William Birch & Sons is resuming work on its construction sites across the country, including at Lincoln Cathedral where it is the main contractor for the Old Deanery Visitor centre and the improvement works to the area at the west front of the Cathedral.
Birch temporarily suspended work on its sites on 26 March while it assessed the most practical working methods and site safety in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Work will resume at the Lincoln Cathedral site on Monday 27 April..
The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, Secretary of State Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has written to construction companies across the UK indicating that where safe working practices can be introduced, construction work is able to continue. He cited the important contribution of the construction industry to the resilience of the nation and supporting the UK economy.
William Birch & Sons will be working to the Site Operating Procedures published by the Construction Leadership Council. These align with the latest advice from Public Health England and are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. The procedures contain guidance on social distancing and all aspects of employee and public safety on construction sites.
The Revd Canon John Patrick, Subdean of Lincoln who has oversight of all construction and conservation works at the Cathedral said, “Our primary concern is, as it has always been, the safety and wellbeing of everyone who works, worships and visits the Cathedral.
“Birch have assured us that they can operate safely and fully within the most up to date government guidelines. We’ve had an excellent working relationship with Birch over the last three years since they have been running the site at the Cathedral, and we trust their judgement that work on site can continue safely as the project nears completion.”
The work taking place at Lincoln Cathedral is part of the National Lottery Funded Connected project which includes conservation work to the West Front of the Cathedral and Exchequergate Arch, landscaping the area around the Cathedral and the development of a new visitor centre. Once open the Old Deanery Visitor Centre will include exhibition and interpretation spaces, an education centre, café, shop and a Changing Places toilet, all of which are intended to attract new visitors to the Cathedral and the city, cementing Lincoln’s status as an international tourism centre.
An opening date for the new visitor centre will be announced later in the year.