Last night, the Prime Minister addressed the nation and imposed restrictions on the nation with people only being allowed to leave their home for specific, limited purposes. He specifically referred to a number of business and retail sectors which must close. However, this has left quite a lot of uncertainty. Are your workers key workers? Are non-key workers able to work if they cannot do so from home? This is obviously of concern for housebuilders and their contractors. Work on-site clearly cannot be done from home but is it specifically restricted under this latest announcement?
The Secretary of State for Housing, Robert Jenrick, has this morning tweeted to say that those in construction, building and maintenance industries should:
- Work from home if they are able to do so;
- Continue working on site if they are already doing so but make sure that Public Health England guidance on social distancing is followed; and
- Stay home outside of work.
Work can therefore continue on sites for now – but bear in mind that any ongoing work is likely to be subject to delays as suppliers, individual contractors, local authorities and utilities are changing their current service arrangements to reflect the latest guidance for their industry. If you do decide to keep your sites open, be aware that the situation is rapidly changing and you will need to keep your decision to continue under constant review. Consideration as to what you would require for a shutdown and how quickly you can put that into place should also be focused on at this time.