The president of the United Kingdom’s National Federation of Demolition Contractors (NFDC) has contacted members to update them on Coronavirus, confirming that a range of resources would be available to help them through the crisis from today (Friday).
This includes the template for a letter of support urging clients to allow contractors to safeguard workers without fear of financial penalties or legal and contractual issues from delays in projects due to safety concerns.
In her message, written on March 26 and reproduced on the federation website, Holly – who said she was writing as “a fellow demolition professional who is also finding it difficult to adjust to our new lives” – outlined examples of recent NFDC Coronavirus-specific activity, including:
- Gathering and disseminating information as soon as it becomes available
- Lobbying bodies including the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Build UK and the Construction Leadership Council (CLC)
- Seeking further clarity on “essential” works
- Emphasising the danger to livelihoods from the lack of clarity on furloughed (temporary leave of absence due to special circumstances) employees
- Helping to secure a three-month suspension in levy collection from the CITB.
However, Holly admitted that despite the response from the government and industry bodies, “more needs to be done.”
She added: “I am all too aware that all over the UK, sites have been closed or reduced to a skeleton staff in an attempt to keep moving forward, and that there are other sites where it reportedly has been business as usual.
“We cannot judge from afar, but stress that if the sites remaining open cannot clearly follow the CLC Safe Operating Procedures as well as ensuring those travelling to and from work can do so safely, in line with government guidance, it is paramount that steps are taken to reduce or cease works until the situation changes.
“And whilst the NFDC does not have the power to close demolition sites, be assured that we are here to support you should you need assistance with making this position clear to your client.
“We know that there are demolition people across the land still going to work, travelling on public transport and nervously returning home to their families at the end of the day. In this unique situation it is paramount that these people receive the right support and understand their right to refuse work.”
The template for the letter of support, written in MS-Word so contractors can edit it with their own details, can be downloaded from the NFDC website at demolition-nfdc.com