According to data provider Glenigan, 3,636 construction projects were closed in the period between the announcement of lockdown on 23 March and 12 May, the day after Boris Johnson "actively encouraged" the construction industry to return to work.
However, restrictions are gradually easing as the Government moves onto step two of its COVID-19 recovery plan and we are now seeking more sites reopen. Road haulage and freight workers are expected to be exempted from introduction of new border measures, which should limit the impact on the supply of goods and materials.
The Construction Leadership Council is due to publish a Roadmap to Recovery next week, setting out its plan to 'restart, rest and reinvent' the construction sector. In the meantime, changes in the Site Operating Procedures version 4 include removal of the requirement for face to face contact to be kept to 15 minutes or less. Further guidance is provided by the Government's Working safely during COVID-19 in construction and other outdoor work' publication.
The Government has also made it clear that "local planning authorities should take a swift and positive approach to requests from developers and site operators for greater flexibility around construction site working hours".
It is hoped that such measures will help kick-start construction projects which may have stalled, while minimising the risk of a second wave of infections.
Some 43 per cent of sites stopped work during the first six weeks of the coronavirus crisis, new figures have revealed.