Should the pandemic bring sustainable improvements to the construction sector?

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A SITE Manager at one of the UK’s most technically adept glass interior specialists is convinced that a number of positive outcomes will emerge from the construction sector’s time of trial that has been the Covid-19 pandemic.

The site manager of Indeglas Steven Dunn believes that the pandemic has created many positive habits in the workplace.

Mr Dunn said: “One-way systems on construction sites, introduced to limit the risks of Covid-19 infection have created much safer, clearer routes for loading of tools, plant and materials and must surely be here to stay.

Indeglas - Business News Scotland
Photo by Indeglas. Today, Indeglas continues to be engaged in a range of high-profile, award winning buildings throughout Scotland and beyond.

He continued: “We constantly look for ways to improve efficiencies and work safer and being able to plan access routes in the knowledge that there will be clear thoroughfares makes a massive difference.

“Previously, passageways and stairways on site could be heavily congested with operatives going in one direction manoeuvring complex equipment or heavy panels of glass confronting other trades and operatives coming in the opposite direction, usually with resulting in lost time while priorities and methodologies were revised.

“The new protocols, whilst created for an entirely different reason have clearly demonstrated how efficient and much safer one-way systems on construction sites are.”

“The improved cleanliness and hygiene procedures resulting from the need to reduce risk of infection due to Covid 19 has created much improved construction site washroom, toilet and mess facilities, a move which has been long overdue and welcomed by every single person working or visiting project locations.

Indeglas - Business News Scotland
Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash. Now, Mr Dunn has 14 operatives under his supervision, including his son, Andrew who began his joinery apprenticeship with Indeglas in 2016.

He continues: “During my career I have witnessed canteens, rest areas and toilet facilities on sites ranging from squeaky clean to squalid.

“Formerly this would have been a welfare or procedural issue but in my opinion it should always have featured as a significant health and safety issue and I really hope that following the enforced hygiene measures introduced to reduce risk that finding facilities which are not possible to use are firmly a thing of the past.

“I for one have been pleased with the improvements and I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping they are here to stay.”

Indeglas - Business News Scotland
Mr Dunn is responsible for the site management of an internal glass screen work package with value in excess of £1.4 million.

He said: “I’m enjoying it; it’s so different from the role of sub-contacting joiner, but I’m well supported as I’m learning a massive amount.

“No two projects are the same, and long experience in the industry helps, though working constantly with an iPad takes a bit of getting used to.”

“Fortunately, I’m a fast learner and I have been helped by Tom Russell, former Indeglas Site Manager, who retired recently.

“He has been a valuable mentor to me ever since I worked for him a couple of years ago on Indeglas’s Forth Valley College, Falkirk Campus glass screen installation project.

“When Tom decided it was time for him to retire, I asked his advice about my suitability for applying for his job.

“He was very encouraging, and he is still there for me at the end of a phone if there is an element on a project that needs talked through.

“Andrew is also employed by Indeglas and has thrived. I have seen a big difference in him. He is now a confident young qualified joiner, still accumulating experience and, like me, looking forward to getting beyond these Covid restrictions.”