The year 2020 has seen significant disruptions to how many operate around the globe – from when we’re allowed to leave our homes to the way major projects across a variety of industries are executed. Amongst these, the world of construction has experienced major disruptions, with lockdown and social distancing measures causing issues for an array of different building projects.
To say the least, it has been a particularly frustrating and unnerving time for those in construction. However, whilst COVID-19 has certainly been a major cause for concern, it is by no means the end for building development in 2020.
As people begin to reflect on their time in lockdown, and the global pandemic as a whole, a question bound to cross the minds of many in construction is what measures have been put in place to support the industry through this turbulent time?
Responding to the Crisis
One of the key ways of responding to the crisis that can be seen across all different types of industries is stringent hygiene practices to help slow the spread of the virus. This has included social distancing measures, making face masks mandatory in certain areas, as well as encouraging frequent use of hand sanitizer.
The response from the construction industry is no different to this, industry bodies such as Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association having started to offer support to those who have been affected, whilst also implementing health and safety measures that are vital during the current global health crisis – splitting up teams, having meetings online where possible and providing extensive on-site hygiene facilities.
Chris Griggs, Director of Griggs Homes commented in light of the situation: “Our site teams have shown the upmost professionalism throughout these challenging times. All of our staff, suppliers and sub-contractors have been extremely careful to ensure they are following the latest government guidelines.”
“We will continue to place a strong emphasis on safety as we adjust to a new ‘normal’ and a new way of working. We are making fantastic progress across all of our bespoke client projects and our development sites.”
Looking to the Future
Looking out to the future of construction, particularly in the UK, plans are being developed to not only help push for more construction projects, but furthermore to increase the amount of council, social and other affordable types of housing – something that Sadiq Khan himself claims are “so desperately” needed, particularly throughout London.
The recently published report of the COVID-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce states:
“London went into lockdown with a strong record on building social and genuinely affordable homes. Last year, more than 17,000 new genuinely affordable homes were started with support from the Mayor of London, more than at any time since records began in 2003, and more than 3,300 new council homes, the most in any year since 1985.”
“We cannot be complacent. It is vital that we maintain this momentum, and work in partnership with all involved so that we can continue to tackle the underlying socioeconomic problems exposed by the pandemic. The housing market we had before did not work for most Londoners, and Covid-19 presents an opportunity to rebuild a model which works better for all. To coordinate our efforts in London, I brought together representatives from the capital’s councils, housing associations, the development and construction industries, and unions, to form a Covid-19 Housing Delivery Taskforce.”