The Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum has warmly welcomed today’s (11 June) Scottish Government announcement that domestic work will be included amongst the scope of construction work now permitted.
The news has been eagerly awaited by all parts of the industry for whom domestic work makes up a major part of their business, and follows recent restart discussions between the Forum and Kevin Stewart, MSP, the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning.
CICV Forum Chair Alan Wilson, who is also Managing Director of SELECT, said: “The announcement about a return to work and the inclusion of domestic work in the lockdown easing will be a huge relief to the lots of businesses across the whole sector which provide essential services to homeowners all over Scotland.
“However, as always in construction, safety is the overriding consideration and firms must prepare to carry out work in a wholly changed working environment, which will produce its own new challenges.”
Shortly before the announcement was made, Mr Stewart had responded to a letter from Mr Wilson, confirming that the move to Phase 2 of the construction sector restart plan would include work in domestic properties.
He also stressed that the restart would have to be undertaken with a new set of safe working practices in mind, including physical distancing, face coverings and enhanced hygiene provision, in order to continue to control the virus.
Gordon Nelson, Scotland Director of Forum member the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Health and safety, for employees and customers alike, will be critical as we work to bring the construction industry back to some semblance of normality.
“While this is good news, everyone concerned must recognise the importance of continuing to follow the guidance and ensuring that the only job that will be undertaken will be a safe job.”
Fiona Hodgson, Chief Executive of Forum member the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF), said: “The response from the construction industry across Scotland during this crisis has been impressive, coming together to take positive action for mutual benefit.
“While the announcement is welcome, we are not out of the woods yet and every company and employee involved in getting back to work needs to abide by the new restrictions under which we all must now operate.”
The CICV Forum has been at the forefront of information dissemination to the sector throughout the COVID-19 crisis and has become for many enterprises the first port of call for clarity of advice.
Made up of trade associations, professional services bodies, companies and individuals, it went into action immediately in March with advice on how to operate safely while carrying out emergency or essential work.
It has since then been drawing on the collective expertise of its members to maintain a steady supply of information and practical advice to the sector as well as carrying out surveys, producing animations and posters, hosting webinars and making appeals to Government Ministers.