Construction Sector – Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice


“The Construction Leadership Council has advised UK government that the construction industry will come to work today, to prepare to shut down works safely, whilst awaiting further information and clarity.

CIOB statement


(image: NHS)


Boris Johnson, last night, announced new UK lockdown measures in the fight against the Coronavirus.

The COVID-19 emergency continues to unfold, and drastic new national measures have come into force. An Italian-style lockdown has been introduced in order to protect the NHS and save lives, but what about the construction industry? Parts of the construction sector are likely to be classified as non-essential and sites will close. Not all sites will close. Those working in the health services, the utilities operations and maintenance operations will continue to function and the situation reviewed.

Since the 23rd March announcement, industry leaders have been in conversation with the Cabinet Office to clarify the situation for construction operations.

In the meantime, the construction sector must consider contingencies for stopping work and making construction sites safe and secure, whilst awaiting further information. Plan as if you are preparing for the Christmas Break and organise for an orderly shutdown. Plan for worst case scenario and consider the following:

      • Control of site access;
      • Rescheduling or cancelling deliveries to site;
      • Checking the condition of perimeter fencing and hoarding, and identifying where fencing must be made good, before vacating the site;
      • Ensuring materials are stored safely. Do any items need to be sheeted or lashed down, to ensure they are secure?
      • Checking that structures and temporary works are left in a safe condition. What can be done to ensure they adequately withstand adverse wind loading and other extreme weather effects;
      • What arrangements have you made to drain excavation works. Do they need to continue, or can they be allowed to flood?  If pumping is necessary to maintaining safe conditions, then consider designating the task as essential work;
      • Planning essential maintenance work eg. refuelling portable generators, pumps, etc;
      • Moving mobile and portable plant to a secure location and storing it safely;
      • Checking that the construction site buildings’ windows, skylights and doors are secure etc.;
      • Checking manned security and CCTV security coverage. Will your 24-hour service remain operational?
      • Making an up-to-date list of contacts, their phone numbers and email addresses.


We are in exceptional circumstances, however the employer’s responsibility to assess and manage risk to their employees, and others arising from work activities, must not be neglected. If construction activities cannot be undertaken safely, they should not take place at all.



      • Social distancing procedures;
      • Lone working;
      • Training and issuing of Personal Protective Equipment;
      • Raising awareness – reinductions, toolbox talks etc;
      • Availability of suitable qualified persons;
      • Emergency procedures.
      • Self testing i.e. taking your temperature.


We have used Safety for Design for all our site audits over the past 5 years and they have also carried out the Principal Designer role on numerous projects for us, as well as providing advice and support to ensure we are fully complying with the CDM Regulations 2015 on all our sites throughout the UK they also provide us with assistance to ensure all our documentation complies with current legislation and general advice to assist us in adequately managing the risks within our business

Scott Wilson - Director, IBO Construction

North Staffs Pipe have been pleased to be associated with Safety For Design for many years. Their support and professional guidance has been invaluable to the business. We would recommend to any company looking for support to get them on board. We look forward to continued association in the future.

Katie Parrish - Director, North Staffs Pipe Services Limited

Safety for Design have provided clear and pragmatic guidance to our client, design team and contractors. They have guided us through the CDM 2015 Regulations to ensure our projects achieve the best possible practice compliance.

Ryan Riches - Director, Artal

Over the past 4 and a half years, SFD have provided myself and my colleagues with an invaluable source of health and safety expertise and guidance. They have provided both the function of CDM consultants and principle designer, ensuring our team upholds the same level of safety conscientiousness, as within their own team. They are refreshing to work with, providing on tap support.

Webber Forbes - Site Transition Project Manager, Thales Group

Safety for Design have been worked closely with St Modwen for the past 10 years and have been instrumental in helping bring health & safety matters to the forefront of our agenda. Their competence, dedication, input and guidance has helped forge new initiatives and systems that ensure all Duty Holder obligations under the CDM 2015 Regulations are met

Richard Carter - Senior Director Construction, St Modwen Industrial & Logistics

“The Inglis Consortium LLP have worked with SFD from 2014 and they have become an integral part of the team delivering the infrastructure for 2240 residential units at Millbrook Park, Mill Hill. Their knowledge, commitment and pragmatism have led to a very safe multi developer site.”

Keith Hurford - Director, Millbrook Park

Safety for Design is part of the "Safety For" group.