In Covid update

CLC Roadmap to Recovery

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has published a Roadmap to Recovery to secure the future of construction businesses nationwide, while setting the industry on a sustainable path towards recovery.

The strategy aims to increase the level of activity across the construction ecosystem, accelerate the process of industry adjustment to the new normal, and build capacity in the industry to deliver strategic priorities, including: increasing prosperity across the UK; decarbonisation; modernisation through digital and manufacturing technologies; and delivering better, safer buildings.As well as the safe return to work, the retention of skills and people are a key focus in the immediate stages.

CLC survey

To help shape the industry and support plans going forward the Construction Leadership Council has opened a short People Survey to collect high level, cross industry data on the impact of Coronavirus on employment levels. The results will be used  by the CLC  to inform the actions under the Roadmap to Recovery. All information provided is confidential and cannot be attributed to individual companies. The deadline for completing the survey is 4pm on  Friday 5 June

Majority of construction sites open says Build UK

The latest Build UK Contractor survey at the end of May showed that 93% of infrastructure and construction sites in England and Wales are now open, up from 86% the previous week. The number of projects running in London had risen rising to 94%. Output also continued to improve rising to 79%, compared to 75% the week before, with London making significant gains up from 68% to 77%.

The number of housing sites in England and Wales open rose from 67% to 79% but output remained a challenge at just 67%. In Scotland, only 24% of projects are open and output is at 24%.

However, Build UK partner Builders’ Conference has highlighted the significant impact of coronavirus on contracts awarded and tender opportunities. Pre-coronavirus between May 2019 and March 2020, the number of contracts awarded each month averaged 608. This fell to 524 contracts in April 2020 and just 359 contracts in May 2020. This is 41% below the average and a decrease of 52% compared to May 2019.

Thee value awarded in May 2020 dropped by 60% to £3.9 billion. This is 35% lower than the monthly average of £6 billion between May 2019 and March 2020 and 24% below May 2019.

There was a slight increase in the number of tender opportunities available in May, compared to April. The number of projects open for tender increased by 16% from 272 in April to 312 in May. However, this is still 55% below the monthly average of 689 projects available for tender between May 2019 and March 2020 and 66% lower than May 2019.

Scotland outlines routemap for recovery

On 21 May the Scottish Government released its Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis, which set out its phased approach to recovery.  From 29 May, the construction sector is expected to be able to implement the first phase in its restart plan but will only be able to move to ‘phase 2’ following consultation with government to ensure it is safe to do so in line with public health advice.

The Scottish Government published a Construction Policy Note (CPN) CPN 3/2020on 29 May which set out matters for contracting authorities to consider when making preparations in readiness to implement procurement procedures for new projects and reopen public construction sites which are currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions

This noted that this there was no instruction to re-open closed sites or to begin work on new sites, other than those previously defined as essential sites. It recommended that contracting authorities should take the steps necessary to review and reconsider their procedures for project initiation, procurement and contract management in order to be able to commence the restart of the delivery of construction projects to the public estate immediately upon receipt of such guidance from Scottish Government.

 Advance Apprenticeship Grants

Since March, CITB has been paying, in advance, apprenticeship attendance grants for current second and third year apprentices to help keep skills in the construction industry amid the COVID-19 crisis. This was one of several ways that CITB has been relieving cash flow pressure on employers, including the suspension of levy collection.

These advance attendance payments will continue to be available for current second and third year apprentices but, will not be extended  to those current first year apprentices entering their second year. The usual Grant funding and other support will of course continue.

 Accommodation for construction workers

Build UK has teamed up with UK Hospitality to identify accommodation providers with space for essential workers. The Open Doors site provides details of accommodation providers that have space, as well as sites currently in need of accommodation.