Scottish Government reveals plans for phased return of construction


The Scottish Government has announced tentative steps to get the construction sector in Scotland back to work from 28 May

Yesterday (21 May), first minister Nicola Sturgeon, published a route map to take Scotland through and out of the Covid crisis.

Sturgeon revealed a cautious return for construction workers.

Construction Scotland has been working with the Scottish Government to provide a cautious approach to resuming site working with a clear set of review points.

Sturgeon outlined six phases for returning to construction work, these include:

  • Phase 1 – planning
  • Phase 2 – Covid-19 pre-start site prep
  • Phase 3 – ‘soft start’ to site works (where physical distancing can be maintained)
  • Phase 4 – steady-state operation (where physical distancing can be maintained)
  • Phase 5 – steady-state operation (where physical distancing can be maintained and/or with PPE use)
  • Phase 6 – increasing density/productivity with experience.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon, said: “The construction industry will be able to carefully implement steps 1 and 2 of its 6 step restart plan which it has developed with us.

“However, let me be clear that there must be genuine partnership with trade unions – this can only be done if it is done safely.”

Industry reaction

Vaughan Hart, managing director of forum member the Scottish Building Federation, commented: “The shutdown in Scotland has been one of the biggest challenges the sector has ever faced and, while we wholeheartedly welcome the return to work, it must be carried out in the proper manner.

“This means that the health and safety of operatives is paramount, and the correct guidance and procedures must be adhered to at every phase of the proposed route map. The Forum has been at the forefront of helping the industry by clarifying advice and this effort will now come into its own.”

The Forum says it now plans to release more guidance to help business owners, contractors and apprentices through each stage of the phased return, including advice for construction sites, domestic work and colleges.

Alan Wilson, chair of the CICV Forum and managing director of SELECT, said: “This is the news we have been waiting for and it has not come a moment too soon.

“We all understand the reasons why Scotland has been in virtual shutdown since March, and we all need to work together to assist the sector as it faces an uphill struggle to recover.”

Hew Edgar, head of UK Government relations and city strategy, added: “One of the most important lessons to come out of the crisis is the value of working together for mutual benefit.

“The Forum, was only created eight weeks ago, and is the perfect example of this principle, having brought together a huge range of organisations and individuals in a concerted effort to protect the industry.

“As we restart the sector, collaboration between everyone involved – clients, architects, surveyors, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers – will be of the utmost importance since many of the issues which beset the industry pre-Covid, such as late payments and retentions, will still need to be addressed.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here