The construction industry needs a green light from the Government to ensure that sites can be re-opened safely, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in its response to construction PMI data issued last week, which recorded the fastest decline in output since the survey began 23 years ago. Support for the industry to recover in the long-term will also be essential.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Today’s fall in construction output matches our members’ experience of the past few months. 96% of local builders have stopped work on site since the coronavirus hit the UK. They’ve been unable to access materials, including PPE, and it has been challenging to maintain social distancing rules on site that keep themselves and the public safe. 40% of clients have requested work to stop.”
Berry continued: “To ensure a safe return to work, and fire up construction, the public needs a clear, and joined-up, statement from Government that indoor and outdoor construction is safe. Builders need guaranteed access to PPE, and we look to the Government to coordinate this, so that limited PPE is not taken away from the health front line.”
Berry concluded: “In the longer-term, construction needs a clear plan for recovery – something the construction sector is working towards delivering. This must include a national retrofit strategy that harnesses capacity in the SME sector to upgrade the energy efficiency of people’s homes. It needs to tackle poor payment practises in the supply chain to support growth. And it must boost local planning departments to help local house builders bring forward new homes more quickly.”