NFDC Statement: Contractor’s Must Make Informed Decisions

NFDC has been entirely focused on supporting Members, signposting resources and collaborating with key industry bodies, to lobby for clear guidance for the construction and demolition sectors during the COVID-19 crisis.

We trust you are following NFDC and NDTG website news, where we are posting Coronavirus updates relevant to demolition contractors as regularly as possible. Members are receiving updates direct to their inboxes and NFDC phonelines are being manned to take a vast number of enquiries from Contractors, predominantly about ‘furlough’ and whether the government advice means that their demolition sites should close. NFDC is doing its utmost to support Members during this time.

The NFDC, and other industry bodies including IDE, Build UK and CLC, along with the UK government, will undoubtedly be accused of ‘sitting on the fence’ regarding the closure, or non-closure, of demolition and construction sites.

Whilst we applaud Contractors who have assessed the risks to their workforce and the general public, then taken the decision to shut their sites, it is not the NFDC’s role to judge those who assess the risks and choose to keep their sites open – provided they are following government guidance. It is not a question of NFDC, or other industry bodies, not being ‘bold’. It is an individual Contractor’s right, based on their individual projects and the existing guidance, to risk assess effectively and adapt accordingly to protect their people and the public.

Like Build UK is not an enforcement agency able to shut down construction sites, NFDC does not have the power or authority to enforce the shutdown of UK demolition sites.

NFDC backs and promotes the CLC Guidance for Site Operating Procedures, along with government advice. Should our people not be able to work at the required 2 metre distancing – or travel to and from work implementing this rule, Contractors must be prepared to take steps for the safe closure of their sites. Indeed, some Contractors have already elected to suspend operations for the foreseeable, or for a short-time to establish if they can implement the safety procedures effectively in order to continue working.

We are monitoring the situation closely and wish to reinforce NFDC’s involvement in campaigning for clarity from the UK government, alongside other key industry bodies as a collective and collaborative team effort. We would also reinforce that the safety and protection of the demolition workforce is of paramount importance.

Our priorities are as follows;
– To support Members with their enquiries directly.
– To consistently and frequently promote risk assessment and provide information to help inform Contractors’ decisions.
– To provide the demolition contractor’s voice when influencing decisions from those with the powers to enforce further action.
– To hold to account the government and its departments to deliver promised financial support packages to businesses with clarity and pace.
Our leadership team are meeting, remotely, on a daily basis to prepare for the significant impact of COVID-19 on the demolition industry in the short, medium and longer-term.