The government made the decision to restrict activities in the construction sector yesterday which prompted the following statement from the sectors representative body:
“Due to the deteriorating situation of COVID-19, the Government has decided to restrict construction activity to restrict people’s movement across the country. It is widely acknowledged at all levels of government that the industry is operating safely and has had an excellent track record at keeping COVID-19 off sites and managing it when on-site”
“At no point did cases on-site pass 56 during the previous 9 months. The rate of infection per employee industry-wide ranged from 0.003% to 0.035% during this period amongst our 147,000 employees. This is considerably below the population average at all times. This performance means the industry is best-placed to return to work safely on the 31 January if the Government deems it safe to do so. Companies that can still operate on essential construction will continue to adhere to the CIF’s world-class standard operating procedure to ensure incidence on sites continues to be negligible”Irish Building Magazine (7th January 2021)
In the coming weeks, construction companies will continue to refine the industry’s standard operating procedure, train staff where possible, and maintain sites where required.
“The HSE is constantly monitoring incidence on-site through their steering committee. Construction sites are recognized as positive in terms of identifying and managing the incidence of COVID-19 and as such helped prevent further transmission. The impact of the current lockdown on the industry will take months to calculate. The previous lockdown may have resulted in 5,000 fewer homes than expected in 2020. In addition, we estimate somewhere around 10% output (circa €3bn) was lost due to the lockdown. When the industry is operating at full capacity, every €1bn investment in construction activity results in €1.8bn in output for Ireland, 12,000 jobs, and €680m circulating around the economy. The CIF would like to assure the 200,000 direct and indirect employees and 50,000 enterprises operating in the sector and the wider economy that will do everything to ensure the industry can return to work within the earliest and safest timeframe”.Irish Building Magazine (7th January 2021)
“Finally, no other country (barring some US States and Italy in the initial wave) has shut down construction during lockdowns. Most recently, the UK and Scotland have entered lockdown and left construction operational. The CIF will continue to work with the HSE, the HSA, and the wider Government on monitoring the situation.”Irish Building Magazine (7th January 2021)
We remain optimistic that the socially distanced nature of the industry, the low incidence rate of COVID-19 across sites and the effective management of the pandemic thus far will lead to the government easing the newly imposed restrictions soon, allowing work to resume across the country.