During his conversations with main contractors across the UK over the past weeks and months, Vas Carp, Managing Director of LV Construction Ltd, has noticed that the impact of Covid-19 on the construction industry is showing in several different ways, as he outlines here.
Some sites were closed due to concerns for worker safety, while others slowed to a stop because material supplies were impacted, with much longer lead times and limited availability. Funding has been pulled by investors on some projects and others have been delayed until there is far more clarity around the need for the project.
We also know that many projects continued, and we have been lucky to be part of these roles, delivering groundworks and civils packages under the strict Covid-19 safe working requirements.
Now, as more sites are starting to get back up and running, and with more projects going through the bid stages, the reliance and need for high quality subcontractors to be ready and available is evident – maybe even more than in previous periods.
As subcontractors, we are perfectly placed to safely work on existing projects at this time. Subcontractors have specialist skills, so they can do a job more quickly, reducing the risk for staff to be on site any longer than they need to be. By using local and specialist labour on projects at this time you are also providing conditions for a safer environment. Less travel, less financial risk, and heightened quality of work. Ensure your subcontractor has the right level of H&S certifications and training; and actually, operates to that level. Ask for testimonials about their safe working practices from previous clients.
Simply because we are in a period of lockdown and uncertainty in the country, does not mean that the normal rules do not apply when choosing a sub-contractor to work with. Choose quality of work ahead of cost of service; ensure that you have the most skilled and experienced workforce you can at this time of rapid change. This will safeguard your project, your staff, and your clients.
Focusing on the management of your budget is as important now, as ever. As is having a long-term view. Cheaper work in the short term can mean lower standards and the requirement for remedial work in the longer term, thus creating delays and risk to staff as the country comes out of lockdown.