Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): construction sector guidance

Guidance on construction sites and associated works that can continue under specific conditions.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): construction sector guidance
Compliance and future development

Compliance and future development

This guidance extends until further notice. 

Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the Scottish and UK Governments in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others. 

The regulator for health and safety at work, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is constantly applying their expertise to ensure people at work are protected, utilising the powers at their disposal under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.  HSE is treating COVID-19 as a workplace health issue with regard to the protection of workers from infection. HSE can, and will, use the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure social distancing in the workplace in relation to workers. HSE can be contacted by phone on 0300 003 1647 or online at HSE contact form.

Where HSE identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health guidance to control COVID-19 health risks to workers, HSE will consider a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks including the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices. These actions will be taken under existing health and safety law. A framework agreement between Police Scotland and local authorities supports the referral of complaints about lack of reasonable physical distancing at work.

The STUC has set up a contact point for requests for support from trade union Health and Safety representatives:

Public procurement

The public sector is a major client group for the construction sector in Scotland.  In support of our efforts to reset the sector, we have set down guiding principles in managing this situation through existing public sector construction contracts. We are looking for public sector clients and contractors to address pragmatically their mutual needs to ensure Scotland, both locally and nationally, retains a viable construction sector through these unprecedented times and that businesses emerge ready to resume work on existing projects and new opportunities.

Public sector contracting authorities should continue to progress pre-procurement activity, and progress to procurement where it is clear industry can respond, assisting suppliers to plan for, and schedule, full recommencement of operations as soon as practicable.

Future development

We continue to work with business and employee representatives, seeking to learn from successful working practices on essential sites, looking for industry to develop innovative processes to support new ways of working, and also learning from examples from around the world.  We are working closely with Health Protection Scotland to ensure that the health and wellbeing of individuals continues to be our priority as we work together on the managed restart of the sector. 

The Joint Statement between the Scottish Government; Police Scotland; Health and Safety Executive, and Local Authorities on Safe Workplaces: Advice, Compliance and Building Resilience provides further details of how we are all working together.

This guidance will be updated and reviewed as required in consultation with the sector’s employers and unions.  Please ensure you use the latest version.  This document is provided as guidance only and does not amount to legal advice. Businesses may wish to seek their own advice to ensure compliance with all legal requirements. 

It is for individual businesses in conjunction with trade union or workforce representatives to decide how best to successfully adopt and adapt guidance for their individual circumstances.

If you can suggest ways we can improve the guidance please contact the Construction Policy Team at  

First published: 15 Jul 2020 Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 -