Workspace Weekly Update
As we enter into the 4th week of the UK being in lockdown, we reflect on how the construction industry has adapted to the governments restrictions to keep their staff safe and their focus and determination to continue to service their clients through these uncertain times.
We are all aware of the current difficulties that affect us each and every day and the resultant uncertainty with regards to the future, but we are determined to service our clients as best we can whilst also protecting the safety of our staff. Of course, there are challenges, but we as an industry are determined to find solutions to work around them and every day, we are proud to see the solidarity of all those involved in the Construction industry, to overcome the challenges.
The Governments advice is that construction must keep going as it is a cornerstone of the economy and the vital work it is performing now, and in the future, will be crucial to the economy’s recovery.
Their guidelines for sites that remain open and operational have put in place safety measures to safeguard operatives with strict site operating procedures to protect everyone on site. We’ve seen many companies are going beyond these and actively implementing other measures to safeguard site workers, including staggered working hours, break times and adjusting methods of working to suit the guidelines.
How long will this phase last?
How long will the phase last before we start to see a sense of normality and restrictions lifted to enable the industry to get back to full speed? This is the question keeping many business owners and contractors awake at night.
With almost two thirds of work stopped in the UK, contractors and many companies across the country are saying they face difficult decisions in the next few months due to cash flow as many are surviving off reserves and final payments for work completed in January – February. Many have furloughed staff on inactive projects to ease the strain and those left holding the forts are finding new innovative and proactive ways to embrace the virtual working practices to maximise on business opportunities.
There is a lot of goodwill for the government’s efforts on the financial support front even though frustrations are there around access to funds, be it SME with million-pound turnovers to billion-pound turnover blue-chips. However, many recognise this is an extreme situation, unprecedented in modern times and there is hope the system will evolve quickly and cash will begin to flow.
There are concerns about the management of payments in the supply chain with contractors and clients delaying payments to suppliers during the disruption caused by COVID-19. The Construction Leadership Council (CLC), has issued briefing notes to encourage the whole industry to work together to make sure cash continues to flow to all parts of the sector to maintain supply chains. Boosting cashflow is paramount right now so we don’t see the fall of many good people and lost to the Construction industry forever.
Many companies in the industry are doing all they can to continue their construction efforts and are working with the CLC to put pressure on the Government to ensure that their Suppliers and Subcontractors are able to re-open and remain open to continue to supply the Construction industry.
Our approach and contribution right now, like many of you, is to continue to provide our clients with the high levels of service they have come to expect from us. We will all find new and innovative ways to overcome obstacles that will most likely path new and better ways of working in the future. We all need to stay connected, work closer and share best practices with our industry comrades and together we will all stand strong and see positive results for our industry in the coming weeks ahead.