Scottish cladding firm MSP to resume work next week

Cumbernauld-based facades specialist MSP (Scotland) will recommence operations from May 4, providing vital materials to construction projects in England.

Scottish cladding firm MSP to resume work next week

Gillian Thomson, general manager of MSP (Scotland)

The reopening follows a shut-down of approximately four weeks, in line with the Scottish Government’s enforced lockdown measures.

The supplier of powder-coated cladding and façade systems recently voiced concerns over staff safety in the rush to reopen construction sites without proper distancing procedures being put in place – most notably on public transport. MSP has now confirmed a phased return to work, given the important nature of current projects, replacing unsafe cladding with fire-safe products.

Despite what it describes as a “lack of consistency and clarity” from UK Government announcements regarding safety on-site, the business (which employs 60 people to the east of Glasgow) is keen to support vital refurbishment work on English sites. However, it is adamant that the safety and welfare of its employees should not be compromised during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Commenting on the managed return to work, MSP’s general manager Gillian Thomson said: “We’re obviously as keen as anyone to get back to work, but only when we can guarantee our people’s safety. Having seen the leadership shown by contractors such as Taylor Wimpey and housebuilders Persimmon, both of whom have introduced stringent COVID-19 policies and site procedures, we’re excited to be supplying fire-safe cladding once again.

“For ourselves, we’ve sourced all the right PPE for staff and undertaken compulsory training to ensure we operate to the Construction Leadership Council’s standard operating procedures. We’ve also considered transport options to work and have introduced flexible working so that those who need to take public transport can avoid rush hours and crowded trains and buses.”

MSP’s decision to commence operations was also partly driven by the remarkable resilience of the construction sector, which is already showing signs of growth following weeks of inactivity.

Ms Thomson said: “We’ve been quite surprised by the very encouraging levels of new enquiries coming across our desks in the last few weeks. To illustrate the point, in April 2019 our parent company Vivalda Group identified 79 qualified enquiries. In the same period this year, we’ve had over 70 – and that’s a few days before the end of the month – so the market is looking remarkably buoyant.” 

She added that a significant number of projects that had previously been languishing in the procurement pipeline had been confirmed by architects and specifiers during the lockdown period.

“Given the fact that so few sites have been open,” added Thomson, “we think a lot of developers have tasked their teams to focus on projects which would have otherwise taken months to gain approval.”

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.

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