Construction News

Wed June 23 2021

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Coronavirus: ISG and Galliard shut their sites

24 Mar 20 Despite government advice for construction work to continue, main contractor ISG is closing down sites to keep its workers safe.

ISG chief executive Paul Cossell
ISG chief executive Paul Cossell

Galliard Homes has also decided to close all of its building/construction sites across London and Birmingham with immediate effect, with the sole exception of important safety works.

With confusion rife across the UK construction industry, these look likely to be the first of many.

In a statement today, ISG chief executive Paul Cossell said: “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our people, our customers, supply chain partners and the people in the communities where we work. We are in unprecedented times and I have decided to take decisive action to help ensure people are protected against Covid-19.

“Government advice continues to shift in the countries where we operate. What we know is that social distancing is absolutely key to safety – when travelling to site, entering and leaving site and also within sites themselves.

“Looking at the global picture, I’ve decided that it is time for ISG to act ahead of government advice. In line with this, by close of play today we will:

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  • suspend activity across sites which cannot meet an enhanced risk profile test
  • inform affected sites of our decision and arrange for temporary site closure where required
  • work on plans to ensure that suspended sites have an action plan to be able to safely re-open
  • contact clients to inform them of our decision
  • work with the supply chain to ensure it has clarity on our position, the effect it has on work and initiate planning for future re-opening.

“We must act now and do so decisively to protect the welfare of people across the industry. I believe that by taking this decisive action we will keep our people, customers, supply chain and the general public safe. Nothing is more important.”

Galliard executive chairman Stephen Conway said: “Our business was born in London and we are committed to the capital, but during these unprecedented times the safety of our construction staff, families and our London communities is paramount. and we believe that by taking our staff out of daily commuting we will help to free up London’s Transport Network for the NHS and key workers who are protecting sick and vulnerable people across the capital. Supporting the NHS and protecting lives is the sole priority at present, our teams can return to helping build our great capital when this crisis abates.”

Galliard chief executive Don O’Sullivan added: “Despite the confusing and conflicting messages from central government and the London mayor’s office, we are a London business and we are taking this action in support of our world class superheroes in the NHS, as they take on the fight of their lives to keep us safe.” 

With regard to Birmingham, he added: "Removing our Birmingham site staff from the transport network gives priority to health workers and other professionals who are commuting to work in order to help save lives – this is the priority and what matters.”                                      

  • Postscipt: Shortly after this report was posted, an ISG subcontractor sought direction from his ISG regional director, only to be told that it was not accurate, his chief executive had made no such statement, ISG was not closing sites and that they should carry on with their work. Note to ISG managers: please see for confirmation.

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