How to manage your construction sites during and after COVID-19

Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, you can still be able to manage your construction site and multiple projects even from a distance.

COVID-19 in construction

What COVID-19 means for the construction industry

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe, life is forced to take a hard pause. Restrictions on social contact, work and travel are implemented as per local and international public health recommendations. Business operations and personal lives are put on halt, while the construction industry anticipates huge losses from work restrictions, site closures and possible sick workers.

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At the same time, there are a few construction sectors, such as road, rail and school buildings that might have the opportunity to accelerate their activities as a result of the imposed traffic restrictions. So we are talking about a very fluid situation where keeping your teams connected, regardless of your projects’ type, is seen as a priority.

What you should do to effectively manage your construction sites

As it is impossible, in many cases, to completely shut down construction operations, the challenge for construction companies is to protect the health of their on-site staff while trying to keep their businesses operational amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read also: How to stay connected with your teams as Coronavirus hits construction

We have compiled a list of guidelines that could be helpful to construction companies who are affected by this situation. When you decide to keep your construction site open and continue to work on your project, it is of utmost importance that you operate responsibly. In other words:

  1. Prioritise the health and welfare of your employees by implementing high standards of hygiene. Establish best practice hygiene protocols. Also, look after everyone’s physical and mental health.
  2. Put together a core team that will keep everyone up to date and manage key issues that may arise from the impact of COVID-19. This is an ongoing crisis so new information may emerge everyday.
  3. Your project stakeholders and suppliers are also dealing with the same situation in their own personal and commercial context so arrange a business continuity plan with them. Keep them updated when crucial action is required (closing sites, etc.).
  4. Assess risks and potential impacts of COVID-19 on your current projects, review applicable contracts and perceived threats to your supply chain. Find ways to keep things running.
  5. Keep your staff up to date and promote two-way communication. Having clear channels of communication is even more vital in a crisis like this. Don’t forget to connect the information shared on these channels back to your 3-6 week planning and master plan.
  6. Keep tabs on your workers. If anyone gets sick, ensure that it is recorded and they are sent home and isolate those who got in contact directly or indirectly when symptoms develop. Record who from your staff is sick, and who is are self-isolating.
  7. Monitor work in progress and make sure that all work is still carried out in conformance with construction regulations while complying with the current health and safety recommendations.
  8. Restrict movement between sites and offices, or close project sites and/or offices when necessary.
  9. For Project Managers and Directors overseeing the project remotely, the best way to manage your project and teams is to utilise a construction management tool that would allow you to stay connected with your project team and stakeholders in real time.

Find out more: Why mobile reporting can save your projects as the Coronavirus outbreak continues

If a COVID-19 risk is identified and site closure is necessary, here is what you should do:

  1. Deep clean the key location or the entire site if necessary.
  2. Ensure that the site is safe before closure – this means that the site is not easily accessible, all hazards have been removed and protected against fire risks.

The coronavirus aftermath: how to keep your teams connected when all this is over

Experts and health ministers around the world have expressed that the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects may drag on for more than a year. They recommend to prepare for the long haul and to put sustainable systems in place to support a new way of working.

To remotely manage a project with a team that strictly adheres to the rule of social distancing, it is imperative to build the right framework for flagging critical issues instantly avoiding getting lost in a spiral of ineffective communication.

With that in mind, most European construction federations are now putting together checklists to help you adopt a consistent approach across the entire organisation when it comes to reporting progress from the site.

In an effort to help, here at LetsBuild, we have worked hard during the last days to study these official guidelines and digitise them. And we decided to make a small gift to you! We have created a dashboard that shows in real time which sites have safely reopened.

We encourage you to download our free COVID-19 checklists and dashboard today and see how you can reopen your construction sites in a fast, and more importantly, safe way!

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Topics:
Site managementTeam collaboration
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