Scottish Government issues new guidance on site closures


THE Scottish Government has released new guidance stating that all non-essential construction work must cease until further notice, amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement accompanying the new guidelines read, “Any project deemed essential can only continue operating if it can comply with guidance on social distancing, safety and welfare during the Covid-19 outbreak. Any site unable to meet these requirements should close.”

The guidance lists the following construction projects as non-essential:

  • Domestic housing
  • Schools, further and higher education institutions and early years provision
  • Office buildings and other commercial properties
  • Leisure
  • Retail
  • Warehousing
  • Garages and showrooms
  • Ecclesiastical
  • Community centres
  • Non-health related civic buildings
  • Public realm – hard and soft including (but not limited to) roads, which includes footpaths, footways, cycle lanes and verges; pavements; parks; and grassy areas
  • Justice and custodial

Projects viewed as being essential are:

  • Those which will be used directly in the fight against Covid-19.

These facilities include containment, testing, research, vaccine production, protective equipment manufacture, and other related activity.

  • Projects to create or repurpose facilities and infrastructure critical to the national response to Covid-19

This includes facilities for food production, distribution and digital communication.

  • Essential road and rail works 

Such as roads that are essential for the emergency services and for the transportation of food and medical supplies.

  •  The repair or maintenance or operation of critical infrastructure

This includes, energy generation, transmission and supply, water treatment and networks, and telecoms and broadband.

  • Projects to create or repurpose facilities which will be used to accommodate key workers
  • The essential maintenance and repair of of buildings (including private and commercial properties)
  • Projects which will provide wider resilience across the system

The document continues by listing work on Edinburgh Children’s Hospital and Glasgow Children’s Hospital as being essential, in a bid to help developers determine whether their own work should be deemed as essential.

The Scottish Government said on the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital work, “These are major developments which while not directly contributing to the Covid-19 situation at this point, could provide additional capacity if the situation changes.”

On the Glasgow Children’s Hospital, “Work is underway on essential water and drainage issues in the two paediatric cancer wards at the Royal Hospital for Children.  The nature of the patient cohort using these wards gives these works the designation of essential.”

Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop commented, “We recognise that this is an extremely difficult time for businesses of all kinds, but the Scottish Government’s priority is saving lives and fighting Covid-19.

“To this end, all construction sites should close unless they are essential to the health and welfare of the country during this crisis. I want to make clear our thanks to the construction workers who are continuing to work on these essential projects.

“This guidance offers clear and comprehensive advice on how the industry should respond in these unprecedented and difficult times. I am grateful to the STUC, Unite the Union and Construction Scotland for their input.

“In this public health emergency it is vital that all businesses act responsibly and align fully with the social distancing measures introduced to protect the nation’s heath, well-being and economic future.”