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March 25, 2020

UK construction sites close down amid Covid-19 lockdown

As the virus outbreak worsens across the UK, the government has announced containment measures to slow the spread of the virus.

With over 8,000 cases and 423 deaths reported, the UK Government has announced a country-wide lockdown to slow the intensifying spread. The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that people can only leave home to for essential shopping, medicines and where ‘absolutely necessary’ travelling to and from work.

But while the lockdown has not included construction, with Robert Jenrick, the minister for housing, communities and local government advising construction workers to work from home if possible,some construction companies have taken precautionary action and have already begun to close construction sites.

Taylor Wimpey, one of the biggest housebuilders in the UK, announced the closure of all its construction sites, show homes and sale centres. Multiplex, an international construction contractor, has also announced it would close its building sites. The company’s project portfolio includes 22 Bishopsgate tower, which was expected to be completed later this year, and One Nine Elms twin tower scheme.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also suspended work on the flagship Crossrail project and all other Transport for London projects due to the virus outbreak.

GlobalData expects the UK construction industry to contract by 2.5% in 2020 considering the impact of the virus outbreak, a sharp fall from the 0.9% expansion recorded in 2019. The forecast is contingent on the virus being contained by the end of the second quarter. In view of the latest developments and the expected halting of further construction projects, there is scope for a downward revision of the forecast.

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