Scotland will start the process for getting construction sites across the country open again from the start of next week, the Scottish government has confirmed.
Holyrood said that from next week contractors and developers could begin the process of planning for a site return, while preparations to unfreeze the housing market will also begin.
The announcements came as part of the Scottish government’s routemap out of lockdown published today, which lays out how the country will ease social distancing restriction currently in place.
The government will move into phase one of its routemap out of lockdown next Thursday (28 May) which could see soft site works start but this would be with strict restrictions. Phase one of the plan also includes preparations for reopening the housing market and allowing people to once again move home.
Unlike England, Scotland has kept construction sites for non-essential works such as housebuilding closed throughout the lockdown. It also decided against re-opening its housing market or allow people to move home when the English government did last week.
Announcing the plan today, Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, said: “The construction industry will be able to carefully implement steps one and two of its six-step restart plan which it has developed with us.
“However, let me be clear that there must be genuine partnership with trade unions – this can only be done if it is done safely.”
From next week the Scottish government will allow “phases 0-2” of the industry restart plan to be implemented. Phase 0 is the planning of getting back to work, phase 1 the site preparation and phase 2 is the “soft start” of site works, which means reduced work can start where physical distancing is possible.
The government has said that the sector can only move to the next phases of the industry plan after it has consulted with the government.
Phase 2 of the government’s overall routemap will also see the Scottish government relax restrictions on housing moves.
The Welsh and Northern Irish government’s also decided against re-opening their housing markets last week, despite housing secretary Robert Jenrick unfreezing the market in the UK.