British Association of Landscape Industries Comment, BALI Review, Spatial Design News

British Association of Landscape Industries

26 Mar 2020

BALI COVID-19 Statement

BALI Updated Position Statement on COVID-19 (coronavirus)

BALI Position Statement – COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Wayne Grills, BALI Chief Executive

26th of March 2020 – Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on the evening of Monday 23 March that saw the country effectively enter ‘lockdown’, the team at the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) has been working tirelessly to obtain clarification from the Government as to what this means in practice for our site-based members in particular, many of whom are looking for reassurances with regards to their careers and income.

It is an unprecedented time for us all and firstly I want to reaffirm the message that our members’ health, that of their families and also those they come into contact with, comes first. Our request on Tuesday 24 March was for members to cease operations temporarily, stay home, stay safe and save lives. This was for a period of 48 hours.

We would like to thank those members who took that request onboard, but at the same time recognise those who have had no choice but to continue working. During that time, we have continually requested clarification from MPs in both Westminster and in Scotland; 48 hours on, we are disappointed to have to report that we have received no reply. Therefore, our request was and remains that members close their businesses wherever possible to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

Waterbeach New Town East masterplan Cambridge by LDA Design:
Waterbeach New Town East masterplan Cambridge by LDA Design
image courtesy of architectural office

This will go some way to help front line public services cope with the pandemic, including the NHS and police force, and protect our most vulnerable. This is absolutely critical, and the message could not be clearer; stay home, save lives. Ahead of this statement, the team and I have been working incredibly hard on developing several resources for BALI members to make use of if you do choose to close. These are listed at the end of this statement, including legal advice on furlough workers, with links to the relevant documents.

Government guidelines clearly state, however, that if you cannot work from home, you can go to work. If you are a business you may decide, or have already decided, to continue operating. If this is the case, BALI strongly advises you follow and adhere to the most recent Public Health England (PHE) advice regarding preventative and protective measures. If you have chosen to continue working, and can meet the necessary required PHE standards, the team at BALI have produced a document that is available for members now, called ‘Landscaping protective measures’, as well as a free RAMS template. This can be accessed via a link at the end of this statement.

I want to be absolutely clear here, BALI is not a regulatory or governing body and we cannot therefore dictate that you close your business down, but we are asking you to take a serious look at what part you are playing in either helping to contain this pandemic or whether you are taking unnecessary risks with your workforce and their families’ livelihoods, and possibly lives. Employers have a statutory duty of care for people’s health and safety, to provide a safe place to work, and this responsibility needs to be taken very seriously. There is also a moral responsibility to ensure employees feel safe and secure.

Many of our members have chosen to cease activity but are obviously extremely worried about what the implications of that decision will be for them, their businesses, staff and their families. We understand, and so do our membership benefit providers who are on-hand and ready to offer you support right now. On our website, we have a dedicated COVID-19 page containing essential information to help members throughout this crisis. This added service is on top of the provisions BALI members already have access to as part of their membership. I would encourage you to head straight to the website and familiarise yourself with everything that’s on there. There’s information about our HR helpline, legal assistance and a number of practical COVID-19 guidance documents and templates, as well as useful links to other supportive services.

Perennial is one such organisation that is offering a much-needed lifeline during this difficult time. The charity is ready to help with any difficulties you may be facing, whether they be financial or otherwise. Make sure you contact them if you’re struggling. We’ve also just launched several new webinars covering digital marketing, to support businesses online whilst going to site may be difficult, or impossible. These webinars are exclusive to BALI members and are free of charge. We will also shortly be announcing several member clinics, also based online, that cover legal, HR, compliance and insurance. Details will be sent to all members very soon.

In the meantime, I will continue to press my contacts in Government for a much-needed response to our questions in the hope that we receive some clarity. If we do receive an update, the team will disseminate the information to all members immediately.

Please stay safe, protect yourself and others and together we will play our part in fighting this pandemic by supporting those services that need us now, more than ever.

Liveable Exeter, Southwest England, UK, landscape by LDA Design:
Liveable Exeter new Devon homes
image courtesy of architectural office

The following documents are available for BALI members only and can be found on the BALI COVID-19 portal here.

  • Landscaping Protective Measures for COVID-19
  • BALI RAMS-051 Rev O Coronavirus
  • Furlough Employers to Employee Letter – BALI Template
  • BALI Furloughed Worker Guidance

Useful links:

25 Mar 2020

British Association of Landscape Industries News

BALI Position Statement – COVID-19 (coronavirus)

UK, 24th March 2020 – The British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) continues to provide frontline support to its members around the United Kingdom by delivering on its four-point battleplan strategy, which was launched last Friday. Following the latest guidelines issued on Monday, like many landscape professionals working in our sector, BALI has been seeking clarification and additional guidance from the Government for those working in the landscaping sector.

BALI wants answers to the crucial question many landscape professionals have been asking; can I still go to work?

In light of the lack of a response from the Government, BALI is taking the necessary measures to protect its members’ staff and their clients by recommending all BALI member businesses temporarily cease trading for a period of 48 hours, essentially, imploring members not to go out to work. This does not apply to those deemed as essential landscaping services, including waste collection, highways, byways and rail line maintenance, along with custodians of the cemetery (i.e. grave digging and burial services).

For those businesses that fall into one of the above categories, BALI expects these services to continue operating, but, reinforces both the Government’s and Public Health England’s advice, that all individuals sent out to carry out landscaping works should ensure an appropriate level of social distancing, a minimum of 2m apart at all times, and, stagger break times to avoid unnecessary interaction, cleaning down multi-use machinery prior to use and must wash their hands regularly with soap and hot water.

Filton Airfield Masterplan landscape design by British landscape architects Grant Associates:
Filton Airfield Masterplan Gloucestershire
image courtesy of landscape architects

Members are advised not to share vehicles, and, when working on site, to ensure the activity in question does not break these strictest of guidelines. BALI has anticipated that these businesses will have already been informed by various agencies to continue carrying out essential works. If any employee falls ill and develops a high temperature or new continuous cough, they are to return home immediately and self-isolate for 7 days with no social contact other than with those in the same household. The household will then have to self-isolate for 14 days.

This was not an easy decision for BALI to make, but following several internal management meetings throughout the day, it has been decided that this course of action is absolutely necessary to protect our NHS, our most vulnerable and our key workers. It is also a move that will help further reduce the number of people going to work and go some way to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Ravelin Park, University of Portsmouth sports centre & public realm, UK, landscape by LDA Design:
Ravelin Park University of Portsmouth landscape design public realm
image courtesy of LDA Design

The reason BALI has decided to advise a 48-hour shutdown is to allow the association more time to press the Government for answers on several critically important questions we have posed to them today after speaking to members and listening to their experiences. It is BALI’s hope that within that timeframe, the Government will respond to these questions and BALI will be able to provide a further update to all members affected as to what to do next.

Two critical questions BALI is seeking clarity on surrounds force majeure; if a BALI member decides to close and temporarily cease trading, will they still be eligible to apply for a Government grant, and also, a support package for the self-employed. The Government is expected to make an announcement on the latter towards the end of this week.

La Fundació Joan Miró landscape in Barcelona:
La Fundació Joan Miró landscape
photo © Architect Adrian Welch

Commenting on the guidance issued, BALI Chief Executive Wayne Grills said:
“We are in the most exceptional of circumstances and doing our utmost to keep the landscaping sector operational where essential landscaping works are required. Today, we have outlined measures that hopefully provides some guidance for members who are facing uncertainty day-by-day. For those businesses who employ staff to carry out essential landscaping works, I say this; you have a duty of care for those in your employment and minimising the spread of infection by implementing a range of practical safety methods and procedures.

Martineau Galleries Development, Birmingham, design: Glenn Howells Architects ; Landscape Architects: Grant Associates:
Martineau Galleries Birmingham development
image courtesy of architects

It is also vital that the health and safety requirements of any landscaping activity must not be compromised at this time. If an activity cannot be undertaken safely due to a lack of suitably qualified personnel being available, or social distancing being implemented, it should not take place. We are aware that emergency services are also under great pressure and may not be in a position to respond as quickly as usual. Likewise, we too have a responsibility to you, our member, to help save lives and protect our most vulnerable. We hope today’s announcement goes some way towards supporting that cause.”

Icknield Port Loop, Birmingham, design: Glenn Howells Architects / Maccreanor Lavington Architects / ShedKM / Grant Associates:
Icknield Port Loop Birmingham landscape design
image courtesy of Grant Associates

BALI will continue to do everything in its power to get the answers our members rightly deserve. Many businesses and individuals are facing an uncertain future, which BALI hopes will be short term.

For our members, the message is clear: stay at home and avoid all social interaction. For those already remote working, BALI is preparing to launch several new online webinar courses that it has subsidised, exclusively for members, to allow you to attend free of charge. This has been designed to help get your business through the COVID-19 outbreak. These will be listed on our online events calendar over the next few days, weeks and months. This is on top of BALI’s commitment to delivering a series of online-based support clinics for members to discuss health and safety, human resource, insurance, legal and technical issues.

Finally, BALI has also added a frequently asked questions document to its COVID-19 support page on the website.
Stay safe.

Comments on this British Association of Landscape Industries COVID-19 (coronavirus) Statement are welcome.

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