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Scotland sets out plan to re-open construction sites and unfreeze housing market

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.

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Picture: Getty
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Scotland sets out plan to re-open construction sites as country prepares to unfreeze housing market #ukhousing

The opening of construction sites will open in a phased way with heavy restrictions on those sites that open next week #ukhousing

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.


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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.

Scotland's routemap out of lockdown
Scotland's routemap out of lockdown

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.

  • Phase 0: Planning · Phase 1: Covid-19 Pre-start Site prep
  • Phase 2: “Soft start” to site works (only where physical distancing can be maintained)
  • Phase 3: Steady state operation (only where physical distancing can be maintained)
  • Phase 4: Steady state operation (where physical distancing can be maintained and/or with PPE use) · Phase 5: Increasing density/productivity with experience

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.

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