Working and building safely during Covid 19

Working and building safely during Covid 19

Ian Whiting is head of operations where his team are back on site refurbishing the £1.5m Student Accommodation project in Clifton, Bristol.

Following the latest Government advice, the site has been configured to operate within the Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures to ensure it remains a safe environment for people to work during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The site has come a long way since February, where more stringent Government Covid-19 control measures were introduced. Ian explains, “like other projects, we were at first worried about what would happen and how the situation and restrictions would affect the project’s progress. People’s safety is paramount in everything we do so when guidance by Construction Leadership Council (CLC) was released, our first action was to review what roles could be performed remotely, which led to our commercial and office teams relocating to their homes”.

Site lay-out

Our next focus was to review the site layout to abide by CLC’s prescribed Site Operating Procedures. We looked at where bottlenecks were likely to be, such as staircases and access routes. To combat this, we created a series of one-way systems at entrances and exits to allow site operatives to keep their distance and avoid oncoming people.

Each morning, we hold ‘toolbox talks’ with our team and supply chain partners. Used to communicate the latest guidance and working practices, these meetings are held in open areas, allowing for the maintenance of the two-metre rule. Where roles can abide by social distancing we have continued.

Social distancing measures

In other areas we have created rotas and shift patterns to prevent overcrowding during lunch breaks. Hand sanitiser is plentiful and available in the canteen area and all site entrances and exits.

If anyone shows symptoms of the Coronavirus or needs to self-isolate, they are empowered to do so, and it is critical they abide by this directive.

Site progress updates are now done online

Communication is crucial and keeping the customer abreast of progress and challenges remains a key focus. We have an internal operations COVID-19 virtual meeting every week to review overall progress, current works, any challenges the team are facing and what it means to the project.

Geographical location, travel and hotel costs are no longer an issue as we hold virtual update meetings with all our clients which is a positive step forward and we are grateful for all the support and enthusiasm in adapting to our new procedures.

The last few weeks have stretched and tested all of us in different ways and we have learned some valuable lessons over recent weeks and will carry this forward with all our clients.

Whilst the way we are working at Harris Evolution may have temporarily changed, our commitment to our customer focus remains the same.