Unsafe cladding remediation remains a priority amid COVID-19

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Unsafe cladding, COVID-19,
© Andrew Hamilton

Making buildings safe, particularly the remediation of high-rise buildings with unsafe cladding, remains a priority for the government, as it provides an update for those within the construction industry

Making buildings safe and maintaining measures to ensure buildings are safe ahead of remediation, remains a priority for the government. The government’s view is that this work is critical to public safety.

The government has now put in place additional project management support with construction expertise to help oversee remediation. The additional support will identify blockers to progress and work directly with those responsible for remediation to support individual projects.

This new team will work with those responsible for remediation and the MHCLG department to understand the impact of COVID-19 on remediation projects and identify ways to reduce the impact on pace.

Construction workers

Construction sites have not been asked to close, so work can continue if it is done safely.

Employers should ensure their workers on-site are able to follow the public health guidance, and they should consider responsible arrangements for ensuring their workers can travel in line with this advice, such as through staggering site hours to reduce public transport use during peak periods.

The government has confirmed it is possible for construction work to continue in the current context. Those responsible for commissioning building safety work, such as the remediation of high-rise buildings with unsafe ACM cladding, and the construction companies undertaking the work, should consider how best to proceed and/or mitigate the risks arising from such work being paused.

To assist the industry the Construction Leadership Council have provided further guidance on-site operating procedures and how construction sites should operate safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

When considering their position employers may also refer to the latest Public Health England guidance to employers on reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Guidance on waking watches and COVID-19

The National Fire Chief’s Council (NFCC) has produced revised guidance on waking watches within the context of COVID-19. Building owners, managers, or responsible persons with any doubt about the suitability of a waking watch should please immediately contact the local Fire and Rescue Service (FRS).

The NFCC has also published revised protection arrangements to support Fire and Rescue Services.

Building safety and key workers

Employees undertaking waking watch or other critical fire safety roles are providing vital public safety functions to keep homes safe. They may, therefore, be classified as critical workers for the purposes of childcare provision.

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