More flexibility for construction

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that more flexible working times will be implemented for construction workers in a bid to get the industry ‘up and running’ again.

Mr Jenrick said that where it is appropriate and with local consent, building sites will be able to be open until 9 pm Monday to Saturday in residential areas and even beyond that in other locations.

According to the Housing Secretary, local councils will be advised that site managers applying for extended hours should be approved “unless there are very compelling reasons not to do so”. Other support for the industry includes plans to support smaller developers by allowing them to defer payments to local councils.

The extended hours for building work should make social distancing easier for construction workers and will also take the pressure off public transport when they are travelling to and from work.

Mr Jenrick went on to praise building firms that have signed up to the charter for safe working practice, which pledges that they will share the responsibility to ensure that their sites operate safely and in accordance with government advice.

He also urged others involved in the industry to take advantage of digital technology where it can be used in the building process, such as in planning and welcomed the fact that the Planning Inspectorate has started to undertake its first virtual hearings.

Speaking at a Downing Street briefing, Mr Jenrick said it was essential to open up parts of the economy, where it is safe to do so and reiterated his earlier announcement that people in England are now allowed move house, as long as they follow government guidance and adhere to social distancing rules.

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