Home News Nadhim Zahawi confirms construction can continue to work

The construction minister Nadhim Zahawi has reconfirmed that construction sites should remain open despite the growing threat from the coronavirus crisis. The announcement follows news of construction workers being increasingly subject to abuse on social media and reports that police are stopping delivery vans.

In a tweet, Mr Zahawi said: “For sectors like #construction and #manufacturing, it’s not always possible for employees to work from home. Construction work should continue in a way that follows guidance from @PHE_uk including on social distancing & handwashing.”

Construction trade bodies are aware of growing concerns surrounding abuse and it is understood that the Construction Leadership Council will be producing a guide narrative for the construction sector to use when it responds to criticism.

Despite the government calls to continue to work more sites are shutting and reports indicate that 25% of sites have closed however in some area it is as high as 75%.

There have also been reports of delivery vehicles being stopped by police. Some distributors are starting to provide drivers with a ‘letter of authority’ to prove that they are working legitimately.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Most FMB members have already taken the lead and ceased the majority of their work. It is almost impossible to follow Public Health England’s social distancing advice on many sites, and it would therefore be safer to close them.”
Berry added: “However, the Government must ensure that these firms don’t face a cliff-edge while doing the right thing and should ensure that grants of £25,000 are made available and that ample support is extended to the self-employed who represent 37% of construction jobs.”

Sites closing to assess working conditions can reopen if they comply with safe working procedures.

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