Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has recently outlined what New Zealand will look like when we move out of lockdown, and it’s good news for the wider construction sector.
When New Zealand moves down to Alert Level 3, the construction industry can restart, along with professionals such as electricians and tradespeople undertaking work in people’s homes including repairs and installations.
Specific guidelines for industry sectors will be announced in the coming days, but the general health and safety rules outlined require re-opening businesses to have at least one meter of space between workers, to record who is working should contact tracing be required, and to limit the interactions between groups of workers where possible.
So what does this mean for the builder?
This is great news for any building company. It has been a highly uncertain and unsettling time for business owners and employees alike.
The confirmation that work can resume under level 3, potentially as early as Thursday 23/4, will lift a great deal of stress and anxiety from all parties - but were not out of the woods yet.
Productivity will take a hit. Keeping a 1 meter distance from coworkers, especially on a building site with scaffolding etc will be tricky and require clear communication around each builders work area and will no doubt cause a few hold ups. 2 man tasks will need to be clearly planned to avoid contact and in some cases these will need to be avoided.
An increase in Health and Safety requirements is a must, including task analysis and toolbox talks surrounding how certain parts of the project will be completed - along with the general guidelines of consistently washing hands etc. These Health and Safety measures will tax time from on site activities everyday and in the long run they will compound, adding time to the the end date of any project.
These measures should be talked through with clients prior to returning to site so that everyone is on the same page and any adjustments to the schedule can be made to accommodate this.
What does this mean for clients?
Also great news for the client, as their project can begin progressing again, but interactions between business owners/project managers/builders and the client will be drastically different.
Where possible we would recommend any scheduled site progress meetings be moved to skype/zoom or phone - An active social distancing policy should be implemented by every building company. if your project is large enough that it requires you to move out, the project manager should walk you through progress via video chat on site while you are in the safety of your accommodation.
If you are currently living in your home while the project is underway, we recommend establishing safe zones for you and your family and voicing these to your project manager, so that everyone on site is aware that these zones are a no go. these measures along with constant communication and planning should mean that everyone is on the same page when it comes to where daily tasks will be undertaken, so chances of contact are eliminated.
Here at Outlast Builders we are finalizing our site policies for employees and our policies regarding client interactions which will be emailed to all clients mid week advising them of the protocols for these interactions.
If you're thinking of taking the first step on your building journey but are unsure if its the right time, feel free to fill in the form below and we can talk you through the process, anything is possible.
We would also like to take a second to commend the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, on her amazing work guiding our country through this pandemic, kia kaha.