This is why building sites are still open - and whether builders are allowed to work

The Government announced new measures to help keep people safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which came into place with immediate effect from Monday 23 March (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Government announced new measures to help keep people safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which came into place with immediate effect from Monday 23 March.

This included only leaving the house for one of four reasons:

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● Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible● One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household● Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person● Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

However, it was confirmed that construction sites will currently remain open.

Can builders still go to work?

Shortly after Boris Johnson made this latest announcement, Robert Jenrick, the communities and housing secretary, tweeted that the latest advice for the construction industry was, “If you are working on site, you can continue to do so.

“I think it’s important that, when we have construction work that is going in a way that can be done safely, in the open air and on new sites, that does continue.

”It’s important that we make sure that construction and manufacturing can continue and that seems to me to be the safest way of ensuring that we can maintain appropriate social distancing rules in a way which ensures that people who cannot work from home continue to do so.”

Senior minister, Michael Gove, explained, “It is the case, as Robert Jenrick pointed out, that construction on sites should continue. People should obviously exercise sensitivity and common sense and follow social distancing measures. But construction in the open air on those types of sites can continue.”

He added, “I think it’s important that, when we have construction work that is going in a way that can be done safely, in the open air and on new sites, that does continue.

”It’s important that we make sure that construction and manufacturing can continue and that seems to me to be the safest way of ensuring that we can maintain appropriate social distancing rules in a way which ensures that people who cannot work from home continue to do so.”

However, although it was confirmed that construction sites in the UK can currently remain open, the Scottish Government has advised that construction sites should instead close and is currently developing guidance for businesses on how to respond to this, and how they can confirm whether their activities are essential or non-essential.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This morning I was specifically asked on the radio about building sites and hair salons, and my advice would be to close.

“I want to reiterate that if you run a business, and if the nature of your business makes it difficult for you or your workers to work from home or to practice safe social distancing, then you should close for the period of the efforts to combat this virus.

“If you are an employee, and your workplace is not abiding by this, I would urge you to speak to your employer and ask that they take action.”

Can builders go into people’s homes?

However, in regards to entering people’s homes, Mr Gove told ITV’s Good Morning Britain, “If it is the case you are reconstructing or building a home in which there is no one present, that is appropriate and it can go on.

“But if we’re talking about the sort of construction work that involves a builder coming into home in order to deliver an extension or something like that, that would seem not appropriate and not in line with the clear guidance.”

When then questioned about home extensions, Mr Gove added, “The construction work of the kind you have mentioned, which involves intimate contact in someone’s home, that is inappropriate.”