Build UK hoping empty hotels can be given over to workers living away from home

Build UK is looking to extend site opening hours and commandeer hotel rooms for workers living away from home.

As more and more main contractors begin limited site reopenings, the trade body said it has opened up talks with the Local Government Association to keep sites open for longer.

coronavirus construction

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Sites have been told to enforce 2m social distancing rules

With the onset of spring and lighter nights, firms are hoping to pull back some of the lost time caused by sites being forced to shut down in the wake of the government’s decision to put the country into lockdown.

But those firms restarting jobs, which include Mace, Multiplex, Sir Robert McAlpine and Lendlease, have all stressed that their schemes are only being run with a fraction of the numbers seen on sites before the lockdown began more than four weeks ago.

Build UK is also looking into the availability of hotel accommodation for workers living away from home. Hotels have emptied since the covid-19 pandemic began and, according to trade group UK Hospitality, trade and footfall plummeted by up to 70% in the wake of last month’s comments by the prime minister Boris Johnson to avoid hospitality venues.

Contractors in London have faced particular issues getting workers to site without using the Tube network – which is operating a reduced service and is leading to worries about overcrowding which clashes with the government’s 2m social distancing rules.

Last night the government’s chief medical officer Prof Chris Whitty said social distancing would need to remain in place until at least the end of the year.