COVID-19 and Construction Projects: What’s the Impact? - 19/05/2020


The global pandemic created by COVID-19 has impacted every industry, including construction and engineering. With the latest UK government guidelines for businesses and organizations, it’s proving difficult to carry on business as usual, especially on site. This article provides details of the latest impact of COVID-19 on construction projects in the UK.

Why does COVID-19 affect construction projects?

There are two key elements that play a major role in reducing the spread of the virus. One is social distancing and the other being adequate hygiene practices. Anybody who has worked on a construction site will know that these can be rather challenging. On the one hand, many jobs require more than one person to work closely together. On the other, welfare facilities can sometimes be somewhat basic and located relatively far from where the actual work is taking place.

The UK Government guidelines about coronavirus and work require social distancing and adequate welfare facilities. Because of this, there has been some confusion, particularly in the construction industry, about whether sites can remain open or not. Major construction companies made quick decisions to shut down their sites to ensure the safety of their workers.

TfL and Crossrail are amongst the most affected

TfL and Crossrail, for example, were amongst the first to make their decision. Due to COVID-19, they are shutting down all their construction sites unless it’s unsafe to do so. Transport commissioner Mike Brown said: ‘This is being done to ensure the safety of our construction and project teams and also to further reduce the number of people travelling on the public transport network. It is vital that the transport network is only used by critical workers.’

Crossrail’s chief executive Mark Wild said: ‘We asked everyone who could work from home to do so and put in place measures to limit movement across the programme. We have also taken the decision to temporarily stop station activity and close our sites.’

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Last updated: 26/05/2020