The Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) has published Branch Operating Guidelines for the safe operation of builders’ merchants while COVID-19 restrictions continue.
The 18-page document sets out guidelines and additional precautions to follow in the office, at trade counters, during customer and supplier deliveries, customer collection and tool hire.
The guidelines incorporate Public Health England (PHE) social distancing and hygiene procedures, and have been prepared in consultation with merchants, Highways England and the Construction Leadership Council, which has itself published Site Operating Procedures for use on all building sites to facilitate safe working.
Two-metre social distancing is an absolute must between merchant staff, customers and suppliers, and information is included on detailed cleaning routines and mandatory compliance to avoid transmission of the virus.
John Newcomb, chief executive officer of the BMF, 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.”
John continued: “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.”
The BMF website includes a list showing the current operational status of merchant and supplier members during the crisis. The Federation has asked all members to advise them of any changes to ensure the list is accurate and up to date.