December 11, 2023

One year on from Covid-19: how construction companies have been surviving the pandemic

With the roadmap to recovery having now been announced and with light hopefully at the end of the tunnel, we’ve been catching up with a number of businesses within the construction sector to see what measures they’ve introduced over the past 12 months in response to the pandemic.

Peter Jackson, Managing Director – Jacksons Fencing

“Naturally we have seen the same changes that many companies have over the past year. Our office staff transitioned to working from home, and we spaced any remaining staff required to be in the office across the building to keep a safe distance. We implemented strict hygiene practices and moved all meetings online. We haven’t had to halt production, but we increased manufacturing space to ensure everyone is safely distanced.”

Ben Hancock, Managing Director – Oscar Acoustics

“As acoustic experts we are well aware of the pressures that employees are currently facing and have made considerable efforts to ensure employee wellbeing is a top priority. As part of this, we’re offering workers up to six free counselling sessions per year, to help deal with any financial or mental health issues they may be experiencing, as well as an open-door policy should anyone need to discuss personal problems with management.”

Adrian Attwood, Executive Director – DBR (London) Limited

“We initially implemented furlough, but have been operating at near full capacity since June. Thankfully we had very few Covid incidences within our business due to strict health and safety procedures, flexibility in home working and social distancing protocols.

“This recent wave of a more virulent Covid strain has been challenging, however we remain positive about the outlook for the construction industry. The key objective now is to save lives and support the NHS.”

Richard Waterhouse, Chief Strategy Officer – NBS

“Bricks and mortar-based businesses have struggled, whereas cloud-based enterprises have thrived. As a digital company, we were able to switch seamlessly to remote working with hundreds of our colleagues, supporting our customers and developing our products. While we miss the physical contact, our customer engagement and financial performance has improved. Remote working will be a part of how we will operate in the future.”

Ibrahim Imam, Co-Founder & Co-CEO – PlanRadar

“The Covid-19 crisis has revealed how vital digital tools can be in extraordinary situations. Now more than ever, the construction and real estate industry relies on technology to connect people. Despite a challenging market environment, we’ve seen growth both in customer engagement and our revenue as more firms seek digital solutions. In 2021, our goal is to keep growing across our regions and to continue development on new product features.”

Rachel Davis, Director – Perega

“We’ve noticed certain sectors of the market expanding, and others contracting. Certainly, the commercial sector has slowed as people abandon city centre offices for home working. However, we don’t feel this is a terminal situation and a rebound is already on the horizon, though the future landscape may look very different.

“One area we’ve seen grow significantly is healthcare work, the pandemic has thrown light onto the capacity, and capabilities, of our healthcare system. Changing demand is encouraging greater funding for new and enhanced facilities. We’ve definitely seen a spike in tenders over the last 12 months, which we feel is sure to rise throughout 2022.”

PJ Farr, Managing Director – UK Connect

“We take pride in our ‘people-first policy’. One of our first initiatives was to launch an Employee Assistance Programme to offer round the clock counselling and advice on a confidential basis. Over and above that, we gave staff the ability to choose their working hours so that employees can manage their childcare and home-schooling more easily without the pressure of set time frames.

“We also wanted staff to know that we really do care about their wellbeing so gave them the option to spend points on ‘personal luxury items’ throughout lockdown such as Amazon vouchers or flower and book subscriptions to help boost company morale.”