An archive of Covid-19 weekly developments
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.
Summary w/c 18 May
- Build UK Coronavirus Update 21 May Includes some excellent examples of Main Contractor safe operating procedures
- The Future Fund will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. The fund will be open for applications from Wednesday 20 May 2020. These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that typically rely on equity investment and are unable to access other government business support programmes because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit.
- From Tuesday 26 May 2020, small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees. Employers will be able to make claims to the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme through a new online service. Employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
- The Department for International Trade are running a series of webinars to help businesses through coronavirus:
- Site Operating Procedures v.4 dated 18 May 2020. The relatively minor updates are confirmed as:
- Removal of the requirement for face to face contact to be kept to 15 minutes or less
- The section on PPE now links to the latest Government guidance on face coverings
- References to one-way systems and the reconfiguration of seating and tables and an update on portable toilets
- The requirement to share risk assessments with the workforce
- Clarification on when to travel to work, as set out in the Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy
- Updated links and wording on social distancing.
- Build UK Coronavirus Update 18 May: The update contains a couple of key points:
- In the preceding six weeks of the lockdown there was an average of 122 contract awards each week, whilst the first and second weeks of May saw just 66 and 94 contracts awarded respectively. The value of contracts awarded fell from an average of £2.08 billion per week to just £0.3 billion in the first week of May, and £1.43 billion in the second.
- The Site Operating Procedures are currently under review following publication of the Government guidance on Working Safely during Coronavirus (COVID-19). There is no longer any reference to face to face contact being 15 minutes or less in the latest guidance, which supersedes previous Government guidance. The Prime Minister has asked that employers maintain the discipline of social distancing and hand washing to avoid a second peak of infection.
w/c 11 May
- Latest Barbour Weekly Report – 15 May 2020 Focusing on projects restarted
- New COVID-19 – Site safety checklists, risk assessment tool and toolbox talk available from the CITB – Information has been produced in collaboration with the Construction Leadership Council and supported by Build UK. The checklist and forms aim to help ensure site operating procedures during COVID-19 are clear and accessible to employees
- The government has published new Working Safely During Coronavirus Guidance with specific guidance for Construction and Factories, Plants and Warehouses.
- The government has published its Coronavirus recovery plan, Our plan to rebuild: the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. The roadmap to lift restrictions step-by-step (p.25) will be of particular interest to members.
- The government has published new guidance on social distancing, Staying alert and safe which includes specific guidance on Going to Work safely.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended for four months until end of October. Until end of July there will be no changes, then from August to October, it will continue for all sectors and regions but for greater flexibility to support the transition back to work. Employers will be able to bring furloughed employees back part time and the government will ask employers to start sharing the cost of paying peoples salaries. Full details will follow by the end of May.
- Several industry bodies have published useful guidance on ways of returning to work safely. The Mineral Products Association has published a Handbook for Employees and a Handbook for Managers, while BEAMA has published a Guide on returning business operations to a new normal. The Construction Products Association recommends these as useful frameworks for construction product manufacturers to adopt.
- The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) continues to work on a ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ for the industry. The CLC also has a group looking at the challenges that will arise when the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme comes to an end and employers no longer have the option of furloughing their workers. Guidance from the CLC on contractual best practice has been published. Visit the CLC website for the most recent updates. Find out more.
- Construction Leadership Council Proposals for the future of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in an address on Sunday 10 May, his plans to restart the economy and ease lockdown restrictions in England . He said that people should continue to work from home if possible but those who can’t should now go into work, citing that those in the construction and manufacturing industries should be actively encouraged to go to work. He added that workers should drive or walk to work and avoid public transport if possible.
CAB members should continue to consult Public Health England . With further guidance coming out regularly we will endeavour to keep you updated.
w/c 4 May 2020
- The latest Barbour Covid-19 Briefing – 7 May 2020
- The Construction Leadership Council have highlighted a video from AJ Morrisoe & Sons explaining Covid-19 Health and Safety advice . The video looks specifically at advice on 5 areas: Travel; Welfare; Working On Site; Logistics and meetings and briefings.
- Construction Leadership Council Covid-19 Contractual Best Practice 7 May 2020 Government has today backed the CLC Guidance. CAB will be discussing this briefly with Geraldine Fleming, Driver Trett during the next CAB Contracts seminar on Preparing Claims on 21 May.
- Latest Barbour Covid-19 Stats Update on 6 May 2020 Tom Hall will be be speaking live on the next CAB webinar ‘Covid 19 – The Shape of Recovery’ at 12 pm on 12 May.
- Register here
- A discretionary fund has been set up by the Government to support small businesseswith less than 50 employees affected by coronavirus with their ongoing fixed property-related costs. Whilst local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses, such as those in shared spaces and small charity properties, they may choose to pay grants of up to £25,000 to other businesses based on local economic need
- Covid-19 Construction Briefing (No.6) from Barbour ABI and AMA Research This excellent piece of research is undertaken by Chief Economist, Tom Hall. You can hear him speak live on the next CAB webinar ‘Covid 19 – The Shape of Recovery’ at 12 pm on 12 May.
w/c 27 April 2020
- Build UK Coronavirus Newsletter 1 May It highlights problems around PPE/Social Distancing and transport for site workers. It also notes that the Construction Leadership Council are looking to develop a ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ for the industry. Issues discussed include accelerating public sector projects and delaying implementation of Reverse VAT. Liz Bridge, Secretary of the Joint Taxation Committee will be joining a CAB Forum in June (to be launched shortly) to discuss Reverse VAT and changes to IR35.
- Guide to Conflict Avoidance and Dispute Resolution for the Construction and Engineering Industry. This guide has been produced by RICS, ICE, RIBA, CIArb and DRBF and is endorsed by the Construction Leadership Council. It summarises the major benefits of five techniques for avoiding conflict and resolving disputes early, which are endorsed by the organisations. It provides details on how each of these techniques operates in practice, and explains how these independent conflict avoidance and early intervention services can be accessed.
- Coronavirus testing: The Government has extended the criteria under which people in England can receive testing for Coronavirus to include those who cannot work from home but are showing symptoms. This widening will now mean that construction workers that show symptoms would be able to get tested. Details of how to apply for testing can be found here.
- Build UK Contractor membersare reporting that almost 70% of their sites are open in England and Wales. The majority are construction (81%) and infrastructure (78%) sites, with members that include housing in their portfolios confirming that less than half of their housing sites (46%) are open for business. Productivity on construction and infrastructure sites is averaging 67%, with London construction sites proving to be a particular challenge at just 56% output being achieved.
- The new Bounce Back Loans scheme, announced by the Chancellor, will allow businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days. Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and from Monday 4 May, businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May.
- A how to guide for reopening your workplace v.1.0 An interesting and very thorough guide by Cushman & Wakefield (one of the world’s largest real estate services firms) on some of the outline thinking and practices they have implemented across the globe in response to Covid-19 (including China).
w/c 20 April 2020
- Latest Barbour ABI ‘Economic & Construction Market Review – April 2020 . Particularly useful look at changes in regional activity.
- New Builders Merchants Federation – Branch Operating Guidelines (in conjunction with Construction Leadership Council) Useful document to show what is considered to be social distancing best practice.
- Government Coronavirus business support finder tool launched
- HSE Updates:
- Coronavirus: A joint statement between HSE, the TUC and the CBI
- Social distancing, keeping businesses open and in-work activities during the coronavirus outbreak
- HSE has published the following guidance, which you may find useful: face mask fit-testing; working from home; driver welfare facilities; first aid cover and qualifications; the manufacture and supply of hand sanitisers
- Build UK release latest Coronavirus update 20 April
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has opened, employees’ wages can now be claimed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This is A step by step guide for employers which has been prepared by HMRC.
- A new website has been launched by government ‘Every Mind Matters’ which includes expert advice and practical tips to help you look after your mental well being including issues surrounding Coronavirus (Covid-19)
w/c 13 April
- The Chancellor extends furlough scheme to the end of June 2020
- Reminder: There were changes made to eligibility for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for SME’s on 3 April, but it is thought these may take time to filter through so worth re-checking!
- Noble Francis, Economics Director, Construction Products Association, said that it was very difficult to forecast the impact on construction without knowing the extent of the lockdown period. He admitted: “The largest impacts and the slowest recoveries are likely to be in spec development and in areas dependent on household spending such as private housing, commercial and private housing repair, maintenance and improvement.” (Building Online 17 April). Noble will address CAB members on our ‘Construction & Economics – Where do we go now?’ webinar on 21 April 9.45 am.
- The daily COVID-19 Construction Industry Briefing for 17 April, produced in collaboration between the main construction trade bodies, includes information CAB members may find useful on the removal of unsafe cladding and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
- Build UK have issued their latest Coronavirus update (17 April) which has some interesting examples of how social distancing has been developed in construction workplaces especially Highways England, Wates and VolkerWessels UK
- Version 3 of the the CLC’s Site Operating Procedures was launched on 14 April.
- The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has released a Statement on Payment and Contracts calling for construction businesses across the supply chain to pay in accordance with agreed contractual terms.
- The government has launched a new Coronavirus business hub on GOV.UK – gov.uk/business-support
- The government has released guidance on Social distancing in the workplace during coronavirus (COVID-19), with specific sector guidance for Construction and specific sector guidance for Manufacturing.
- The Scottish government has released Construction Sector Guidance outlining non-essential services and essential projects.
- The Welsh government has published guidance on Taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace.
- The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma MP, has written to the manufactuing sector making it clear there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules.