Scotland construction sites set for phased return to work from Thursday

As reported by the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum has welcomed the first steps in getting the sector in Scotland back to work.

The reaction comes after Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said the country will begin a process to reopen construction sites from this Thursday, 28th May, alongside other measures.

Under the phased return to work, businesses will be allowed to resume work on construction sites based on a six-point plan the Government has developed with the industry.

In a briefing last week (21st), Sturgeon said: "By doing the right thing, all of us have helped to slow down the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS, and to save lives and as a result we are able - gradually, cautiously, and in phases - to plan our move towards a new normality."

Vaughan Hart, Managing Director of forum member the Scottish Building Federation, told Infrastructure Intelligence: "The shutdown in Scotlnd has been one of the biggest challenges the sector has ever faced and, while we wholeheartedly welcome the return to work, it must be carried out in the proper manner."

Hart also emphasised the 'paramount' importance of the health and safety of operatives, and advised the correct guidance and procedures must be adhered to 'at every phase' of the proposed route map.

Alan Wilson, Chair of the CICV Forum and Managing Director of SELECT, the electrotechnical trade body for Scotland, added: "This is the news we have been waiting for and it has not come a moment too soon. We all understand the reasons why Scotland has been in virtual shutdown since March, and we all need to work together to assist the sector as it faces an uphill struggle to recover."

The CICV Forum plans to release more guidance to help business owners, contractors and apprentices through each stage of the phased return.

In an address to the UK on 10th May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson effectively told the construction industry to return to work following the Covid-19 lockdown.

He said: “We now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.

“And we want it to be safe for you to get to work. So you should avoid public transport if at all possible – because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited.

“So work from home if you can, but you should go to work if you can’t work from home.”

Since Sturgeon's announcement last week, Scotland looks set to follow other parts of the UK in reopening construction sites and kick-starting the industry back into gear.