tackling cash flow problems (002)
Construction sites

The formal government position with regard to construction sites being open is that construction work should continue and this was reiterated once more over the weekend by Alok Sharma MP, the BEIS Secretary of State and in an open letter to the construction industry by Nadhim Zahawi MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State.

This remains the formal line of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) with the codicil that sites should operate in accordance with Public Health England instructions; without compromising health and safety; and in accordance with the Site Operating procedures issued last week by the CLC, available here.

The CLC has prepared the attached template of a letter that firms can adopt and adapt to issue to their workforces regarding travel to work, available here. Please issue this to your members if they are travelling.

The CLC is also in the final stages of developing guidance on construction work that is deemed to be essential, which will broadly follow and expand upon the list in my blog, last week. This list will be published shortly, however the official government advice is that ALL sites should still remain open providing the above conditions can be met.

The current advice to those carrying out work on site should be that they carry out their own risk assessment on each site and determine whether or not it is safe for them to continue to work in relation to Public Health England instructions and the Site Operating Procedures. If it is not possible to work in accordance with the PHE instructions or with regard to the site operation procedures then they should not work.

If sites are to be temporarily closed, the CLC has today published guidance on how sites should be closed.


Rules on carrying over annual leave to be relaxed

Workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to COVID-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years. These measures will ensure workers won’t lose their leave entitlements and gives more flexibility to business at a time when it is needed most. Find more information here.


Government amends insolvency law to help companies keep trading while they explore options for rescue

Under the plans, the UK’s Insolvency Framework will add new restructuring tools to give companies breathing space and keep trading while they explore options for rescue. The proposals will also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid. The Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency. Find out more here


Exemptions from Devices regulations during the coronavirus outbreak

Guidance on the fast-track approval of medical devices during COVID-19 outbreak. In this exceptional situation, MHRA may authorise you to supply a non-CE marked device in the interest of the protection of health.


Further details of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme announced

New guidance on Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been published. In a move that could save businesses an extra £300 a month for each employee under the scheme, the government will now cover the employer national insurance and minimum auto-enrollment pension scheme contributions employers pay on the wages they must pay their furloughed staff – on top of the wages covered under the scheme. Those furloughed can volunteer for the NHS without risking their pay.

Guidance for employers on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can be found here whilst guidance for employees can be found here.

The ACE has produced some excellent FAQs about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, available here.


Support the fight against coronavirus

The Construction Leadership Council is in touch with NHS London Hospitals Trust to help the NHS with urgently needed PPE.  A summary of the equipment required is as follows:

  • FFP3 Respirator Masks
  • Full Face Visors (disposable)
  • Full Face Visors (reusable)
  • Safety Goggles/Glasses
  • Hand Sanitiser
  • Full Body (Hazardous Material) Suits
  • Logistics/Transport support

If you are able to provide some of these essential pieces of equipment, please get in touch with Graham Watts (gwatts@cic.org.uk).


ACE webinars: Navigating COVID-19

  • Support for your SME and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (31.03.20, 1.30pm): We welcome Brian Berry, FMB to explore what the crisis means for SMEs. A TBA Partner at Beale & Co joins us to explore the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in more detail. Special guest Fergus Harradence, BEIS, is on hand to help answer any questions.
  • Procurement (02.04.20, 12.00pm): Sam Ulyatt and John Welch of Crown Commercial Service, part of the Cabinet Office explore the recent procurement policy notices and what they mean for the construction sector. Alasdair Reisner of CECA joins to explore how contractors can support the supply chain during the crisis.
  • People in a Pandemic (07.04.20, 12.00pm): Exploring the HR and people issues raised by the crisis such as remote working, staff morale and more. Panellists TBA soon.
  • Communicating in a Crisis (09.04.20, 1.30pm): With special guest Andy Walker, editor of Infrastructure Intelligence, we will explore the steps you need to take to communicate effectively externally, internally and with stakeholders and clients. Stuart Young, BEIS joins us to help answer any questions.

Find out more and replay previous episodes here.


Letter from APS to its members

Lesley Mcleod, the Chief Executive of the Association for Project Safety, has written a letter to members of the organisation with COVID-19 updates and support. To read the letter in full, please click here.


COVID-19 Construction Industry Taskforce
An industry Task Force has been set up to work with BEIS and Government ‘to protect the current and future of the construction industry.’Any members or recipients with information, data and/or ideas that may be helpful to the work of this task force please contact the Chief Executive on gwatts@cic.org.uk .


BEIS's request for business intelligence

The Government is closely monitoring developments in relation to potential economic impacts on the UK economy and individual businesses and supply chain. We welcome information from businesses on:

  • The impacts across supply, demand and labour markets
  • Actions being taken by firms to address these impacts
  • Any gaps in the Government response from your perspective

Please send your intelligence to intel@beis.gov.uk.

We are aware that individual company information may be commercially sensitive, and it will be treated accordingly.  Please note that this inbox is only for receiving intelligence only and does not provide business advice.