Building back to the new normal

15 September 2020 / 12:08

Welcome to the second in our recently-released longer read articles, focusing on all-things construction and life here at Feasibility Limited.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how COVID-19 has affected the industry, how some of the big property brands have responded to the crisis and how we as a smaller business have managed operations throughout the pandemic – with a look at how we’re getting back to the office and business as usual in the new-normal.

When the UK went into lockdown in March, it’s safe to say there were rather mixed messages initially coming from the Government regarding the construction industry, but growing fears about the spread of the virus meant many firms had to take a decision for themselves, shutting down sites and potentially furloughing staff or carrying on as safely as possible.

Indeed, we’re proud to have witnessed the industry show its most positive side at this critical moment, with vital works being completed, the Nightingale hospitals being built at record pace and PPE being organised for key workers during the nation’s time of need.

A survey by Constructionline found that over 60% of respondents had seen operations being suspended as a result of COVID-19, but as the dust settled on those sites, many developers and contractors had organised their operating procedures and were able to push on, delivering schemes safely and retaining jobs right throughout the supply chain.

As a construction consultancy providing Quantity Surveying, Procurement and Project Management services, we were also able to put measures in place, arranging effective remote working to continue supporting our clients.

This ultimately meant that we did not have to furlough any of our team, something we are extremely proud of to this day.

Furlough, however, is nothing to be negative about. We were and still are facing a global crisis unprecedented in the modern era. In the UK, the Furlough scheme has been critical in supporting roughly 50% of businesses in the industry, keeping willing workers able to support their families.

The other side of Furlough is something our Director, Dan Holford, recently pointed out in his LinkedIn posts, regarding reports of the scheme being abused and the unease at seeing large highly-profitable property companies using it when, financially speaking, they did not need to.

The response to these posts was a sign that the frustrations were shared throughout the industry, but it’s been extremely reassuring to see the likes of Taylor Wimpey and Barrett Homes committing to pay back the monies they received from the Government.

This is the example that all ‘well performing’ businesses should be setting.

It was great to see so many comments across the entire spectrum. Again, at all levels, we’re truly inspired by the industry’s response to this pandemic.

But we’re not out of the woods yet. As many companies return to work, and new systems are put in place to provide the flexibility that employees need, the future remains unclear. We are heading in the right direction though.

For us, the last few weeks have seen us return to the office following extensive Covid-19 risk assessments. With the relevant PPE now in place including screens, hand sanitisers and signage, we are confident that we have all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of our staff and continuity of business for our clients, something that we’ve never sacrificed.

We’re proud of the way our team has continued to work and we look forward to seeing a return to the new-normal, with safety and teamwork at the very forefront of everything we do in this fantastic industry we all love so much.