‘Essential’ construction work defined by Scottish Government

Ministers have revealed new guidelines for the construction industry during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Scottish Government has set out what it considers to be “essential” construction work which is allowed to continue during the coronavirus lockdown.

New guidance for the industry restates that work on sites should stop immediately with certain key exceptions.

Projects allowed to continue include those creating or repurposing facilities for the Covid-19 response, or accommodating key workers.

“Essential public services” and the maintenance of “critical infrastructure” is also allowed to continue.

However, workers on these sites must practice social distancing and adhere to other safety regulations, the Scottish Government said.

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “We recognise that this is an extremely difficult time for businesses of all kinds, but the Scottish Government’s priority is saving lives and fighting Covid-19.

“To this end, all construction sites should close unless they are essential to the health and welfare of the country during this crisis.

“I want to make clear our thanks to the construction workers who are continuing to work on these essential projects.

“This guidance offers clear and comprehensive advice on how the industry should respond in these unprecedented and difficult times.”

She said unions and industry bodies had contributed to the guidance.

Hyslop added: “In this public health emergency it is vital that all businesses act responsibly and align fully with the social distancing measures introduced to protect the nation’s heath, well-being and economic future.”

At the start of the lockdown, Nicola Sturgeon’s advice to the construction industry went further than that of the UK Government.

Sites south of the border were initially told work could continue as long as staff stayed two metres apart.

However, the First Minister said all non-essential construction work should be brought to a halt.

The construction industry has been badly hit by the response to Covid-19, with an industry purchasing managers’ index reporting its biggest drop in more than a decade.

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