25th March 2020
Guidance regarding UK Demolition Site Operation during COVID-19 Crisis
NFDC understands that the UK government has not enforced the closure of construction and demolition sites at this time. At the Coronavirus Briefing on Tuesday 24th March, Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated that “Construction work can continue so long as people are 2m (6.5ft) apart”.
This statement, alongside government advice regarding non-essential travel and staying at home, has understandably caused some confusion within the construction and demolition sector, with NFDC Members looking to the Federation and other industry bodies, including Build UK, for clarity on whether to continue to operate, or shut their sites down.
CLC issued Guidance on Site Operating Procedures for Contractors who remain operational. This guidance was disseminated to NFDC Members on Tuesday 24th March, however, NFDC is receiving reports that Contractors are finding it difficult to maintain safe distances between Operatives and the national news is reporting of Construction workers concerns about continuing to go to work.
NFDC is aiming to provide Members with resources and information to make independent decisions during these unprecedented times, but to be absolutely clear, NFDC does not have the power or authority to enforce shutdown of demolition sites. NFDC is aware that, after careful assessment of risk, some Members will opt to keep their sites operational and others will shut. NFDC is also aware that Industry Service Providers are experiencing impact to their businesses and now making their own, independent decisions to adapt their operations at this challenging time.
In the absence of government enforced site closure at this time, NFDC would ask that individual Contractors continue to weigh up the risks to their workforce and act in their best interests – as well as considering the risk of spreading Coronavirus to the general public. Please keep abreast of government advice, which may change daily as Ministers strive to manage the crisis and monitor the impact of measures taken thus far.
NFDC continues to monitor the situation very closely and would advise those Members whose sites do remain operational to follow the CLC Site Operating Procedures, protect their workforce, enforce the critical ‘2m apart’ rule and ensure that all workers are both aware of, and consciously implementing, distancing and other safety measures whilst travelling into work and on site.
Given the ever-evolving government advice, NFDC Members should be taking the necessary preparation steps to be able to shut their sites down safely if, or when, the time comes.