Build UK’s update the industry amid the covid-19 outbreak 

The Site Operating Procedures have been updated by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) to reflect the latest Government guidance following the easing of lockdown measures in England from Saturday 4 July. The ‘one metre plus’ social distancing guidelines require workers to stay two metres apart, or one metre with risk mitigation where two metres is not viable, and it is expected that sites will maintain the social distancing measures in place.

Other changes to the Site Operating Procedures – Version 5 are minimal and include:

  • Updates to the ‘When to Travel to Work’ section
  • The latest peak times for public transport
  • Entry systems to be regularly cleaned rather than between each use
  • Drivers to have access to welfare facilities
  • Canteens that have been closed or offered a restricted service may now reopen.

Please note that you may need to refresh your browser cache in order to view the latest version by pressing Ctrl+Shift+R (Windows) or Cmd+Shift+R (Mac).

In a personal call to Build UK Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol, Minister for Business and Industry Nadhim Zahawi confirmed the 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:

  • £1.5bn 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.

Build UK is delighted to welcome this commitment to an infrastructure revolution, which supports the CLC Roadmap to Recovery and offers the opportunity to create connected communities and a sustainable industry.

‘Flexible furloughing’ comes into effect as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme today, allowing employers to bring furloughed employees back to work for any number of hours/shift pattern, whilst still claiming grant for the hours not worked. Flexible furloughing agreements must be for a minimum of one week and confirmed in writing. Detailed guidance is available for employers, along with an online calculator to help with working out claims.

The deadline for submitting claims for furlough periods ending on or before 30 June is 31 July 2020. If you have overclaimed through the scheme, you can repay your grant by either correcting it in your next claim or making a payment to HMRC if you are not making another claim.

Build UK and Timewise are hosting a webinar tomorrow from 2:00pm – 3:30pm to discuss how the coronavirus crisis has accelerated our project to create more flexible working arrangements in construction and you can register your place online.

Businesses should continue to follow the most up-to-date government guidance and for the latest updates please follow Build UK on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have any construction-specific queries or feedback on what is happening within the industry, please contact Build UK