Project Status Report
Since the COVID-19 induced lockdown began in March, many of our sites have been able to stay open, working in accordance with all the relevant guidelines and operating procedures necessary to protect our staff and workforce.
Naturally there have been many challenges endured in keeping our projects live. Aside from the strict safety measures that have been implemented, we have had numerous logistical issues such as a reduced supply chain, that has made it difficult to source materials, as well as fewer contractors on site.
Despite these challenges our project teams have worked tirelessly to keep things going and to honour our client contracts.
Hampton by Hilton – Handy Cross
Work at Handy Cross started in February so we were only a month in when lockdown started. Two of the biggest challenges we faced were accessing water (which was being delivered when required), and also getting enough fuel to run the generator – the sole source of power to the site.
A short site shutdown was necessary when one of our contractors had to pull off site due to the lockdown. A lack of labour and materials made it very challenging to continue during this period of time. We returned to site determined to carry on as best we could, at times having to source materials from up to four different suppliers to get what we needed. Challenging times indeed, but our determination and teamwork will see us through until the situation improves.
Olympian Homes – Altus House, Leeds
Safety of our teams and staff is paramount on every project and this was no different with the onset of COVID-19. During the pandemic we have managed to work to the government guidelines and adapt our programme sequence to suit. Our local workforce meant that travel and accommodation issues were overcome and regular communication with suppliers allowed us to plan output during changing circumstances.
Social distancing guidance led us to open additional welfare earlier than programmed, allowing us to provide more space for our teams on site. During the pandemic we have poured 11 additional floors and progressed with the precast Techrete cladding as well as installing the curtain walling system.
Mercedes Benz – Brentford
Works at Brentford started on site beginning of March with the programme maintained throughout lockdown. Works during this time included:
- Structural Alterations
- Civils / Drainage
While we have had to alter and review our working practices while maintaining progress of works, the piling and groundworks contractors have reacted positively to the COVID-19 working regulations and advice guidelines.
Alternative suppliers have been found while others have been closed or unable to deliver materials and design challenges have been overcome with remote daily video conferencing on construction design during lock down.
Bluewater – Project Zara, Land Securities
When the government announced lockdown we implement the required site operating procedures in accordance with the council leadership guidance notes. A bespoke methodology was also compiled by the site team and incorporated into the induction. This also formed part of a toolbox talk for all operatives on site. This document was updated weekly as numbers increased. Luckily we had a max of 40 No. operatives working over four separate levels. Given that this building is a shell and core we were in an ideal situation where no trades needed to work in close proximity of each other.
Construction manager, Glenn Woodhurst, ensured that all contractors were reassured during the daily DABS meeting with daily phasing clearly identified and marked up on an A0 GA plan noting where the trades would work on a daily basis to ensure adequate social distancing was maintained between work groups. Additional measures in place included external wash facilities, a full time cleaner employed to steam clean all contact areas on a daily basis. Additional face-masks and general PPE was acquired with sanitising points located on each floor level and 2m floor markings/signs to keep all site personnel informed of the social distancing requirements. Bluewater also installed numerous sanitising points within the service yard and have employed personnel to continually spray disinfectant on all contact areas.
It was noted by a third party that their men felt safe working on site with the comfort of it been managed well and thoroughly cleaned daily.
For the majority of lockdown the site team managed well and tracked labour/materials continually. A weekly materials tracker was sent to the client which highlighted any delays in the material procurement.
Amazingly, with all these challenges, we managed to stay on programme and are now in a position to handover on the PC date 20/07.
Olympian Homes – Coventry
The 823 bed student accommodation development has continued to be fully operational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst the challenges during this unprecedented period have been significant, great teamwork has allowed us to push forward towards completion of the project.
We have experienced suppliers closing, ceasing manufacture and a shortage of materials across the board. Through the combined efforts of the RG team and our dedicated supply chain, the project team remains focussed to deliver the building in time for the 2020 student intake.
Bricks Capital – City Airport
London City Airport continued to work throughout the pandemic and lockdown with a strong sense of community on site with those who chose to remain. Numbers dropped significantly from 150 daily to approx. half this during the immediate days of lockdown.
The site team worked fantastically well to adapt to CLC guidance and change the site conditions to suit. The most challenging aspect was providing adequate welfare with social distancing on an already logistically challenging site. Part of the ground floor area of the build was changed into two additional canteens and one additional changing room. Directional systems were implemented on site for pedestrians and additional cleaners brought in for welfare and site touch points. Hand sanitiser stations were installed and sinks at entry/exit to wash hands including a public use sink in our gantry area.
Quite uniquely to this site we could see the London Nightingale Hospital being built at extraordinary pace from the scaffold and public transport to site. We had some initiatives to show our support which acted as a distraction from all the negativity surrounding the virus. Our CM, Paul Brunt, came up with the idea of hand painting a banner that could be seen by the NHS workers from the rear entrance. We had many trades involved and stayed late on Thursdays until 8pm to undertake the Clap for the NHS, which took place from the top of the scaffold. We were lucky enough to be in the national press.
The site team has bonded throughout this period forming our own bubble of support for each other and working together to balance the pressures of the work situation and also the inevitable family issues that have arisen with childcare, concerned wives/partners and parents.
The project is delayed as expected but every effort is being made by all those involved to mitigate where possible.