CIAT response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Contacting CIAT

Based on the current UK Government guidelines and advice, Central Office will remain closed until early 2021. Staff continue to work remotely and can be contacted by email and phone. Find their details here.

Paperless office
397 City Road is operating as a paperless office. For our members and affiliates this means that should you need to post a document, such as an application form, Professional Assessment application or Practice Profile Form, we ask that you please instead email these to the relevant department. 

You can find the department email addresses here:

membership@ciat.org.uk
practice@ciat.org.uk
finance@ciat.org.uk
education@ciat.org.uk
communications@ciat.org.uk
international@ciat.org.uk

Online forms
Below, you can find links to the online forms on our website in the Members' area:

Practice registration form for Chartered Members
Practice registration form for affiliates
Concessionary rate application

We have intermittent access to all other post at the current time. Please email info@ciat.org.uk or call +44 (0)20 7278 2206 if your matter requires urgent attention

Meetings and events

Meetings and events organised by CIAT will be postponed or run virtually via video/conference call.

Membership progression to Chartered Architectural Technologist

If you are an AT professional and looking to utilise your time during lockdown, then you can qualify as a Chartered Architectural Technologist and the process will be carried out remotely. Your Professional Assessment Interview will be held via Zoom and the current turnaround is quicker than usual.

Steps to qualify remotely:

  1. Complete the MCIAT Professional Assessment and reference supporting evidence to prove suitability. It must be supported by a Referee (MCIAT, ARB, MRICS, MCIOB, MCABE etc.). You must be an active Associate member or profile candidate to apply.

  2. Submit the MCIAT PA application with evidence via Dropbox, WeTransfer, Google Drive (or alike) to membership@ciat.org.uk and pay the £350 assessment fee.

  3. The Member Panel will review the MCIAT PA application and determine a result (pass/defer/refer). If we defer and ask for further evidence, we will provide guidance on what is required.

  4. Once awarded a pass, we will arrange your Professional Assessment Interview via Zoom.

A selection of completed exemplers, PA form to complete, Professional Standards Framework and candidate guidance notes can be found here.

For any queries or assistance required, please do not hesitate to contact the Membership Department:
James Banks, Membership Director – james@ciat.org.uk
Dorota Fitzpatrick, Assistant Membership Director – dorota@ciat.org.uk
Megan Brown, Membership Administrator – megan@ciat.org.uk

Checklist for Architectural Technologists

CIAT encourages its members to consider the ramifications of the current and evolving situation as daily life is disrupted for themselves and their businesses. Remember to keep up to date with official advice and guidance. Key considerations include:

For Practice Leaders

Protect your staff

  • Enable your staff to work from home if they are able to do so. ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) have guidance on supporting employees who are working remotely due to the pandemic.
  • Develop your policies and plans for supporting flexible working arrangements, particularly in light of school closures and childcare disruption.
  • If your workplace is open, to make it safe, employers must encourage staff to work from home, wherever possible; have completed a 'risk assessment', and taken reasonable steps to prevent harm in the workplace; and follow the government guidelines on safer working on GOV.UK.
  • Put in place mental wellbeing support for remote working staff.
  • Ensure that your core staff support systems, including those for payroll and staff sickness reporting are robust and resilient.
  • Look into furlough options if appropriate. The CIPD have provided a useful guide on this. Click here to access it.

Review your insurances and contracts

  • If your PI insurance policy is due for renewal within the next three months make early contact with your broker.
  • Review all your insurance policies, including any business interruption insurance provisions.
  • Review all professional services and construction contracts for force majeure provisions.

Make contact with your local regulators

  • Contact your local planning authority and building control authority/approved inspectors to understand their plans for development control and building control processes during this period.

For salaried Architectural Technologists and staff

Employment rights
The UK Government has been clear that employers should support their staff’s welfare, especially during an extended response. It is important employees understand their employment rights, not just at times like these. 

ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has published advice for employers and employees. Click here to view it.

There is also new guidance on homeworking. See more here.

The Money Advice Service has a guide that looks at your sick pay rights, changes to claiming your benefits and what it means for travel. Click here to read it.

Personal finance
Review your personal finances and keep up to date with any announcements that may help your circumstances. New measures are being brought in to support individuals durings these challenging times.

Advice on sick pay, mortgages, rent and a warning about Coronavirus scams has been issued by MoneySavingExpert. Click here to view this. (Please note CIAT is not responsible for this external content.)

Homeworking
Everyone is urged to work from home during this disruption, if it is possible to do so. When working from home, ensure you have clear understanding about expectations on you for delivery, and maintain regular contact with your line manager.

For students

Your university
Make sure you have read all guidance that will have been provided by your university. Contact your tutors to understand how they intend to keep in touch with you, and maintain continuity of teaching over the coming weeks and months.

Managing your time 
In normal circumstances, the end of the academic year can be a stressful time but it is important to continue to produce your best work. Make sure you are clear when any assignments have to be submitted – make a detailed plan of what you have to do and for when.

Try to maintain your usual pattern of working, and follow best practice with respect to time management – create a timetable and and set yourself regular and reasonable goals with your work.

Keeping in touch
If you are currently in a different country/time zone, consider how this may affect your tutorials and teaching interactions – make sure everyone is aware of your current location and any impacts this may have. 

Keep in touch with family and friends, and maintain the conversations you have with your university peer group. Look for creative ways to share support, knowledge and information.

Your health and wellbeing
If you are feeling anxious or have concerns, there is lots of advice available. Remember to speak to your family, friends and tutors. The Architects' Benevolent Society (ABS) have many resources available in response to this unprecedented situation. Click here to read their statement on COVID-19 and access their resources.

Contractual issues caused by Coronavirus

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (UK) and Contract Clauses
The temporary measures introduced by the Government in June intended to assist firms facing insolvency have now been extended to December 2020.

The measures include a relaxation of rules relating to those in financial difficulties in an attempt to give them time to recover.

A link to the legislation is available here. Further information from the Government may be viewed here.

Members should also be aware, however, that termination clauses triggered by insolvency cease to have effect. Any Member seeking to invoke such a clause should be aware that there is a temporary extension for "small entities" which has been extended to March 2021.

Z Clauses in Procurement
Members tendering for procurement projects at this time should be extra vigilant when agreeing to terms in contracts. In order to protect their interests during COVID-19, there has been an increase in what are known as "Z clauses" being added by those organisations procuring services. Some of these clauses may render the terms of the contracts unattractive in removing any rights to claim for "compensation events" for unforeseen additional costs due to COVID-19 and not recognising the pandemic as a force majeure.

Members are advised to carefully consider the contents of any of these Z clauses and attempt to negotiate more favourable terms where they are felt to create unacceptable risks for Members.
 

CIAT has produced an article on assessing risks on site and the impact on contracts which can be viewed here
 

Contractual impacts of Covid-19 flowchart from CIAT.

Planning application issues

(Updated 30 April 2020)

Following enquiries by some members experiencing difficulty in progressing planning applications, CIAT has been in contact with Planning Portal, and they have offered the following information.  We hope that this will assist: 

The majority of Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) have been able to work remotely, but there have been issues with someaccessing the Council IT network, which has taken time to implement.  There are also issues with accessing and processing paper-based correspondence and applications along with any cheque payments that have been received, as Council employees will be working remotely.

In light of this, Planning Portal has recommended that all applications, payments and correspondence are sent electronically.  Several LPAs have also lost planning staff due to their redeployment to priority front-line services to help their communities tackle COVID-19.  Planning Portal has advised that this number varies from LPA to LPA.  The Planning Advisory Services has issued a set of FAQs to LPAs about working during these times, and the link to access these FAQs is here

Despite this, LPAs are endeavouring to ensure that their services are available and decisions are made as quickly as possible.  With regards to the downturn in application submissions, another update has been published which can be found here. (Please note that this was last updated on 7 April 2020.)

 

Updates from the Built Environment
 

Site operating procedures during COVID-19

The Government has confirmed that construction sites should continue to operate during the current Coronavirus pandemic. Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, confirmed that the Site Operating Procedures published by the CLC are aligned with Public Health England (PHE) guidance that must be implemented in the workplace.

Update: Site Operating Procedures v6 has now been published and replaces Site Operating Procedures v5.
 

Updates from The Construction Leadership Council (CLC)

Use of face coverings in construction during Coronavirus (29 September 2020)
The CLC now recommends that masks are worn where workers on site are not required to wear Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) and their workplace (which may include welfare and changing facilities, office or meeting rooms) meets all of the following criteria:

  • an enclosed space;
  • where social distancing isn't always possible; and
  • where they come into contact with others they do not normally meet.

Download the guidance here.

Use of face coverings in construction during Coronavirus (14 August 2020)
In The Use of Face Coverings in Construction during Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is proposed that employers make available face coverings as a minimum where workers are not required to wear RPE for their specific task and their workplace meets all of the following criteria:

  • an enclosed space;
  • where social distancing isn't always possible; and
  • where they come into contact with others they do not normally meet.

Download the guidance here.

Construction Roadmap to Recovery (1 June 2020)
The Construction Leadership Council's Covid-19 Taskforce has laid out proposals to secure the future of construction businesses nationwide, while setting the industry on a sustainable path towards recovery. The Roadmap to Recovery can be downloaded here.

Contractual best practice guidance (7 May 2020)
Advice on contractual best practice has been produced by the CLC via its Covid-19 Industry Task Force. View it here.


Guidance for on-site construction sites

Langley, supported by the Construction Industry Council (CIC), has produced a short video that demonstrates safe and responsible guidance for workers on construction sites operating during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, to ensure the protection of the workforce and minimise the risk of the spread of infection.

 

Safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Version 3 of the BSI's 'Safe working during the COVID-19 pandemic – General guidelines for organizations' document has now been released. 

You can download hit here: 

Safe working guidelines

 

The Federation of Master Builders has issued guidance for its members on restarting building work. To view the guide visit fmb.org.uk.

 

The Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum

The CICV Forum was set up with the aim of bringing together the main construction trade and professional bodies to gather intelligence, share advice and speak directly with the Scottish Government on issues affecting members in the current crisis.

An article about the work of the Forum appears in the June/July 2020 edition of CABLEtalk, the SELECT stakeholder magazine. View it here.

The CICV Forum has developed detailed guidance on health and safety and this can be viewed here
 

Contractual issues caused by Coronavirus

The Cabinet Office has issued guidance on responsible contract behaviour. Access this here.

Guidance on contractual issues caused by coronavirus has been published by Build UK and law firm Wedlake Bell, setting out key general considerations as well as implications for JCT and NEC contracts. Read it here.

 

Information and guidance from Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

The Building Safety eBulletin will keep you up to date on the shadow Building Safety Regulator being established within HSE and the progress of the draft Building Safety Bill and Fire Safety Order consultation. Subscribe using the link here.

Review Coronavirus information provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) - click here to view it.

Regulating occupational health and safety during the coronavirus outbreak.
Guidance for employers to keep lone workers healthy and safe.
Advice for duty holders on additional precautions to help reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus when meeting legal requirements for thorough examination and testing (TE&T).
Downloadable stress talking toolkit which has ideas you can adapt to suit your current working arrangements.
Protecting homeworkers


Furlough scheme risks for directors and professionals

An article from insurance risk and commercial law firm BLM (11 June 2020) on risks for directors and professionals in relation to payments received from HMRC under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
 

Hays Thrive free online training

Hays Thrive is a free online training portal designed to help employers and their teams grow the skills they need to function effectively and evolve in the face of the Coronavirus crisis. Current courses focus on remote working, wellbeing and health and safety. New courses are added monthly. Find out more and sign up here.
 

Kickstart Scheme

The Government has launched the Kickstart Scheme.

It provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

For more information visit: www.gov.uk/government/collections/kickstart-scheme

 

Planning Market Insight Report from the Planning Portal

Planning Portal have released a report about the impact of COVID-19 on planning applications.

Read May's Insight Report here.

Read the June Insight Report here.

Read the July Insight Report here.

Read the August Insight Report here.

Read the September Insight Report here.


If you require any further information or advice please do not hesitate to contact us at info@ciat.org.uk - we will continue to do all we can to support our Members in this period.