NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 01.12.20
1. Movement of People – Deadline Approaching
The Construction Leadership Council has published guidance on the movement of people and workers into the UK. The guidance has been published ahead of the expiration of the transition period with the European Union (EU) at the end of the year.
Members wanting to employ or recruit EU citizens after December 31 2020 are encouraged to read this document and take action.
The guidance offers an overview of the new points-based immigration system, the Common Travel Area (CTA), the skilled worker route, the shortage occupation list, how to become a licensed sponsor, the rights of EU, EEA and Swiss migrants, the mutual recognition of professional qualifications and the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) as well as useful links and resources. It can be downloaded here.
2. Face Coverings – Guidance
With more and more emphasis on the wearing of face coverings, the NASC has published guidance to assist employers with regard to their use and limitations. We think this might come in particularly handy given that packages with 50+ NASC-branded snoods inside should be arriving at your offices very shortly.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 11.11.20
1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extension Now Open
You are now able to submit new Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme applications. For more on eligibility, what documents / information you’ll need and how to apply click here.
2. Countdown to Brexit
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 05.11.20
1. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extended
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of March 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.
He said that the Government intends to keep the national lockdown restrictions in England until 2 December, but stated that the economic impact of these measures lasts longer than the duration of any restrictions imposed. He said that given the significant uncertainty and the need to give businesses and employees security, it was right for the Government to go further in providing economic support.
For more click here.
2. CIJC 2020/21 Pay Position
Earlier this year employers representatives on the Construction Industry Joint Council (CIJC) agreed not to engage in pay negotiations for 2020/21 due to the commercial impact of COVID-19 on the sector, and the economic uncertainty that this has created for employers. As a result of this decision the 2019/20 rates remain current as previously advised.
Employers representatives have now completed their discussions with the trade unions and the union’s view on the position was noted. Further updates will be provided where necessary.
3. Working From Home
Many employees are working from home as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. What for many may have started as a short-term fix is now increasingly becoming a more long-term, permanent way of working. As such, employers may wish to share these resources with their staff:
ACAS – working from home
CIPD – Getting the most from remote working
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 02.11.20
1. New lockdown in England announced
See here for the Prime Minister’s statement and here for further details. There is also information relating to details for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
2. Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extended
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended for a month with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked and further economic support announced. Key points:
For more information click here.
3. Authorisation Letter Template
Build UK has produced an authorisation letter template for employers in the event of workers being stopped on journeys to and from sites anywhere in the UK. It can be downloaded here.
4. CLC – A Message to the Construction Industry
Andy Mitchell, CLC Chair, has written an open letter to the construction industry following the PM’s announcement at the weekend. It can be read here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 30.10.20
1. Job Support Scheme (JSS) Update
To support individuals and businesses to deal with the challenges created by coronavirus (COVID-19) during this winter (2020 to 2021), the government is providing additional support to help employers retain their employees through the JSS.
Full details here. Key points to be aware of:
2. Covid-19 Q&A Sheet
Click here to download a Coronavirus common Q&A document. Members may find it helpful to share this information with their staff and operatives.
3. CLC Product Availability Group
The NASC was represented at the CLC’s Product Availability Group meeting earlier this month. Key points to be aware of:
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 22.10.20
1. Plan for Jobs: Chancellor increases financial support for businesses and workers
The government today announced it will increase its winter support schemes. Details are laid out in full here. However, the key takeaways are:
When originally announced, the JSS – which will come into effect on 1 November – saw employers paying a third of their employees’ wages for hours not worked, and required employers to be working 33% of their normal hours.
Today’s announcement reduces the employer contribution to those unworked hours to just 5%, and reduces the minimum hours requirements to 20%, so those working just one day a week will be eligible. That means that if someone was being paid £587 for their unworked hours, the government would be contributing £543 and their employer only £44.
Employers will continue to receive the £1,000 Job Retention Bonus. The Job Support Scheme Closed for businesses legally required to close remains unchanged.
Additional funding is being provided to allow Local Authorities (LAs) to support businesses in high-alert level areas which are not legally closed, but which are severely impacted by the restrictions on socialising.
The funding LAs will receive will be based on the number of hospitality, hotel, B&B, and leisure businesses in their area. LAs will also receive a 5% top up amount to these implied grant amounts to cover other businesses that might be affected by the local restrictions, but which do not neatly fit into these categories.
It will be up to Local Authorities to determine which businesses are eligible for grant funding in their local areas, and what precise funding to allocate to each business.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 20.10.20
1. Updated Site Operating Procedures guidance
The Site Operating Procedures (SOP) guidance has been updated by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and can be downloaded here. The NASC will review its own Guidance for Scaffolding Operations During the Coronavirus Pandemic to ensure it remains in line with the SOP.
2. IR35 Changes due in April
HMRC has confirmed that changes to IR35 legislation will be introduced as planned from 6 April 2021, and it is running a series of webinars for employers. Under the new rules, medium and large organisations employing workers through an intermediary will have responsibility for determining a worker’s employment status.
This is a fundamental change to the current system, and Build UK has published a practical guide to help businesses prepare for the new requirements.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 02.10.20
1. HSE Inspections
The HSE will be carrying out its latest construction health inspection initiative from next Monday 5 ‐ Friday 30 October. Health and safety inspectors will be targeting construction sites across Great Britain, with the focus on respiratory risks, as well as Covid-19‐security.
2. Face Coverings – NASC Advice
Face coverings are now required to be worn in indoor premises providing hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat and drink. With more and more emphasis on the wearing of face coverings, this NASC guidance is provided to assist employers with regard to their use and limitations.
3. Corporate Governance and Insolvency Bill Update
Back in May we let you know that the threat of personal liability for wrongful trading was being temporarily removed from directors who try to keep their companies afloat through the emergency. This temporary arrangement expired on the 30th September and has not been extended.
4. Judgment on FCA business interruption litigation
A keenly awaited Judgment in the FCA Test Case litigation concerning COVID-19 Business Interruption claims has been delivered. The Judgment provides guidance on disease clauses, hybrid clauses, prevention of access clauses and trends clauses. For more click here.
5. Talent Retention Scheme
The Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme is now live. This scheme is intended to help keep as many construction employees that may lose their current jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the industry. Employers are encouraged to sign up to the scheme here.
On the subject of jobs, NASC members are invited to post any vacancies they may have on the new NASC Careers website. To add a position go the Members’ Area on the main NASC website, click Info & Resources on the right-hand menu and then Post a Job Vacancy.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 23.09.20
The Prime Minister said, in his statement to the House of Commons yesterday, that “In key public services – and in all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces.” and specifically that “construction workers can go to building sites”.
So for NASC members there is no change, you can continue to operate under the NASC Guidance for Scaffolding Operations During the Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic and the Site Operating Procedures.
Changes announced yesterday can be found here:
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 15.09.20
1: Build UK guidance relating to contract terms
A New Normal in Contractual Practice can be found here and here. Building on this document, Managing Covid-19 within Contracts can be found here and looks specifically at dealing with the effects of Coronavirus within existing and future contracts.
2: Reporting an Outbreak of Covid-19 in England
Public Health England has issued guidance to support businesses in dealing with instances of COVID-19 infection. This includes action cards specific to Construction and other Outdoor Work and to Offices and Operations Rooms (documents attached).
Where businesses become aware of more than one confirmed case with symptoms dating within 14 days of each other then they must contact their local Public Health England Health Protection Team who will advise what actions to take. See here for contact details.
3: Process for employers in Scotland following an outbreak of Covid-19
Advice for workplaces in Scotland following contact with a case of Covid-19 can be found here.
4: Guidance for employers in Wales following an outbreak of Covid-19 Information for employers in Wales following contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 can be found here. An employee showing at least one symptom of COVID-19 must take a test and follow the self-isolation guidance.
If the test is positive the employee must inform the employer. If multiple cases of Coronavirus appear in a workplace, an outbreak control team from either the local authority or Public Health Wales will, if necessary, be assigned to help the employer to manage the outbreak.
Employers should seek advice from their local authority in the first instance. Only those who have had close recent contact with someone who then tests positive for Covid-19 will be asked to self-isolate.
5: Small Business Leadership Programme
Leadership programmes supported by Government funding are available to help leaders of SMEs employing between 5 and 249 people to grow their companies in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. For further details see here.
6: Companies House resuming the compulsory strike off process from October 10
Temporary measures introduced in April 2020 are ending. For further details see here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 14.08.20
1: Use of Face Coverings in Construction
The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has today issued guidance on The Use of Face Coverings in Construction during Coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance can be found here.
2: Incentive Payments for Hiring a New Apprentice
Guidance can be found here on payments available to employers who hire a new apprentice before the 31st January 2021.
3: CITB Levy
CITB is introducing delayed levy payments and proposing a reduction of 50% for next year. Further information can be found here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 03.08.20
1: Modification of Planning Conditions Relating to Construction Working Hours
The aim of the new temporary fast track deemed consent route under section 74B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 is to enable urgent changes to construction working hours to support safe construction working in line with the government’s latest social distancing guidance on construction and other outdoor work.
For many construction sites, implementation of this guidance will require changes to working practices, including staggered starts and finishes, requiring different hours of operation to those which are currently permitted for the site through planning conditions. For more click here.
2: New Law to Ensure Furloughed Employees Receive Full Redundancy Payments
The Government has introduced legislation to protect workers and ensure all furloughed employees who are being made redundant receive their full entitlement. Employees with more than 2 years’ continuous service who are made redundant are usually entitled to a statutory redundancy payment that is based on length of service, age and pay, up to a statutory maximum. For more click here.
3: Reporting Outbreaks of Coronavirus
New guidance for businesses on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of Coronavirus has been published. Covid-19 early outbreak management information has been created to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:
For more click here. Various ‘Action cards’ have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased somewhat.
The cards are designed to be printed or downloaded to keep on hand. The A4 Action Card for Construction and other outside work can be downloaded here.
4: Talent Retention Scheme Now Live
The Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme is now live. The scheme helps talented individuals showcase their experience and expertise while helping businesses find the skills they need. For more click here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 28.07.20
1: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Claims Deadline
Friday 31 July is the last day that you can submit Job Retention Scheme claims for periods ending on or before 30 June. For more click here. The Job Retention Bonus was announced on 8 July. More information can be found in the government’s Plan for Jobs.
2: Cyber Security Warning
An increase in cyber fraud in being reported across the country and we have received details of hacking affecting NASC members. Members should be careful to make sure that their staff do not follow links or open attachments on any emails where there are not completely sure of the origin.
Even where you think you recognise the name or address of the sender it is best to click on the name display on the email (to make sure that the true email address is the one shown) and also phone or email the apparent sender using contact details from another source not those shown on the email.
3: Digital Tools Survey
Members are invited to complete a London School of Economics survey on the adoption of digital tools in construction. LSE is interested in observing the impact of digital collaboration tools such as BIM and its effect on innovation, information sharing and decision-making.
If you agree to take part, you will be asked to complete a short 10 minute survey. Your participation is voluntary. You may stop taking part in the study at any time. The survey can be found here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 22.07.20
1: Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic Toolbox Talk
The NASC has updated its Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic Toolbox Talk. Version 3 can be downloaded here.
The updated toolbox talk mirrors revisions made to the Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic guidance. These concern mainly the ‘relaxed’ social distancing rules which now allows 2m or 1m with risk mitigation measures where 2m is not viable and a few other (relatively minor) additional requirements contained within the CLC document ‘Site Operating Procedures – Protecting Your Workforce During Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Version 5’ and the latest Government guidance ‘Working safely during COVID-19 in construction and other outdoor work – Version 4’.
2: Phase 4 for Scotland
Construction sites in Scotland have been given the go ahead to progress to Phase 4 of the Construction Restart Plan, which is steady state operation (with physical distancing being maintained or controlled close working with PPE). Following confirmation that the supply of medical‐style PPE to the NHS and social care is assured, the guidance from Construction Scotland is that the wearing of medical‐style PPE can be added to the range of control measures available.
3: Talent Retention Scheme
The Construction Leadership Council’s Talent Retention Scheme is set to launch tomorrow. For more information and to register your interest click here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 10.07.20
1: CISRS Accredited Training Centres Reopen
Since June CISRS approved providers across the country have begun to recommence training at their centres. There are currently courses being delivered in 18 locations in the UK, with many more set to follow suit in the coming weeks. For more click here.
2: Coronavirus Job Retention Bonus
The Chancellor has announced the introduction of a Job Retention Bonus. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers that have used the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021. For more information click here.
3: Joint Taxation Committee (JTC) bulletin
Click here to download the July edition of the JTC Newsline.
4: Scaffolding Video for Demolition Contractors
The National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) has produced a scaffolding safety guidance video for demolition contractors. For more on the video, produced with support and input from the NASC, click here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 01.06.2020
1: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – Update
On Friday evening Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak outlined plans to change the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, also known as the Furlough Scheme. The key points were that:
To read the Chancellor’s statement in full please click here. For more on the Job Retention Scheme and to submit a claim click here.
2: Postponement of the Reverse Charge VAT Scheme
The Federation of Master Builders has written a joint letter on behalf of the construction industry to ask the Government to postpone the introduction of the Reverse Charge VAT Scheme, due to come into force on October 1 2020. To read the letter please click here.
The NASC supports this request and has been championing for this course of action since the Covid-19 pandemic began. We will keep you informed with progress on this issue.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 29.05.20
1: Construction Scotland Guidance
Construction Scotland has published two documents to assist businesses in the preparation for reopening of all sites. These documents are the Construction Re-Start Plan and latest Working on site during the COVID-19 pandemic: Construction Guidance.
2: Construction Leadership Council People Survey
To help understand the implications of a reduced workload on the construction workforce, including apprentices and graduates, the CLC is asking all employers to complete this short People Survey. It should take no longer than 10 minutes and the information provided will be confidential with no company details required. The deadline is Friday 5 June.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 28.05.20
1: NASC Publishes Site Audit Procedures (SAP)
The NASC has produced a document to assist its current and prospective members when receiving an NASC audit. The document, titled Site Audit Procedures (SAP), was created by the NASC Audit committee, with input provided by NASC auditors and full contracting members.
For more information and to download the SAP document, click here.
NASC Coronavirus Bulletin – 22.05.20
1: Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis
The Scottish Government has published Coronavirus (COVID-19): framework for
decision making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis, which can be found here
The statement announced that from the 28th May the construction sector will be able to start to implement the first two phases in its restart plan.
The construction sector restart plan is described in a letter from the Scottish Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning here.
2: NASC ring round and survey
NASC staff have enjoyed making contact with many of you this week, if we haven’t managed to contact you and you would like to speak to us then please do get in touch.
Many thanks to all of you who have completed the survey, it will provide very helpful data for our conversations with Build UK and with Government. If you haven’t yet completed the survey and would like to do so you can find it here. Information received will be treated in confidence.
Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)
BBLS opens for applications today. More info here. Under the scheme:
To be eligible for the scheme, a business must be based in the UK, have been negatively affected by coronavirus (COVID‐19), have been trading on 1 March 1 2020, and not have been an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ as of 31 December 2019.
To apply, companies should approach a lender via its website and fill in the short online application form to self‐certify that they are eligible for a loan. You cannot apply if you’re already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS); however, if you would like to transfer your CBILS loan into the BBLS, you can arrange this with your lender until 4 November 2020.
NASC Daily Coronavirus Bulletin – 29.04.20
1: Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic Toolbox Talk – Issue 2
Issue 2 of the Scaffolding Operations During the Covid-19 Pandemic Toolbox Talk has been released following minor revisions. Download it here. Please ensure you refer to the latest copy of the document.
2: Scaffolding Workers Eligible for Covid-19 Testing
As part of the Government’s five-pillar strategy for Coronavirus testing, scaffolding contractors – under the umbrella of ‘construction workers’ – who have Coronavirus-like symptoms can apply to be tested to see if they currently have the infection. Employers can also refer their employees for testing.
You can select a regional test site drive-through appointment or home test kit. Home test kit availability will initially be limited but more will become available. More here.
3: Changes to Apprenticeships
Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations about changes to apprenticeships due to Coronavirus is available here.
4: DWP Launches Websites to Help Jobseekers and Employers
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched two websites offering labour market information for people looking for work now and advice for employers to help recruit them. The sites are jobhelp and employerhelp.
5: CLC Statement on Payments and Contracts – Reminder
Members may find the CLC’s statement on payments and contracts, available here, useful.
NASC Daily Coronavirus Bulletin – 27.04.20
1: Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) – application advice
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has prepared some advice to help businesses to improve their CBILS applications which includes a list of essential things to be included. For more click here.
2: Coranavirus Job Retention Scheme – Payments Due
Grants for furloughed employees are now being paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, just six working days after the first claims were received.
Payments for claims made on Monday 20 April will be in employers’ bank accounts by tomorrow (28 April) and some have arrived already.
3: HMRC April Employer Bulletin
Click here to read. This edition brings you all of the latest HMRC updates to support employers and payroll agents through the Coronavirus pandemic. There’s information on the Job Retention Scheme, Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, and deferral of VAT payments. There’s also guidance on how best to support your employees through this challenging period, and the impacts of COVID-19 on Off-payroll working rules, workplace pensions, the independent loan charge and more.
4: Early May Bank Holiday Reminder
Members are reminded that the early May Bank Holiday is not on the first Monday in May this year but instead on Friday 8 May to acknowledge VE Day.
NASC Daily Coronavirus Bulletin – 21.04.20
1: Companies House support for businesses hit by COVID-19
Companies House will temporarily pause the strike off process to prevent companies being dissolved. This will give businesses affected by the Coronavirus outbreak the time they need to update their records and help them avoid being struck off the register. For more information click here.
2: Business Support Checker
Coronavirus (COVID-19) support is available to employers and the self-employed. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. Use this business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.
The NASC has today published detailed Covid-19 guidance to assist the scaffolding industry in operating in compliance with current safety guidelines.
The document, titled Guidance for Scaffolding Operations During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, provides a broad range of advice scaffolding contractors might wish to adopt to help safeguard the health and welfare of their workforce.
New / revised risk assessments may involve enhanced site cleaning measures, changes to site organisation, new working arrangements and regular staff briefings. It is available for free download here.
Robin James, NASC Managing Director, said: “Scaffolding contractors – as part of the construction industry – have faced a significant challenge in recent weeks; continuing to operate where possible, as per the UK Government’s instruction, but also adhere to the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures (SOP) document.
“This latest NASC guidance is intended to help scaffolding contractors overcome this challenge. I’d like to thank NASC Council members and NASC staff for their hard work in producing this fluid guidance – taking it from an initial concept to publication in less than a fortnight.
“We expect this document will need to be revised in line with any alterations made to the SOP document, Government advice or Public Health England guidance. As such, scaffolding contractors are advised to regularly check the NASC website or social media channels for any updates.”
After you’ve made a claim:
Claims are now being accepted under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, otherwise known at the Furlough Scheme. To submit a claim click here.
A step-by-step guide is available here.
The Chancellor confirmed on Friday that the scheme has been extended by one month until 30 June and there is an online calculator to help work out how much can be claimed.
The NASC has issued an appendix to its existing guidance document CG12:19 Contract Clauses. The appendix contains a selection of additional (model) clauses (in respect of the Covid-19 pandemic) which scaffolding contractors may wish to use when writing to their clients regarding contractual matters.
It can be purchased here.
The Government has updated its guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The changes include:
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has confirmed that the three‐week minimum period for furloughing an employee will remain in place. Furloughed employees can not undertake any work for the company which includes providing services or generating revenue.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has set up a website for workers to report concerns about health and safety where they cannot be resolved by speaking with their employer or trade union.
The Construction Leadership Council has published version three of its Site Operating Procedures. The key changes include:
1: CLC Statement on Payments and Contracts
This statement highlights the importance of maintaining cashflow to ensure the financial health of the industry and encourages all construction businesses to pay in accordance with agreed contractual terms.
The statement also says that “… firms should not be threatening to invoke penalty or other contractual clauses, when it should be the priority of all clients and firms to sustain the industry. Our actions at this time will be remembered. All firms should think hard about how their reputation could be damaged by not doing the right thing.”
2: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (aka Furlough Scheme)
Detailed guidance on the system for making claims is expected to be released before the end of the week. The application portal is due to go live on Monday 20 April with first payments received before the end of the month.
To avoid unnecessary delay in receiving payment, make sure that you have a functioning HMRC PAYE Online Services Account by following the advice given here.
3: Ensuring the wellbeing of furloughed staff
The NASC is encouraging contractors to keep in touch with furloughed staff during this difficult time. For more advice on this please click here.
4: Guidance on Contractual Guidance on Issues Caused by Coronavirus
Build UK has issued an updated guidance document prepared by Wedlake Bell with the intention of making it more relevant to subcontactors (see here).
The Scottish Contractors Group (which is the name of Build UK in Scotland) is working on their own addendum/appendix to the Contractual Guidance to make it applicable for those who are using contracts under Scottish Law. The guidance is due to be available next week.
5: Companies House Accounts Filing
If you think the impact of COVID-19 will cause delays in filing your company accounts, you can apply for an automatic and immediate 3 month extension. You must apply before your filing deadline. Applications can be made here.
6: Bank Holidays and Furloughed Workers
In the absence of clarity from the Government about the treatment of bank holidays for workers on furlough, two approaches have been suggested. The two Easter Bank Holidays could be viewed as furlough days, paid as furlough days and included in the number of days counting towards the minimum furlough period of three weeks. In that case the two holiday days would be carried forward to be taken at a later date.
Alternatively, the employer could require employees to take the two Bank Holiday days and would then pay those days at the normal rate. These days would then not be included in the furlough period and two further days would have to pass before reaching the three week minimum.
Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, has written an open letter to everyone working in the UK construction sector.
It can be read in full here.
The NASC is calling on Government to provide a clear definition of what qualifies as “essential” construction industry activities as a matter of urgency.
The NASC notes that the Site Operating Procedures – Protecting Your Workforce document, issued by the Construction Leadership Council in conjunction with Build UK, states “non-essential physical work that requires close contact between workers should not be carried out” but believes confusion surrounds what works are deemed essential.
NASC Managing Director Robin James said: “While the Site Operating Procedures document has provided a great deal of assistance for main contractors and subcontractors – including those in the access and scaffolding industry – this crucial recommendation is far too open to interpretation, leading to inconsistencies in approach from site to site.
“It’s time for the Government to provide clarity on this issue; helping to ensure that the appropriate balance is struck between keeping core industry activities in operation whilst also protecting the health and safety of thousands of employees, their families and the population of the UK as a whole.
“Until the Government takes action on this point, we are continuing to call on principal contractors to follow the Site Operating Procedures guidance, paying particular attention to PPE including provision, storage, and establishing single or multi use, welfare, hand washing and maintaining the 2m social distancing recommendation.”
27.03.2020 – 9.15am
The CITB has suspended the issue of its levy bills, due for payment in 2020, for an initial period of three months. The bills will subsequently be issued for the full year.
The reason for this is to provide immediate financial relief to construction employers during the present crisis, given the pressure they are under.
In normal times CITB assesses and sends out levy bills each April in accordance with legal requirements. CITB levy bills are usually due for payment in May, but CITB will not seek collection on the suspended bills until August, or later if possible.
Sarah Beale, CITB Chief Executive, said: “Everyone in construction is facing extreme pressure at the moment and it’s right that we provide financial relief where we can to protect employers and ensure that the industry is as prepared as possible for the economic recovery that will come when the crisis lifts.
“CITB is reviewing all of its work to respond to the changing skills needs of industry. We are continuing to re-evaluate our services, funding and grants to adapt them to meet industry’s changing priority needs.”
All levy bills, raised before 2020, should have been paid by this point. Employers in arrears should contact CITB to discuss payment options.
26.03.2020 – 3.15pm
Click here for the latest tips and advice on keeping clean on the commute, on site and at home.
25.03.2020 – 12.17pm
For more click here.
25.03.2020 – 10am
The NASC is advising access and scaffolding contractors to carry out detailed risk assessments of every project they are currently undertaking to determine whether to continue working on site.
While construction sites in Scotland have been instructed to close, the Government’s latest covid-19 restrictions, imposed on Monday evening, did not limit construction activities and as such sites in other parts of the UK can and are remaining open at this time.
However, the NASC believes that employee health and safety should be prioritised at all times and is aware of the risk of the spread of the virus between construction workers on site – including scaffolding operatives – their families and the wider community, which could put many lives in danger.
The NASC is therefore calling on scaffolding contractors to make detailed risk-based decisions on the amount of site-based activities they conduct.
This should take into account the staff that they have available, in particular identifying any in the “at risk category” along with the unique arrangements on individual sites, transportation (getting to and from sites) and the Site Operating Procedures – Protecting Your Workforce document issued by the Construction Leadership Council in conjunction with Build UK.
Given the nature of access and scaffolding work, it is entirely possible that safe working conditions cannot be maintained on many sites.
Should a scaffolding contractor subsequently choose to withdraw its operatives from site temporarily the NASC fully recognises this decision.
The NASC calls on main contractors / clients to recognise the right of access and scaffolding contractors to conclude that safe working is not possible and to withdraw their workers from site.
Emergency works required during this period should be considered on a case by case basis and in the light of recommended site operating procedures.
The NASC will continue to provide scaffolding industry-related coronavirus advice to all of its members and the wider scaffolding industry and repeat calls for the Government to provide more detailed advice to the construction sector.
24.03.2020 – 9.10am
The Government has imposed its strictest covid-19 measures to date. How do the latest restrictions on movements affect the construction industry?
There is currently no specific instruction to shut construction sites and so the NASC currently supports Build UK’s position, outlined here.
Companies that choose to close can access a range of support from the government, some of which is outlined here. Companies that choose to continue operating should follow these site operating procedures.
The NASC will continue to engage with government and partner bodies throughout the day and communicate latest guidance on this stream as soon as possible.
23.03.2020 – 3.49pm
Following government announcements made at the end of last week, the support available to help businesses is becoming clearer. In many cases the details are still being put in place but the main things you should be looking at are as follows:
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – this will enable you to keep your workforce together rather than laying people off. Employees which you have no work for can be designated as “furloughed”.
Furloughed employees must go home and not work. HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month, for three months. HMRC is working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement and have said that this will be in place by the end of April.
VAT payment deferral – businesses due to make a VAT payment between the 20th March and the 30th June do not have to make that payment. Returns should be made as usual but direct debit payments can be cancelled immediately. You don’t need to apply to anyone. The amounts deferred need not be paid over until March 2021.
Grant funding for small businesses – small businesses registered with the local authority for small business rate relief (with a rateable value of less than £15k) will automatically receive a grant of £10k from the local authority.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme – 40 accredited lenders are being supported by a government guarantee scheme to give loans to businesses which would not satisfy the normal lending criteria. The scheme includes no interest for 12 months, no fees and capital repayment holidays. To access the loans contact your normal bank. Phone lines are very busy but be persistent.
Further details of these schemes and more can be found here. The NASC will be following events and issuing more detailed guidance and support as it becomes available.
Cash Flow Forecasting
Good cash flow forecasting is vital to the success of any business, particularly in uncertain times. Many NASC members will carry out regular cash flow forecasts as part of their normal business operations, but for those which don’t the NASC has developed two spreadsheet frameworks designed to be easily adapted to suit individual businesses.
One is a higher level forecast (available here) designed to look at types of cash flow and the possible ups and down over several weeks or months. The other (available here) is a more detailed forecasting and operational tool, designed to be used week by week and to allow payments to be prioritised based on income received
Advice from Build UK
The update from Build UK today included the following:
You can help in a number of ways:
1. If your construction site is still operational, keep it going until we are told otherwise – our proposed Standard Operating Procedures on protecting the site workforce will be available this week.
2. Do your best to keep paying your supply chain and your staff, as well as holding on to your apprentices.
Let us know
Please keep the NASC in touch with your issues and concerns by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org this will enable us to research and report answers to the problems which NASC members are experiencing.
Other useful links
Government – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
CBI hub – https://www.cbi.org.uk/coronavirus-hub/
23.03.2020 – 09.36am
Click here to read.
23.03.2020 – 09.27am
Issued by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW). Click here to read.
23.03.2020 – 09.19am
Your lorry, bus or trailer will be exempt from needing an MOT for 3 months from 21 March 2020. You might need to apply for this, depending on your vehicle. For more click here.
20.03.2020 – 10.44am
Advice issued by Moore Kingston Smith:
Obviously we are in new territory with everything now shutting down. In the absence of any information on time frames we have been reviewing the measures that the government has put in place, in the form of some type of support.
We believe, at the present time, the ‘time to pay’ is something all clients ought to be considering. We are encouraging our clients including charities to take advantage of this. In effect the government is allowing you to delay paying PAYE/NIC and VAT.
The key is to submit your payroll as you normally would, so the liability appears on their system. Once it does you can ask to defer the payment citing financial difficulties. They should allow you to do this with the view that you set up a monthly payment plan. You will need to ring back the following month to do the same for that month’s payroll and so on.
This should give you some breathing space to deal with the delay in receiving cash, while still having to meet your liabilities. We are already predicting a significant impact on our clients but we believe by working together, the sector should come out of this stronger.
We have had differing results from our clients in applying for the ‘time to pay’ from HMRC. The successful applicants seem to be those who have the payroll liability already recorded and have simply cited financial difficulties to enable HMRC to approve the ‘time’ to pay application. However, we acknowledge that, as always, who you get through to at HMRC will dictate the outcome of your call.
We have already had clients take advantage of this offer with positive results which has helped alleviate the stress of any future uncertainty.
Below, you can find our full update of government support and details of the phone number to ring. Our own Coronavirus Hub will also keep you updated as the government continues to make further announcements.
Tax helpline government support
MKS coronavirus hub
20.03.2020 – 9.57am
The Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy is keen to receive feedback and input from the access industry sector regarding the challenges companies are facing and anticipating.
They are also keen to receive input from Access Industry Forum (AIF) members on “any current compliance / regulatory costs or requirements that could be temporarily relaxed to help industry during this current uncertain period?”
To provide a response please click here to complete a short survey that will contribute towards a work at height sector-wide viewpoint.
20.03.2020 – 09.49am
Provides advice for businesses in Scotland and Wales. Click here to read it.
20.03.2020 – 09.47am
Click here to read it.
20.03.2020 – 09.42am
19.03.2020 – 14.25pm
Featuring latest government advice and a cross construction industry response. Click here to read it.
19.03.2020 – 10.20am
Click here to download Citation’s business toolkit.
19.03.2020 – 10.16am
18.03.2020 – 15.55pm
18.03.2020 – 13.18pm
Click here to read Citation’s HR and Employment Affairs covid-19 Q&A document.
18.03.2020 – 12.55pm
The NASC board of Directors have confirmed that due to COVID-19 all NASC site audits due between 18 March – 30 April 2020 will be postponed with immediate effect.
All NASC full members affected will receive an extension to their membership certificate until end of May 2020.
Please note that members will still be required to complete the online part of their audit within the specified timescale.
New member application site audits will be postponed during this period too.
There is a need to remain fluid during these times and we will review again in early April and hope to be able to reschedule site audits then.
18.03.2020 – 12.12pm
Build UK newsletter here and Lighthouse update here.
18.03.2020 – 12.07pm
18.03.2020 – 12.05pm
NASC London & South East Vice-Chair, Michael Lloyd, is the Group Lead for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and has shared helpful information from the Government to aide small businesses during these uncertain times. For more information click here.
If you have any feedback or suggestions relating to this article please forward them to email@example.com
18.03.2020 – 12pm
For advice and guidance posted on Tuesday 17 November please click here.
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