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Contractors delivering Council-led construction projects asked to follow national guidance for safety of city

Posted: 31st March 2020
  • Asking contractors to follow guidance advising non-essential construction projects to stop
  • Measures will protect workers’ and public health
  • Council sets out general position to provide clarity

We have asked contractors delivering all non-essential, Council-led construction across the Capital to follow national guidance issued by the Scottish Government.

Scotland’s First Minister has advised that all construction projects should cease, other than those delivering essential buildings like hospitals, during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

We have written to contractors working on non-essential Council-led projects asking them to follow guidance to safeguard the safety of workers and to limit the potential spread of the virus amongst the wider community.

While contractors are responsible for their sites, and complying with government guidance, we have taken the decision to set out a general position in relation to Council acceptance of delays to provide clarity and to protect the health and wellbeing of all those who live and work here.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:

“The safety of workers delivering the Capital’s key projects is paramount, as is our commitment to supporting the country’s efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus, so it’s essential that we comply with Scottish Government guidelines and ask contractors to halt all Council-led construction projects.

“We will of course be working with contractors over the coming weeks to mitigate the impact on delivery of key projects for the benefit of our Capital, and to finalise plans for returning to sites as quickly as possible once things return to normal.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day said:

“This year we’ve been pressing ahead with several major schemes to deliver better housing, education and transport infrastructure across the city, and we are still committed to delivering these improvements. However, at this moment, it’s essential that we pause progress on these projects to limit interactions between workers in line with social distancing advice.

“We are making every effort to support the public to adapt to the changes necessary during the current outbreak, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have been adhering to guidelines, as well as looking out for their neighbours and other vulnerable people.”

The move follows the Council’s instruction to contractors delivering Edinburgh’s Trams to Newhaven project to cease all work on-site last week.

Several service changes have been implemented by the Council to help limit the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in Edinburgh. These include the suspension of pay and display parking charges, closing play parks and games areas and establishing Local Critical Resilience Centres.

Further information on services, support and how to report any concerns can be found on the Council website. If you’re experiencing an emergency or critical situation, please call 0131 200 2000.

Statement issued to contractors

“The Council expects its contractors engaged on construction projects to ensure the health and safety of their employees and sub-contractors and therefore to follow Scottish Government advice to suspend work. The Council encourages its contractors to engage with it to agree the steps necessary to address the risks of COVID-19, including suspension of works on site. This is an unprecedented situation which the Council anticipates will be dealt with as “force majeure” in its contracts and as such contractors will be excused from completing their projects by the contractual completion dates, in which case such dates will be appropriately extended. This will excuse contractors from any delay damages due to the consequence of COVID-19 – contractors should liaise with their Council contact to agree any other consequences of suspension of work (e.g. security of sites).”

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Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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