Be alert and carry on!
— 18 May 2020
As the new Government guidelines are released to encourage contractors to restart construction works on site it is interesting to note that some sites have actually managed to safely carry on working throughout the lockdown.
One such project is Jonathan Rhind Architects’ extension and alterations to Westleigh Manor where the contractor Oakleaf Building Limited worked hard to keep the site working efficiently in spite of all the restrictions.
As the clients’ family completely vacated the site during the construction period the coronavirus safe working guidelines were easier to put in place and enforce.
On site there are numerous notices reminding workers to keep more than 2m apart, hand sanitiser stations are dotted around the site and all personnel wear masks and gloves as well as the usual construction PPE.
The other main challenge that has been overcome is maintaining supply of building materials, and Shaun Anthony, Director of Oakleaf has strived hard to make sure that this did not delay the works.
When the trussed rafter supplier rang only days before the main roof trusses were due on site to say that they were shutting down and could not deliver, it looked like the works would grind to a halt. But after a hastily convened video conference, Julian Clayton, Shaun Anthony and Paul Carpenter of PCA Consulting, the Structural Engineer, were able to redesign the roof structure with diaphragm supporting walls and purlins, the materials for which could be sourced from standard stock at builders merchants. Within three days the construction of the roof structure was able to start as planned.
Julian Clayton is under no illusion that all supply chain issues can be this easily solved but he commented that the experience of working through the restrictions ‘has made me realise the importance and value of teamwork and collaborative working on construction projects.’
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