Here in England, construction workers were instructed to return to work from Wednesday 13th May. Prior to this, many sites had been on total lockdown for up to eight weeks. Some firms continued to work with skeletal staff levels.
The government continues to actively encourage contractors and staff to return to work IF it is safe to do so. All involved decision-makers and stakeholders must take personal responsibility for minimizing the risk of spreading coronavirus.
The responsibility to ensure a site is safe lies with the relevant company directors and line project managers. However, it is up to all contractors and site staff to ensure that social distancing measures are adequate in order to protect themselves and their colleagues from the transmission of the virus.
So, how do project managers ensure that their site is safe enough to welcome people back on site? How do they get projects back on track post-shutdown?
We have put together seven suggestions for key aspects to consider when bringing together a site reopening plan or construction site reopening checklist. These are not necessarily comprehensive but, rather, should give your planning teams a springboard with respect to getting your site up and running again safely and efficiently.
Seven key considerations when putting together a construction site reopening plan/construction site reopening checklist:
1 – Review
Firstly, review and update your site Risk Assessment, Construction Phase Plan and Site Plan. Ask what has changed on site since lockdown. What needs to change moving forward? You will need to ensure you have a separate specific risk assessment that examines the risks to those on site with regards to contracting coronavirus. What additional risks are posed by close working, travelling to site and sharing tools and equipment? Consider what controls can be put in place and how you will manage people on site.
You can see our recent blog on visual management in risk management – and our example risk management matrix tool.
Review timeframes and deadlines, budgets and expectations in light of the extended shutdown. Ensure these are realistic and adaptable as we move back towards ‘business as usual.’
2 – Inspect
Conduct a walk through on site to ensure that nothing has been affected by the extended period of lockdown. Ensure that there has been no tampering with materials or property by trespassers. Eensure that weather has not adversely affected the site. Check all current risks to ensure that they have not altered. Check tools, excavations, scaffolding and structures are safe to be used. Put in place regular routine onsite inspections once open and allocate responsibility for these.
3 – Social Distancing
Put in place clear social distancing measures for everyone on site and communicate this clearly to all affected parties. Suggestions include one way traffic systems, two-meter guide areas for working and socially distant delivery systems close to site entrances. Review how those on site can access and use shared facilities such as toilets, welfare areas and handwashing. Regular cleaning procedures, social distancing usage and minimising numbers on site should all be planned for.
4 – Cleaning
Conduct a thorough cleanse of the site, paying particular attention to frequently touched areas. Ensure that there is an adequate supply of cleaning and handwashing materials. Reorder and replenish hygiene facilities including portaloos. Consider whether you require more facilities to minimise usage. Ensure you have a sufficient stock of PPE and sanitising materials for everyone on site.
5 – Materials
Investigate which suppliers have reopened and are able to supply to site. Consider social distancing measures for receiving deliveries and outline these to suppliers. Order initial supplies of materials to site so that work can return to efficiency as quickly as possible.
6 – Communication
Notify all stakeholders that the site is reopening, including when and how this will happen. Review and update all signage to ensure that it reflects new guidelines and safety measures. Consider how you will conduct non-contact daily meetings and put in place clear communication for how updates will be communicated. Re-induct everyone as they return to site and check all contractors still hold valid cards and qualifications. How will you get information regarding changes to working from official government sources and the Health & Safety Executive? How will this be communicated to relevant stakeholders?
7 – Documentation
Once you have reviewed and assessed all of these elements, and anything else specific to your project and site, ensure that everything is well documented and responsibilities for implementation and review and clearly laid out.
How can Method Grid help?
Method Grid is the perfect place to put together this methodology. It allows contractors, clients and even relevant third parties to have access to your plans and assist in the safe return to site. Once your master method for reviewing and restarting projects is complete you can clone your grid to ensure that any sites you are managing follow the same procedures.
Method Grid allows you to create a visible and accountable plan that can be updated and adapted as the guidance changes over the coming months.
You can try Method Grid for free today by signing up here >>
Photo by Chris Gray on Unsplash