Latest government advice and industry updates – Issue 15

CIC Coronavirus Digest 04/05/20 – Issue 15
The latest government advice on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and updates from the construction industry. Please share with your own contacts. If you would like to subscribe, please contact


Finding accommodation for workers away from home

To help contractors working away from home find local accommodation, Build UK has temporarily repurposed its Open Doors website. We have teamed up with trade body UK Hospitality, which has confirmed that during the lockdown its members are able to provide accommodation for workers unable to return home.

Anyone looking for a bed for the night can now use the Open Doors website to find accommodation providers who have space for construction workers. The website is live but still a work in progress and accommodation will continue to be added. If your site requires accommodation and none is shown locally, please send Build UK the site postcode or location as we can add providers where there is demand.


Federation of Master Builders’ new guidance on restarting building work

This guidance sets out advice to members and their clients about what steps they may want to think about when starting or restarting a building project during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The guidance is based on three principles:

  1. Protecting health and safety – members of the FMB are committed to protecting the health and safety of their workers, workers’ families, clients, their supply chains, and the public.
  2. Supporting the building industry – members of the FMB must be supported in a way that recognises their important contribution to the UK economy. Coming out of the coronavirus crisis we will need a robust construction sector that can deliver on the Government’s objectives to build more homes, improve the quality and energy efficiency of our building stock, and provide the infrastructure to enable the UK to compete.
  3. Promoting best practice – members of the FMB and their clients need to be adhering to best practice to ensure all building work is done to the highest standards and within a safe environment.

As always, all activity should be underpinned by open communication and collaboration.

This guidance is aimed at members working in the domestic sector where most building work stopped during the early stage of the coronavirus crisis, following UK Government advice that only ‘essential’ work should be carried out in peoples’ homes.

To read the guidance note in full, please click here.


Engineering services bodies issue coronavirus site safety guides

Leading engineering services sector bodies ECA and BESA have jointly developed two new guides to help contractors to manage coronavirus-related issues on site.

The new guides will be freely available to the wider industry during the current emergency. They provide sector-relevant guidance for engineering and building services contractors working across construction and FM in two specific areas:

The new guides:

– align with the hierarchy of preventative measures shown in the Construction Leadership Council Site Operating Procedures, based on guidance from Public Health England;

– do not recommend the deployment of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) for general site activities, most notably where social distancing is possible; and

– recommend that any decision to deploy RPE in site-specific situations should be based on risk assessment.

Find out more about the guides here.


Coronavirus testing

The Government has extended the criteria under which people in England can receive testing for Coronavirus to include those who cannot work from home but are showing symptoms. This widening will now mean that construction workers that show symptoms would be able to get tested. Details of how to apply for testing can be found here.


Top-up to local business grant funds scheme

discretionary fund has been set up to accommodate certain small businesses in England previously outside the scope of the business grant funds scheme. This additional fund is aimed at small businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs. Local authorities are being asked to prioritise businesses in shared spaces, regular market traders, small charity properties that would meet the criteria for Small Business Rates Relief, and bed and breakfasts that pay council tax rather than business rates.

Businesses must be small, under 50 employees, and they must also be able to demonstrate that they have seen a significant drop of income due to Coronavirus restriction measures. Local authorities may choose to make payments to other businesses based on local economic need.

The maximum grant will be £25,000. There will also be grants of £10,000. Local authorities will have discretion to make payments of any amount under £10,000. It will be for councils to adapt this approach to local circumstances.


Apply for a coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

The new Bounce Back Loans scheme is now open for applications. The scheme allows small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.

The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there won’t be any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. Loan terms will be up to 6 years. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months. The government has also agreed with lenders that an affordable flat rate of 2.5% interest will be charged on these loans. Businesses can apply online through a short and simple form. You can find further information about the scheme, including eligibility, here.

The scheme will be delivered through a network of accredited lenders and will run alongside the existing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS).


Webinars: How to support your business

Government departments are hosting a series of free webinars this week to help businesses understand the support available including:

Keep up to date with all the latest available webinars here.


Second series of ACE coronavirus webinars

Improving cashflow through tax credits (Wednesday 6 May, 12.00pm)
Mark Smith, Innovation Incentives Partner of ACE affiliate Ayming joins us to discuss how R&D tax credits can release the hidden cash trapped in your working capital, helping your business through the weeks and months ahead.

What does recovery look like? (Tuesday 12 May, 12.00pm)
Andy Mitchell, chief executive of Tideway and chair of the Construction Leadership Council and Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of CECA join Hannah Vickers to discuss what a future recovery looks like for our industry, Government and society.


Covid-19 case studies

The Construction Industry Coronavirus Task Force has published a new website to showcase industry’s response to Covid-19. Case studies are in four categories – building NHS capacity; donating PPE; safeguarding workers; and helping communities. If you would like to add a case study to the site, please e-mail


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