As with all businesses, Covid-19 has forced the construction sector to adapt rapidly to a new or different way of doing work. Most industries, including the construction industry, had to quickly support a remote working system, embrace a more digital based setup, and to take measures to revise their supply chain management processes. The recently announced Covid-19 tier 3 alert level system in the UK, will place the country in different categories depending on the rates of infection, with the highest levels facing the toughest restrictions. What does this mean for industries that cannot do their work remotely?
What does this mean for the construction industry?
These restrictions luckily do allow non-essential construction work to continue, as long as all parties involved adhere to the new health and safety rules in place. As a tradesperson you are allowed to carry out work in people’s homes as long as you or anyone in your immediate household has no virus symptoms. You are not permitted to work in homes that are self-isolating. Further, both parties are required to maintain the required 2 metre distance at all times. The 2-metre distance rule also applies to those working on large scale construction sites.
What about work in high or very high alert areas?
So far, the government has said it will allow tradespeople to continue working even in tier 2 and tier 3 areas as long as homeowners and contractors strictly adhere to the stipulated guidelines. The six-person rule applies to indoor gatherings of family and friends, but tradespeople can work irrespective of the coronavirus alert level of the area. Regulations can change from area to area so make sure you are clear on the regulations of the location you are working in.
It is of course imperative that both parties act responsibly and ensure that work stops immediately, if anyone starts to show any virus symptoms. By being careful and following guidelines, we can all work towards slowing down the spread of this virus, that is crippling economies.
What measures can you take when accepting a job?
If you an independent contractor or temp worker, cut down all unnecessary face-to-face contact whenever possible. Conduct all pre-meetings online and ask the home owners to send you as much details as possible regarding the build. Once hired use designated online platforms to keep in touch with the homeowners and keep abreast of the ongoing situation and of any highly vulnerable groups that may be in the household. If there are, further safety measures will have to be taken.
- Pictures and videos
Get pictures and videos of the build area and the accurate measurement and dimensions and requirements, so that you have a very cleared idea about the work involved and can make an informed decision. This will help you provide them with an accurate work timeline and quote. However, always be aware that work can come to a halt at any time, so unlike previously, you will have to take that into consideration when providing a timeframe.
- Ventilated space and your own gear
Check with the homeowners if it is possible to have the work area cleared completely and well ventilated. Carry your own sanitiser, gloves, shields, masks and anti-bac wipes and ask for a designated washing area so that you can wash your hands easily whenever you want.
- Biodegradable disposable utensils
Carry garbage bags with you so that you can dispose of your rubbish conveniently and either have your own utensils or use easily disposable degradable plates and cups for the duration of your work.
Construction companies looking for workers too have proper guidelines and procedures in place and utilise a proper vetting system to ensure that all workers are well and fit to work.
What resources are available to tradespeople?
Use an online designated platform such as the Openforce platform and app, to be in the loop regarding government regulations, safety procedures, for communication and for protected payment. This acts as your central point where you can have all your records in place for easy management, information and payments. For added convenience you can download the mobile-friendly portal for practically instant news regarding jobs, current situation, vetting processes and such. You can also sign up for a newsletter or to receive text updates that will let you know of any government regulation changes so that you can take immediate action and adjust your work plan accordingly.
Get in touch with us if you are independent contractor and are not sure how to continue work during these times. It costs you nothing to be part of our community that will help you stay in the loop and stay informed. And these days, being informed is everything when it comes to staying safe and healthy while continuing to earn a living, during this current ongoing global pandemic.