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RIAS Business and Practice Bulletin

Updated 1st June 2020

The RIAS is compiling information for members and will post regular details to support you in accessing information. Further details and information are also posted to the UK Government Business Bulletin updates also on the RIAS Website.


Construction Restart Planning – Advice to RIAS Practices and Members

Letter to Construction Leadership Group

Read the following letter from Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning's letter to Ken Gillespie, Chair of Construction Scotland and Construction Leadership Forum which gives more detail of the proposals for re-starting construction.

View the now published changes in SOP New Site Operating Procedures.

Contract Administration

For guidance on the implications of Coronavirus on Contract Administration please read the guidance in our Practice Note.

For the duration of the Covid 19 crisis, the RIAS is releasing selected complimentary Practice Notes to assist all members. Practice Notes are normally only available to Practice Services subscribers.

COVID-19 and the construction sector (as at 22 May 2020)

Following the Scottish Governent update yesterday, legal adviser MacRoberts have published the following article: COVID-19 and the construction sector: The first step on a possibly long-ish road?

Architects Registration Board Guidance

The ARB has developed some initial guidance for those on the Register.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Read this update from legal advisor MacRoberts following the Chancellor's announcement on 12 May about the extension of the furlough job retention scheme.

Civic Forum

The Construction Industry Coronavirus Forum may be a useful resource for members. It is a collective of trade and professional bodies gathering intelligence, sharing advice and speaking directly with government on issues affecting members in the current crisis.

Difficult decisions: Time is of the essence - delay collective consultation at your peril

Read the article from MacRoberts legal advisor on the above subject here.

How to Designate A 'Furloughed Worker' and Other Questions

MacRoberts have provided a useful Q&A regarding the process.

Practices may also find useful the following legal update published by Brodies with details of the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The purpose of the Scheme is to reimburse a proportion of the wages of those employees who are kept on the payroll and who would otherwise have been made redundant (or, Brodies think, laid off) as a result of the Coronavirus crisis ('Furloughed' Workers).

MacRoberts Live Bitesized webinar and podcast: COVID-19 Series - Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

This series covers the key issues of the day in a short Q&A format. View the latest here.

Practical Business Actions

Johnston Carmichael have published a guide that sets out a number of practical steps that they believe all businesses, regardless of size and sector, should be taking right now. They will continue to provide updated guidance, particularly on the Government incentives as the details emerge and new announcements are made. Access their practical business guide here.

RIBA COVID-19 checklist for architects

The RIBA have issued a useful checklist for architects covering the key things to consider at this time of change with links to further information and help.

Reminder to Architects to make appropriate arrangements for their professional work in the event of incapacity, death, absence from, or inability to, work – ARB Standard 2.2

The article in the Winter 2019 RIAS Quarterly on the above subject can be accessed here (page 82 under the Practice Update).

Scotland's Town Partnership Funding Finder

STP’s Funding Finder is the go-to place to source potential funding. The Funding Finder provides easy to read information on current funding streams, highlighting where new funds have been announced and where application deadlines are looming. The latest update includes a section on covid-19 funding. Access it here.

Scottish Government Guidance here

New measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Scotland have been announced by Finance Secretary Kate Forbes. The following steps will be put in place to support businesses during the 2020-21 financial year:

  • a 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
  • an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of COVID-19
  • 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
  • a fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020

The Finance Secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from rate payers for payment - deferrals for a fixed period. The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660. The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. - Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.

(Please note: There’s no information yet on how to apply for these grants and the phoneline is currently very busy)

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning Kevin Stewart MSP has issued letters to Chief Executives - Scottish Local Authorities and Building Standards Managers – Scottish Local Authorities regarding special measures under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003. Read them via the below links.

UK Government support for businesses link here

  • a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

Working remotely with colleagues and clients

The RIBA have published a useful article for practices setting up remote working, making suggestions of what smaller practices can easily implement.

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