A construction company has claimed it is not breaking government lockdown rules after re-starting work on a housing development in Dundee.
Workers were spotted on the site of the Haddington Gardens development in Whitfield earlier this week, seemingly in spite of current Scottish Government guidance recommending building work should not go ahead.
But Merchant Homes, the company carrying out the work, insist the government has merely issued “guidance” and firms are expecting to resume a full operation within a fortnight.
The company has said the work is limited but is in preparation for full site opening and major operations beginning within the next fortnight, subject to further government guidance.
“You will no doubt be aware that neither UK Government nor Scottish Government legislation requires construction sites to close at this time,” a spokesman said.
“There is guidance only from the Scottish Government that construction sites should close.”
The rules issued by the Scottish Government came into effect on April 6 and outlines that “no non-essential work should continue at this time”.
It does however, permit work relating to Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) to continue, providing social distancing is adhered to.
Work on “domestic housing” is expected to remain halted at this stage, subject to “limited exceptions.”
Despite this, the spokesman argued the current work did not breach government rules.
He added: “Legislation requires that all businesses take all reasonable steps to comply with social distancing criteria which includes construction sites.
“This means that, legally, any construction site can currently remain open so long as social distancing policies are followed.”
Merchant Homes insist that social distance measures have been put in place on the site to ensure the safety of workers.
The spokesman added: “The safety of our employees and all other operatives working on site is of utmost importance to us and we have in place robust policies for ensuring safe working at this time which comply with Health and Safety Executive and industry guidance.
“As there should be no more than six operatives on site at any one time all working in the open, plus a site manager, social distancing can be maintained and monitored.”
A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “The First Minister has been absolutely clear that all construction work must cease unless, for example, it is for an NHS facility.
“While lockdown remains in place, every non-essential business that opens and every increased physical interaction, risks lockdown being in place longer.
“The advice to close all but essential construction sites is based on public health grounds. That remains the Scottish Government’s position.
“We expect all non-essential businesses to adopt a precautionary approach by remaining closed to protect the lives of their workers and their families. On that basis we hope and expect that businesses will comply voluntarily.
“We are working closely with the construction industry on plans to restart work safely when the expert advice supports that.”