate the scheme should be awarded over the coming weeks and the scheme will be open for business by the end of the year.
The Government has published guidance on extending construction working hours introduced in the Business and Planning Act. Companies are now able to request extended and flexible site working hours through a fast‐track application process, with Local Authorities having 14 calendar days to make a decision otherwise the revised working hours will be deemed to have been consented to.
Summary w/c 13 July
- Latest Build UK Update 13 July 2020 – important updates on payments and contracts and also revised legislation.
Summary w/c 6 July
- 8.7.20 Build UK continues to work with Constructionline to measure the impact of coronavirus on the industry and the latest infographic based on data submitted from over 8,600 suppliers reveals that almost half are reporting at least a 20% impact on productivity. 59% of suppliers have suspended operations at some point due to coronavirus, and sites in Scotland remain a particular challenge with 63% of operations still suspended to some degree last week.
Summary w/c 29 June
- Safe working in domestic environment – The government and industry have written new guidelines for tradespeople that promote safe working in and around people’s homes. This three-part guide will help individuals to know what to do before, while and after they have tradespeople working for them to promote safe working in and around the home.
- Prime Minister Announces Government’s commitment to ‘Build Build Build’, bringing forward £5 billion of capital investment projects to support jobs and the economic recovery, alongside radical reforms to the planning system. Described by the Prime Minister as a ‘New Deal’, the ambition is to build better, greener and faster. Chancellor Rishi Sunak will chair a new taskforce known as Project Speed and the investment in infrastructure will include:
- £1.5 billion this year for hospital maintenance
- £100 million this year for 29 road projects
- Over £1 billion to fund the first 50 projects of a new ten‐year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020‐21
- £560 million and £200 million this year for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively
- £142 million for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts, £83 million for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60 million for temporary prison places
- £900 million for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96 million to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund.
- New planning regulations will enable existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, to be converted into new homes. These will be supported by a package of measures, including a £12 billion affordable homes programme supporting up to 180,000 new affordable homes over the next eight years and a £450 million boost for the Home Builders Fund to help smaller developers and support around 7,200 new homes.
New planning regulations will enable existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, to be converted into new homes. These will be supported by a package of measures, including a £12 billion affordable homes programme supporting up to 180,000 new affordable homes over the next eight years and a £450 million boost for the Home Builders Fund to help smaller developers and support around 7,200 new homes.
Summary w/c 22 June
- New Back to Work Guide v.5 – from Croner An excellent checklist based on the very latest guidance. All members should note that they have access to a free Croner Helpline facility.
- Public Procurement Review Service allows suppliers to anonymously raise concerns they have about public sector buying and prompt payment – Public Procurement Review Service (PPRS) allows suppliers to anonymously raise concerns they have about public sector buying and prompt payment and it’s free to use. It is one of a range of measures designed to make Government easier to work with, levelling the playing field for those who want to supply to Government.
Summary w/c 15 June
- Trade Credit Insurance Guidance during COVID-19 – The Construction Leadership Council COVID-19 Task Force has published trade credit insurance guidance to support construction businesses in the construction and maintenance supply chain, including building merchants and suppliers. The guidance aims to provide practical advice and considerations for discussions with brokers and insurers when seeking trade credit insurance
- CLC People Survey: New report warns of significant job losses in construction – A survey conducted by BuildUK predicts a 10% drop in the construction workforce by September with potentially more falls to come.
- The Mayor of London has confirmed that construction vehicles will have a six-month exemption from implementing the next stages (Stages IIIB and IV) of the Non‐Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) Low Emission Zone when it comes into effect on 1 September 2020. This means that all construction machinery will now have until 1 March 2021 to meet the requirements.
Summary w/c 8 June
- HM Revenue & Customs has announced that the introduction of the domestic reverse charge for construction services will be delayed from 01 October 2020 until 01 March 2021 due to the impact of the coronavirus on the construction sector.
- The Government launched a Trade Credit Reinsurance scheme with up to £10 billion of backing, that will see the vast majority of Trade Credit Insurance coverage maintained across the UK until 31 December, backdated to 01 April. The manufacturing and construction sectors are amongst the largest users of Trade Credit Insurance.
- New measures at the UK border to protect against a second wave of the pandemic were introduced from 8 June 2020. Road haulage, freight workers and some manufacturing services engineers will now be exempt from the 14 days of self-isolation.
- BSI has published UK Safe Working Guidelines to help businesses manage a safe return to work and reoccupation of their facilities. The guidelines are intended to become a consensus of good practice and BSI encourages the business community and members of the public to have their say and share their learnings and insight on safe working to help protect public health.
Summary w/c 1 June
- Build UK Update 3 June 2020 Pre-coronavirus between May 2019 and March 2020, the number of contracts awarded each month averaged 608. This fell to 524 contracts in April 2020 and just 359 contracts in May 2020. This is 41% below the average and a decrease of 52% compared to May 2019.
- Construction Leadership Council launches Roadmap to Recovery Roadmap to Recovery is a strategy to drive the recovery of the construction and built environment sectors, and through them the wider UK economy, following the Covid19 pandemic and economic downturn
Summary w/c 25 May
- Total construction output in Great Britain is expected to fall by 25% during 2020, according to the Construction Products Association. The anticipated decline in output is one of three scenarios for construction output examined by the CPA
- Barbour ABI Weekly Covid Briefing – This week has seen a relatively small increase in open projects and a fall in delayed projects. Total open projects have increased in number by 120 and in value by £1.9bn. There are around 2,150 open projects with a value of £77bn (£54bn excluding Hinkley Point). Almost all the increase has been in the residential sector.