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‘Corona effect will be catastrophic’

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UPDATE: ScotPlant rescheduled for September.

 

By Mike Travers

Construction events across the country have been cancelled or postponed as the industry reacts to the coronavirus crisis. And its effect on the supply chain will be “catastrophic” a trade association has warned.

Casualties include next month’s ScotPlant exhibition at Ingliston, the industry’s biggest dinner and awards night in Glasgow and a Scottish Plant Owners Association event due to be held next Monday at the new Wirtgen Group/John Deere customer service centre in Perth.

A ScotPlant spokesman said the decision to postpone was made amid growing concern over the spread of the virus and the restrictions on mass gatherings. “We appreciate that this decision will impact on organisations’ and visitors’ travel plans and schedules. However, the health, safety and wellbeing of all ScotPlant attendees has to be our number one priority and we hope people will understand why we have had to take this course of action in the face of unprecedented circumstances.”

Visitors do not need to re-register; tickets will remain valid for the new date.

The annual dinner and awards of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Scotland) – one of the biggest social events in the construction diary north of the border – was to be held March 26 but a spokesman said there was no option but to cancel following the ban on mass gatherings.

“We know this will be extremely disappointing to CECA Scotland members and to our VIP guests but given the exceptional circumstances, there is unfortunately no alternative. We are currently exploring all options to hold the 2020 Dinner and Awards at a later date and we will keep members updated on developments.”

Also cancelled on the same day is the ‘Shape the CITB’s Future’ meeting where CECA members were to hear from the Construction Industry Training Board’s chief executive on the future shape of the training organisation.

The Scottish Plant Owners Association announced that its meeting due to be held next Monday (24th) in Perth has been scrapped. Members were to be guests at the new service centre being opened to support John Deere’s forestry business and Wirtgen Group’s road construction machinery operations in Scotland.

“Although this decision is disappointing for all involved, we are sure that you’ll support us in being diligent with regards to our members’ health,” said an association spokesman. “We will be planning to hold the event later in the year, however given the uncertainties, no new date has currently been set. We hope to be able to provide an update as soon as possible.”

Elsewhere, trade association Build UK has warned that construction will be “dramatically and severely affected” by the acceleration of the COVID-19 situation.

“Whilst the priority last week was to keep business critical construction projects open and operational wherever possible, that is likely to change in the weeks ahead,” it said. “If the government decides to put the country into ‘lockdown’ and restrict the movement of British citizens, decisions will be taken out of the hands of individual companies and sites may have to close.

“The impact on the industry’s supply chain, consisting of multiple layers of businesses, many of them of SMEs with a significant amount of self-employed workers, will be catastrophic and unavoidable.”

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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 17/3/2020