Amid conflicting view points from those in power the construction industry is trying to figure out what it does next.
Mark Carr, director of MJD Homes Ltd, feels that the government haven’t issued good enough guidance. His tradesmen have gone to work today if they feel able to, but some are already self-isolating due to health conditions.
Robert Jenrick, who is the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, tweeted some clarification last night proclaiming that constructions sites could carry on working providing that they are following social distancing guidelines.
Advice for the housing, construction & building maintenance industries:
🔹If you can work from home, do so.
🔹If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing.
🔹Outside of work, remember to #StayHomeSaveLives
— Robert Jenrick (@RobertJenrick) March 23, 2020
However this morning there has been some debate over the decision, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan arguing that sites should be closed, as well as Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urging Scottish sites to close – so what do small construction companies that are successfully implementing social distancing guidelines do?
“The supply chain has broken down considerably today”
Mark Carr, Director MJD Homes Ltd
MJD Homes Ltd are down to half of their workforce and they are enforcing social distancing rules on their sites including having staggered lunch breaks to allow workers to remain two meters from each other throughout the day.
However, even though small sites are able to achieve the recommended social distancing measures they may not be able to continue working much longer as their supply chain has already collapsed, MJD Homes Ltd’s “supply chain has broken down considerably today”. They have enough materials to work until then end of this week but beyond that the future is uncertain.
Building material supplier Travis Perkins has published a statement on their website stating that they have temporarily closed their branches and have stopped taking online orders. They are looking to work with the government over the coming days to figure out how they can ‘fulfil essential services’.
The construction industry is just one of the areas of public life that is now facing questions and all those that are part of it can do is wait for more guidance from the government.