It's important for Scotland's construction industry to know where it stands, so here's a rundown of the guidance and legislation that has applied to date – and the state of play now.


Scotland's route map

The Scottish Government's highly anticipated route map out of the COVID-19 crisis, published Thursday 21 May, outlines what looks like a slow return to normality for the construction industry. It refers to, and is to be read in conjunction with, the as-yet unpublished Construction Leadership Forum's re-start plan.

Assuming that control of the virus' transmission can be maintained at current levels, on 28 May 2020 there will be a move into Phase 1 of the route map, which will allow Phases 0-2 of the Construction Leadership Forum'sre-start plan to be implemented.

What this means for non-essential projects is that the industry can complete their "working with COVID-19" planning and facilitate the distancing and hygiene measures necessary to operate sites.This will be followed by a phased return of a proportion of the workforce, but only after "consultation" with the Scottish Government.

It is clear that only when Phase 2 of the route map is implemented, will there be any significant progress made on Scotland's non-essential construction sites (and it is yet unclear exactly when this will be).


Timeline so far:

21 May 2020: Scottish Government publishes its route map; a phased plan to take the country through and out of the COVID-19 crisis, Plans include what looks like a gradual return to normality for construction.

1 May 2020: Scottish Government guidance is updated and reissued to provide further guidance on what constitutes 'essential' work and reiterated that "no non-essential work should continue at this time".

21 April 2020: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2020 comes into force. Now all businesses must take all reasonable measures to comply with social distancing requirements. This includes construction sites.

6 April 2020: The Scottish Government issues strongly worded guidance, advising that all construction work should stop immediately unless it is part of an essential project.Those include projects to create facilities to handle coronavirus, such as the Louisa Jordan temporary hospital; projects that are considered essential public services; and the repair and maintenance of critical infrastructure.

26 March 2020: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 comes into force. Construction sites are not included in the list of premises that are required to close, nor in the list of premises to which social distancing restrictions applies.

Contributors

Juliet Haldane

Legal Director