Full reopening construction sites will require government decision to move to “next phase”

A four-phase reopening plan published by Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday has revealed that construction sites can begin to reopen from 28 May.

In her plan, Sturgeon (pictured) said construction could begin to restart operations as part of the first phase of coming out of lockdown.

Nicola Sturgeon

The plan said: “We are planning for the construction sector to implement the first two phases in its restart plan with a decision to move to ‘phase 2’ of the construction sector’s plan only after consulting with government to ensure it is safe to do so in line with public health advice.”

She also confirmed the country was looking to restart the housing market.

Restrictions on construction sites in Scotland have been tougher than in the rest of the UK since the coronavirus lockdown began. Non-essential construction work is still currently banned in Scotland, while prime minister Boris Johnson has told construction firms to restart work.

Sturgeon has said that this advice did not apply in Scotland.

The last month has seen the majority of English and Welsh housebuilders begin to restart construction works, with construction data firm Barbour ABI last week saying nearly 1,000 sites had reopened, the vast majority of them residential construction.

The industry plan for returning to work includes six steps, the first three of which - phases 0, 1 and 2 - are allowed as part of the government’s first stage of exiting lockdown

Phase 0 allows for planning, phase 1 allows for covid-19 pre-start site preparation and phase 2 permits a ’soft start’ to site works where physical distancing can be maintained.

Phases 3 and 4, which would be allowed in the next easing of restrictions, allow for steady state operation where physical distancing can be maintained and where physical distancing can be maintained or PPE can be used respectively.

The final phase, which would also be allowed in stage two of the Scottish government’s roadmap, would allow for increasing density and productivity on site with experience.

There are not yet any indications of when the government will move from stage one, which starts on Monday, to stage two.

Scottish Covid Routemap