This term is defined at section 2 of the Construction Contracts Act 2004 as follows:
(1) In this Act “construction operations” means, subject as follows, operations of any of the following descriptions —
(a) construction, alteration, repair, maintenance, extension, demolition or dismantling of buildings, or structures forming, or to form, part of the land (whether permanent or not)
(b) construction, alteration, repair, maintenance, extension, demolition or dismantling of any works forming, or to form, part of the land, including (without prejudice to the foregoing) walls, roadworks, power-lines, telecommunication apparatus, aircraft runways, docks and harbours, railways, inland waterways, pipe-lines, reservoirs, water-mains, wells, sewers, industrial plant and installations for purposes of land drainage, coast protection or defence
(c) installation in any building or structure of fittings forming part of the land, including (without prejudice to the foregoing) systems of heating, lighting, air-conditioning, ventilation, power supply, drainage, sanitation, water supply or fire protection, or security or communications systems
(d) external or internal cleaning of buildings and structures, so far as carried out in the course of their construction, alteration, repair, extension or restoration
(e) operations which form an integral part of, or are preparatory to, or are for rendering complete, such operations as are previously described in this subsection, including site clearance, earth-moving, excavation, tunnelling and boring, laying of foundations, erection, maintenance or dismantling of scaffolding, site restoration, landscaping and the provision of roadways and other access works
(f) painting or decorating the internal or external surfaces of any building or structure.
(2) The following operations are not construction operations within the meaning of this Act —
(a) drilling for, or extraction of, oil or natural gas
(b) extraction (whether by underground or surface working) of minerals; tunnelling or boring, or construction of underground works, for this purpose
(c) assembly, installation or demolition of plant or machinery, or erection or demolition of steelwork for the purposes of supporting or providing access to plant or machinery, on a site where the primary activity is —
(i) nuclear processing, power generation, or water or effluent treatment
(ii) the production, transmission, processing or bulk storage (other than warehousing) of chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil, gas, steel or food and drink.
(d) manufacture or delivery to site of —
(i) building or engineering components or equipment
(ii) materials, plant or machinery
(iii) components for systems of heating, lighting, air-conditioning, ventilation, power supply, drainage, sanitation, water supply or fire protection, or for security or communications systems
except under a contract which also provides for their installation.
(e) the making, installation and repair of artistic works, being sculptures, murals and other works which are wholly artistic in nature.