Loughborough University gives green light for the industry’s COVID-19 response
27 August 2020
Balfour Beatty, GKR Scaffolding, Kier, Mace, Morgan Sindall, and Skanska today publish a new COVID-19 industry research report, conducted by Loughborough University: “COVID-19 and construction: Early lessons for a new normal?”.
The independent report, based on research conducted by Loughborough University experts into six UK major construction schemes, explores the industry’s health and safety response to the COVID-19 pandemic and potential medium to long-term benefits arising from extending and embedding these new working practices.
The report demonstrates how the changes made during the pandemic reflect a phenomenal effort by site staff, frontline workers and occupational health and safety professionals to adapt safely and efficiently to the rapidly evolving situation.
The research identified that, despite overall site productivity being negatively impacted due to social distancing requirements, individual and team effectiveness and productivity had increased for a number of reasons including 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 less meetings.
The research also explored the effects of working from home and found that, notwithstanding the cost, flexibility and productivity benefits, making this a permanent solution could have a negative impact on employees with a rise in social isolation and uncertainty of expectations.
Whilst new approaches have been adopted in response to COVID-19, the report presents several recommendations that should be taken before these approaches can become truly embedded into the industry’s ways of working. In doing so, the industry can make substantial, lasting and transformative changes to working practices, productivity and efficiency.
Russell Adfield, The Health and Safety Executive’s Head of Construction Sector and Policy, said: “This industry-led report highlights the significance of having Construction, Design and Management regulations (CDM 2015) – to ensure effective communication, co-operation and co-ordination of workplace practices to both protect workers from risk and allow projects to advance, even in the most difficult of times.
“Involving workers and the supply chain in planning and designing the work is an essential component in developing trust and achieving positive behaviour which will ensure the industry continues to play a critical role in stimulating the economy as we respond to COVID-19.
“With health, safety and wellbeing at the heart of what all companies do, it is clear that the learnings from COVID-19 should extend beyond the lockdown period and shape the whole industry for the better.”
To read the report in full, please click here.
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Notes to editors:
About Balfour Beatty:
- Balfour Beatty (balfourbeatty.com) is a leading international infrastructure group. With 26,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
About GKR Scaffolding:
- GKR Scaffolding Limited (gkrscaffolding.co.uk) is an award winning scaffolding and access specialist. We pride ourselves not only on our reputation for reliability & commitment and our ability to deliver complex and diverse projects, but also on our most fundamental business principles - collaboration and innovation.
- Kier (kier.co.uk) is a leading provider of construction and infrastructure services.
- Mace (mace.com) is an international consultancy and construction company, founded and built on exceptional people, a commitment to service excellence and an entrepreneurial spirit.
About Morgan Sindall
- Morgan Sindall Group (morgansindall.com) is a leading UK Construction & Regeneration group employing around 6,700 employees and operating in the public, regulated and private sectors. It reports through six divisions of Construction & Infrastructure, Fit Out, Property Services, Partnership Housing, Urban Regeneration and Investments.
- Skanska’s (skanska.co.uk) £1.9 Billion UK operation is one of the country’s top construction and development companies. It is an inclusive and responsible business that is helping to build for a better society. Known for working on major projects, such as the Gherkin, the M25 and Crossrail, we are building, upgrading and maintaining the country’s infrastructure for future generations. Skanska is listed on the Stockholm stock exchange and headquartered in Sweden’s capital city.