Fearful of sounding like a broken record, once again the Country has been told to stay at home, now until at least 15 February 2021, due to a new variant of coronavirus.
Current guidance (available in full here) stipulates that you must not be outside of your home without “reasonable excuse”. Fail to adhere and you might face the punishment of a fixed penalty fine: £200 for the first offence and doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
Yet, unlike Lockdowns 1.0 and 2.0, this time the UK Government has provided a clear message setting out how the construction industry will be impacted:
- Where is it unreasonable for you to do your job from home (e.g. construction or manufacturing) you can continue to go to work so long as you adhere to the Site Operating Procedures (SOP) currently version 6 published on 20 October 2020 (available here). Build UK has tweeted today that later this week the SOP will be updated to reflect the latest lockdown guidance, but as construction works can continue during lockdown, the changes are expected to be minor. Sites are urged to remind the workforce of the importance of social distancing to protect themselves and others.
- Tradespeople will be allowed to continue to work where necessary in other people’s homes (e.g. to carry out repairs).
- Building merchants and suppliers of building products are also permitted to continue trading.
As before, there will be contractual questions and challenges such as loss and expense and extension of time claims. While the answers will depend upon each contract’s terms, we enter Lockdown 3.0 with the benefit of industry guidance and practice from the past year. In particular, parties to contracts are by now well versed in Build UK’s, the Construction Leadership Council’s and Government’s guidance encouraging parties to share the impact of Covid-19 in order to support the industry as a whole.
Should you have any questions or concerns about your projects in light of the latest lockdown, please contact our Construction team who will be happy to discuss your specific circumstances with you.
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Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.
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