Our response to COVID-19
We continue to work throughout Covid-19 in accordance with Government guidelines although we were met with many challenges on the way. We are adapting our work to respond to these new challenges – both new and in the longer-term – while ensuring that we continue to deliver projects safely and effectively.
The 2 metre social distancing rule
To prevent the spread of the virus, a 2 metre social distancing rule between people has been introduced.
Each segment of work activity is thoroughly planned to eliminate working within a 2m distance. Where this isn’t possible different control measures are introduced.
Where possible workers do not interact face-to- face but side-by-side or facing away from each other.
Where possible there is a provision for more ventilation in closed spaces and a more intense focus on cleaning surfaces and tools.
Reduced social contact means that site visits aren’t permitted, and this rule ultimately affects how the client, designer and contractor liaise with each other over project and planning issues.
Whenever possible we use of software applications such as Whats App or Skype to communicate as effectively as before without the need for social contact. Staggered and outdoor briefings (that allow for 2m social distancing) are also being carried out.
The supply chain
During the lockdown many suppliers were forced to shut down or reduce working output. This has meant that the supply chain has struggled to keep up with demands increasing. The lead times for simple items such as drainage pipes, manhole rings and ducting cement can be six weeks or more.
Planning techniques have enabled programmes to be developed incorporating these lead times into works. This has enabled us to specify the exact date the materials are required. This, coupled with a flexible attitude from suppliers, has helped us to ensure that projects have been delivered in a timely manner.
Of course, it goes without saying that we encourage our employees to stay home if they have any symptoms of illness.
There is no doubt that Covid-19 has changed our industry forever. As Charles Darwin famously said “It is not the strongest of species that survives nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”