The coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of business beyond recognition. From small to large scale businesses, many have seen significant losses. As giants of businesses have fallen, it’s hard to imagine a future for smaller businesses.
But the future for construction is even more unique. Unlike high street retail and office blocks, there is a possibility for the construction industry to return to work with a semblance of normality. In the UK, construction is one of the few industries allowed to continue working through the national lockdown.
In a survey proposed by Construction Online, the general feeling of construction companies and their workers suggests a trend of hope. Though 62% of companies had to close over the first lockdown, only 38% expected to have financial difficulties.
But the telling figure is that 87% of respondents agree: COVID-19 has affected their business.
With extra costs regarding health and safety and the impending fear of shutdown at any point, growing a construction business may not be at the front of anyone’s mind right now.
But maybe it should be.
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The construction industry is set to see a growth in output because of the pandemic. With requirements for social distancing, extensions to buildings need to be made. A survey by the Construction Index saw a rise in housing construction immediately following lockdown restrictions lifting in July.
With tighter restrictions and a potential smaller workforce, how can construction businesses face the pandemic and still stay strong? Is there a chance for growth?
- Preparing For Site Shutdowns
With such uncertainty, it is important to make plans for a scenario in which, once again, your business must be shut down.
The better you prepare, the less of an impact it should have.
Plans to secure equipment and materials is key to the return back to work can be as smooth as possible. Making sure the sites midway through completion are safe and secure is essential. Losing work to break-ins or weather damage will only set you back when you eventually return. It can be smart to take photographs or log where all of your materials are, so you know what you’ve lost, should the worst happen.
Similarly, it is important to have plans for any necessary checks during a locked-down period. The sites will likely need maintenance, so booking in a regular check is a smart way to anticipate any issues that may arise over a stagnant period.
To help make these checks as efficient as possible, plan the specific tasks these workers must perform; run risk assessments regarding COVID-19 restrictions.
If security is likely to become a large problem for your sites, it could be a good idea to install cameras around the site. This will give you the quickest response time to any issues that may arise.
It is impossible to prepare for everything, but the more plans you have in place for the worst-case scenario – complete shutdown – the more likely your business will be able to keep afloat within the pandemic.
- Socially Distance on Site
When a new construction site is ready to begin breaking ground, or resume, socially distancing is of the utmost importance. Per the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, construction site workers should maintain a comfortable distance from each other. By socially distancing on-site, workers prevent the spread of COVID-19 and essentially lower the risk of another shutdown.
To socially distance in a high-contact work environment, construction site managers should begin by staggering the breaks of their workers. Staggering work times includes the start and beginning work times to limit the number of people on-site at one time.
Construction site supervisors need to be mindful of how people are moving around the site, if certain exit and entrance paths are used frequently, and correct higher quantities of people in a space at the same time. Use socially distancing markers to continuously remind workers of these measures and, as a site supervisor, set an example by following the guidelines at all times.