Coronavirus: Industry chiefs warn of site closures

16 March 2020 | By Neil Gerrard

Image: Dreamstime/Dgmate

Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) have joined forces to set out a range of measures they plan to take over the next few days as they step up plans to prepare for the impact of coronavirus on construction.

In a joint statement, the two organisations warned that the situation had “accelerated” over the weekend and that construction faced being “dramatically and severely affected”.

They warned that sites may have to close if the UK government opts to put the country into ‘lockdown’ takes measures to restrict the movement of people. The impact on construction’s supply chain, consisting of multiple layers of businesses, many of them SMEs with a significant amount of self-employed workers will be “catastrophic and unavoidable” they said.

Over the next few days, Build UK and CECA plan to:

The organisations will ask government to:

They will ask their members to:


Build UK and CECA said measures the groups’ members have already taken are:

They added: “We know that this is much more difficult for on-site construction roles including manufacturing facilities which will be directly affected by any restriction on movements.

“Many individuals are also concerned about their financial situation, the future of their business, their employer and their job.

“Communication at this time is key. To reassure workers and the supply chain where possible but also to ensure prompt action can be taken to implement government policy, advice and guidance, which is changing rapidly.”

Build UK has published an article on managing risks to your staff and workplace, while it has advised employers and businesses to continue to follow the most up-to-date government guidance, as well as referring to its advice sheet on home isolation.


I'm a self employed builder and I work in London, I've seen over the past 3 weeks people coming to work with flu like symptoms and not going home so everybody on site is at risk , it's a big problem because when I said to them the should be at home, the responded I will lose my job,or I can't afford to take time off. This is happening on every building site a.t.m.but nothing is been done to stop this.

Peter Kelly, 16 March 2020

The question is if a worker has been sent home due to flu like symptoms is there any specific cleaning measures that should take place. Should all the workers that had direct contact with the person also go home all this is an unknown and the full CI face a hard time ahead the same as every other industry. Now is the time for all CIOB members to show the true values of the institution and give leadership rather than elevate panic.
We had major £ investment in the budget and projects will all resume, it’s just how we remember to look out for all fellow workers during what will be hard times for a while. Let’s remember that mental health is a major subject at present and this issue will be elevated due to pressures of isolation..

Mark, 17 March 2020

This is a problem that's going to escalate with the self employed/low paid workers.
We simply cannot afford to miss a day's work. The government needs some strict guidelines on this.
I also work on a construction site and it's only a matter of time till it shuts because of the outbreak... Mine and the others by that matter. What then ? How am I going to keep up with payments ?

Mario Nunes, 17 March 2020

I'm a self employed carpenter in the midlands who has had to self isolate today because of sickness in the family. My wife is on maternity and I am struggling to figure out how my family of 5 will survive

edward wheeldon, 17 March 2020

Where there are complete site lock downs resulting into severe contractual penalties (such as extension of time delays, client loss of business profits and/or mortgage payments due to completion delays) will the Government pick up the tabs?

Sorie Sesay, 22 March 2020

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