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Emerging from Lockdown

Emerging from the “Lockdown” is going to be slow and will happen in phased way. McKevitt King Architects have continued to successfully work through the last 5 weeks – however there is a limit to the work we can do until on-site construction resumes, both for the sake of current on-going projects and future projects. The construction sector is crucial to the economy, the built environment and many people’s livelihoods so it is essential that it resumes. Due to the global Covid-19 pandemic on-site operations will be more challenging. Although we are not members of Construction Industry Federation (CIF) they are recognised as a leading body in on-site construction related matters. Our institute The RIAI works alongside and collaborates with the CIF on various topics and matters.

The CIF Safety and Health Subcommittee have developed ‘CIF Back to Work Resource Pack which serves as a guide for the management of COVID-19 on a construction site for the duration of the pandemic. The actions set out in this document should be implemented in tandem with an amended Construction Stage Health and Safety Plan. The purpose of this document is to protect workers, their families and the community, whilst also recognising the need to protect livelihoods. Simply put, this is the most important document the CIF has distributed to this point in terms of preparing their organisation to operate in the construction industry after restrictions are relaxed. This guidance document provides information on how businesses, workforces and communities can be protected. 

In most instances, compliance with these Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) involves changes to the schedule or delivery programme for construction projects. Therefore, the implementation of these SOP’s must have the support of the client and be implemented in accordance with the necessary contractual instructions from clients. A contractor cannot operate unilaterally and each site and project is unique in terms of its design and the tasks associated with its construction. Clients must therefore accept that adapting and complying with the good practice illustrated in this SOP has productivity and cost implications. It is therefore recommended that before construction resumes on any site, a revised risk assessment is conducted by the client and contractor to ensure the project can recommence, revised delivery schedules are agreed, revised work programmes are agreed and/or any necessary contractual instructions are issued by the client which make it possible to comply with these SOP’s.

Our institute The RIAI has published a document titled 'RIAI Covid 19 Initiatives for Reopening of Sites' suggesting initiatives and ideas re the current COVID-19 situation, and in consideration of safety of its members when visiting a site. This RIAI document should be read in conjunction with the CIF document referenced above. The primary intentions of this RIAI document are to set out initiatives to encourage site protocols appropriate to post COVID-19 site working and assisting in getting construction sites functioning post COVID-19 restrictions without compromising quality of construction and compliance with building regulation.

by Richard Hatch

Emerging from Lockdown

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