Build UK’s update the industry amid the covid-19 outbreak
Build UK joined the latest industry conference call with minister for business and industry Nadhim Zahawi last week, where he confirmed that the government would be identifying public sector construction projects that could be brought forward or accelerated.
Demonstrating that commitment, transport secretary Grant Shapps has announced a transport infrastructure investment fund worth £1.7bn to improve roads and railways, as well as the acceleration of £175m worth of vital repairs while fewer passengers are using the transport system.
The future pipeline of work is a major concern for Build UK members and information from Builders’ Conference shows a continued downward trend in both the number and value of contracts awarded in the first two weeks of May. 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 £2.08bn per week to just £0.3bn in the first week of May, and £1.43bn 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.
Transport for London (TfL) is ‘Restarting London’ from today, increasing service levels on both tubes and buses while also reinstating the congestion charge of £11.50 for drivers between 7:00am and 6:00pm, Monday to Friday.
Build UK is helping TfL to manage capacity and map future requirements on public transport as more people return to work. Working with our members, we have provided detailed information on over 120 large projects in London, the majority of which are operating staggered start and finish times and do not expect to reach full capacity until July at the earliest.
Build UK’s repurposed Open Doors website has been a huge success and construction workers now have access to over 27,000 beds across the UK and Ireland when working away from home. If you require accommodation and none is shown locally, please send Build UK the site postcode or location. By working with trade body UK Hospitality, we can add providers where there is demand.
Finally, please help us to keep the supply chain open by taking a few moments to share your demand for materials and products via the latest Build UK materials survey before 5:00pm today.
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.