COVID-19: Information and Resources Centre - all RIAI information, tips and links in one place

COVID-19: Information and Resources Centre - all RIAI information, tips and links in one place

Message from the RIAI President, Ciarán O'Connor, 15 May 2020

RIAI Members and the Impact of COVID-19

Dear Members,

The road to recovery starts on Monday with sites reopening. To support members in their business continuation, the RIAI has published proposals for the reopening of offices. RIAI Proposals for the Reopening of Offices is intended to assist organisations (of varied sizes) with a toolkit, having reference to current information which broadly covers a range of planning considerations for your return to office within the COVID-19 context.
The key to a safe and continued return to work requires clear, open communication and a collaborative approach between both the employer and employee. Information about COVID-19 is evolving, and public health advice is updated on an ongoing, regular basis. It is important for employers and employees to recognise that flexibility and awareness is required from employers and employees in adhering to the latest health advice in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
This document, while not exhaustive covers: responsibility of employer and employee; setting up office for safe return; risk assessment; employee well-being; communications and GDPR. Please note that there may be future changes in legislation and advice after the date of publication of this document. Members need to update themselves in this regard.
The next weeks and months ahead are crucial. We need an extension of the Government's wage subsidy scheme. This is not an insignificant ask. A three-month extension to the middle of October will cost €3.5 billion. A National Recovery Plan is in consideration.  It would supplement the 2017 to 2027 National Development Plan of €116 billion and would need an extra €25 billion of funding now to be of immediate benefit. This is also a very significant ask, when you consider that total Government spending this year is in the region of €70 billion, but without it there will be serious consequences. These are financial and political consequences for which we need a new government who must set themselves a 100-day action plan, based on effectively deploying the extra borrowings.
Sites are reopening on Monday and we must have effective coordination and collaboration to ensure both site and our own staff safety. The site is the responsibility of the contractor. This is a time of worry and financial pressure, a time of flux and uncertainty. We need to collaborate more, be focused and above all create clarity. We need to leverage our unique strengths and deploy them creatively for the benefit of ourselves and society. 
We need to do our job well this coming week but above all do good. It will take courage, in the true and original sense, of that word. The word 'courage' comes from 'cor' in Latin meaning heart. As a society we have responded positively and with heart to COVID-19. Now we have to respond positively again and show courage to rebuild our economy, to support each other and rebuild a sustainable future for architecture and our fellow citizens. That recovery journey begins on Monday. 

Ciaran O'Connor FRIAI 
RIAI President