The 18-page document sets out guidelines and precautions to follow in the office, at trade counters, during customer and supplier deliveries, customer collection and tool hire.
The guidelines advise on maintaining two-metre social distancing between merchant staff, customers and suppliers as well as on detailed cleaning regimes to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus.
Many builders’ merchants, and the product manufacturers/importers that supply them, have closed their doors during the lockdown, making life difficult for those builders and contractors that are continuing to work. Other merchants have stayed open but with reduced stock and reduced service.
There is pressure on the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) to get its members back to full speed as soon as possible.
BMF chief executive John Newcomb said: “The government has made it clear that merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and, if it is safe to do so, it is important they are able to support the construction industry as work continues and more sites reopen.
“We have worked with the industry to develop a new operating model to minimise the risk of virus transmission. The new model centres around trade customers using call and collect, click and collect and pre-arranged orders, with no public access into branches.
“The safety of merchant staff, suppliers and customers is paramount and every merchant must make the best decision for their individual business. We hope these new guidelines will show how risks can be managed if these safe systems of work are in place and remain effective until further notice.”
Download a copy here: Branch Operating Guidelines during Covid-19
As previously reported, the BMF website includes a list showing the current operational status of merchant and supplier members during the crisis. The BMF has asked all members to advise of any changes to ensure the list is accurate and up to date.