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Construction industry praised for its resilience

6th October 2020
Brick repairs and tinting

We were pleased to read a recent piece in Construction News which reported that amid the various accounts of redundancies and unemployment at an all-time low, construction firms have successfully navigated the events of the past six months with some fantastic success stories to tell.

Nobody was fully prepared for the coronavirus pandemic, but as the government launched its sudden lockdown in March, many construction firms were better equipped to cope than others because of the various digital technologies and processes that were already in place helped them to communicate and collaborate.

During the lockdown, the message to the construction industry was very much to carry on.  The industry was seen as key to keeping the economy moving, despite considerable misunderstanding and in some cases hostility.

Digital tools helped with communication and team cohesion in the early stages. As sites reopened or readjusted to social distancing and new ways of working, digital technology helped to reduce the need for physical movement of people not just on and off-site but within the project itself.

Construction industry research report reveals that individual and team effectiveness and productivity has increased during the pandemic

This resilience has been further emphasised by a new report carried out by Loughborough University. The independent COVID-19 and construction: Early lessons for a new normal? report, was commissioned by a number of leading contractors including; Balfour BeattyGKR ScaffoldingKierMaceMorgan Sindall, and Skanska.

The research revealed that despite overall site productivity being harmfully impacted due to closures and social distancing requirements, individual and team effectiveness and productivity increased.

This is due, they say, to better and more detailed task planning, reduced waiting time between tasks, increased space and therefore less “overlap” of trades, a boost in the use of technological solutions, more responsibility for individuals, and fewer meetings.

This is something that we have very much observed at Plastic Surgeon. Our Construction team has continued to work for many of the country’s leading contractors throughout the pandemic.
Mike Aitken, Sales Director at Plastic Surgeon commented:

We have been incredibly impressed with the way the industry has continued to adapt and innovate over the past six months, to ensure that projects can continue.

We have experienced some of the busiest months in our history, but our work has altered to adapt to the changing environment.

With materials in short supply, contractors have used our expert skills in many different ways. For example, when working on the recently completed NHS Clatterbridge project, IPS panels became hard to obtain due to restrictions abroad. This meant the contractor, Laing O’Rourke, had to use what was available to them – a mixture of coloured panels! We used our colour match capabilities to ensure that panels in various areas around the hospital matched and left a perfect finish.

Social distancing was a concern when the pandemic first hit, with various trades on site during a construction project and we were unsure how this would work effectively. However, the panning of workflows and creation of work bubbles has ensured that our work has not been comprised.

We continue to work with these restrictions in place, but are confident that the industry will remain resilient, with new projects continuing to start we are very hopeful about the future.”

Mike Aitken is Sales Director at Plastic Surgeon, the UK’s largest surface repair specialist. Founded in 1995, Plastic Surgeon deliver specialist repair services to the UK’s largest construction firms, house builders, insurers and homeowners nationwide.

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