As the UK looks to move into the next phase of re-opening the economy after lockdown, we want to take a look at how the changes over the last month, as well as the one’s which are coming next month, have affected the construction industry. Construction workers in England were allowed to start returning to work at the start of May, however since then there have been numerous changes across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland which either directly or indirectly impact the industry.
In June retailers in England were told they could begin to re-open – with furniture, homewares and garden centres already allowed to open in May. From the 1st June outdoor non-food markets and car showrooms were allowed to re-open followed by all remaining non-essential retail shops on the 15th. Whilst some still continue to begin re-opening many are already open. Whilst this is not directly related to the construction industry, it will have had an impact on many tradesmen and companies who have assisted retailers and retail locations upon their re-opening – for example plumbers being employed to ensure systems are ready for re-opening.
Construction Work Resumed Across all Four Nations
When the UK government first encouraged construction workers to return to work, not all of the nations followed in that decision. However, now we are in a position where across the UK all nations have resumed construction work in all sectors. Many housing developments have restarted work and sites are continuing to re-open given they can adhere to the ‘Covid-19 secure’ guidance.
Due to the pause on housing sites continuing work throughout lockdown the housing secretary has announced that sites in England whose planning permission would have expired since the lockdown and the end of 2020 will have their planning permission extended until April 2021. New legislation has also been announced which will allow planning permission talks to be sped up.
Looking to July
Re-Opening of Hospitality Sector
The next phase of easing the UK lockdown will be to re-open various elements of the hospitality sector including hairdressers, pubs, restaurants and cinemas. As with other lockdown changes, this applies solely to England and the other nations will make their own decisions regarding re-opening. As with the opening of retail locations, the re-opening of the hospitality sector will no doubt mean increased work for tradespeople to ensure these facilities are ready to re-open.
As economy continues to re-open, those working in the construction industry will likely feel an increase in work also as the country gradually leaves lockdown.