Construction Industry Guidance – Update 6 April 2020
As part of our commitment to keeping our clients fully up to date with the evolving government guidance, Sarah Duncan, head of construction law at Ashtons Legal, comments as follows:
This is a confusing time for the construction industry and it is difficult for construction companies to know how best to continue their business and balance this with the need to protect their employees.
This is particularly the case as many insurance policies will not cover the cost of delays/cessation/termination as a result of this virus, which is so new that it is not likely to be described as a specified peril which would be covered by the policy.
They are therefore likely to come under significant pressure from their customers to carry on working as the current government policy is not to shut construction sites altogether.
Alok Sharma, the Secretary of State for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy, confirmed that the Site Operating Procedures published by the Construction Leadership Council have aligned with Public Health England (PHE) guidance that must be implemented in the workplace.
In response to feedback, the Site Operating Procedures Version 2 has now been published to include:
- clarification that where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by two metres then work should not be carried out
- the requests from Transport for London to avoid using the tube network during peak times
- updates from Public Health England to reference:
- those living with someone who has shown signs of COVID-19 infection
- those living with someone who is shielding
- 60%+ alcohol-based hand sanitiser
- keeping groups of workers together to minimise the transfer of infection across the workforce
- the need to monitor the implementation of the procedures.
Many construction companies have taken matters into their own hands, and closed their sites as in practice, following guidance to the letter will be difficult without much clearer guidance.
This information is correct at 9.30am on 6 April 2020.
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