Construction Firms Split As Shutdown Calls Grow

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Construction Firms Split As Shutdown Calls Grow

An increasing number of construction companies have announced they will halt all non-essential work in the fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus, reports the BBC. However many other companies continue to operate without any further clarity in the advice from the government.

Housebuilder Persimmon has joined others in pledging to down tools, such as Barratt, and  Taylor Wimpey, which builds over 10,000 homes a year, but Redrow is among those keeping sites open.  Cairn Construction, which built 2,200 homes last year, also say it would keep working.

“Aligned to government guidelines, construction activity continues across each of our active sites under extensive health and safety protocols,” a spokesperson for Cairn said.

There is a lot of concern over the speed of the virus on busy construction sites. The government has advised that work can continue as long as people maintain a 2-metre separation, but critics are saying that this is impossible to properly enforce, and public health should come first.

On Tuesday 24 March Health Secretary Matt Hancock said any worker who could not do their job from home should go to work to “keep the country running”, but Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, said only construction workers doing jobs “critical to the economy” should go in.

Many construction workers are self-employed, fearing a loss of income if sites are closed down, but some also told the BBC they are “angry and unprotected”, and under pressure from employers to go into work.

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