Construction in the age of virus: Tell us your stories

The coronavirus pandemic presents unprecedented challenges for construction, but companies are adapting.

They have to, because even in places experiencing shutdowns, essential construction, such as on critical infrastructure and hospitals, must go on.

How are you managing?

In a spirit of boosting morale and sharing best practice, we invite readers to tell us their stories of how their companies are managing in the age of virus. (See below for contact details.)

We kick off with Ken Smyth FCIOB, who is president of Heritage Building & Consulting Services Inc., a construction and conservation firm based in Halifax, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia. 

Nova Scotia recently declared a state of emergency, but construction has been allowed to continue.

Ken Smyth FCIOB is president of Heritage Building & Consulting Services Inc.

His company has shifted to renovating vacant housing stock for one of Canada’s largest residential letting companies.

But, as Ken told us, work is anything but normal.

"We wait until the drivers leave before we go out"

"As a family business, we are doing our best to keep some level of normality for our teams and their families during these uncertain times," he writes today.

"Safety and the health of our teams are a priority and we are following government advice on sanitising, washing hands and social distancing.

"We limit the number of operatives to three people at any time and they must keep at least two metres away from each other. This has been a scheduling challenge, and jobs are taking a little longer.

"Before entering the property, we let each unit sit for three days at least after the tenant vacates, because we’re advised the virus can live on surfaces for up to three days.

"We then disinfect all surfaces, place wipes, soap, gloves and masks at the entrance and ensure that everyone entering the property has cleaned up, and has signed the declaration stating they don’t need to self isolate or quarantine.

"Once work starts, property doors are kept closed, with access by appointment only.

"Suppliers leave materials outside, and we wait until the drivers leave before we go out, and wipe everything down before taking it in. In some cases, we have the luxury of letting these materials sit for three to four days before using them.

"We will all get through this and it will pass. Stay safe and keep your distance!!"

Tell us your story

Thanks Ken.

Now, we’d like to hear from you.

Tell us your company’s experience in managing finances, logistics, staff, skills, suppliers, equipment, and customers.

We welcome success stories, and will empathise with the challenges and heartbreaks.

Write to me, GCR editor, at: [email protected]

Submissions will be edited for length and clarity.

Top image by Nickolay Romensky/CC BY 2.0

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in Trends