Covid-19: Considering our Next Steps

Laura Hannan, Associate Director

I received a text from my bank this week informing me that the travel insurance adjoined to my bank account would not cover me for Covid-19 related issues for trips booked on or after 23rd March 2020. With the advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that travel outside the UK is banned indefinitely, and with numerous planned trips set to be cancelled, I cannot say that this alteration caused me any immediate concern. What it did do was strike up thoughts about the learning and adaptations that businesses and organisations across all sectors, UK and worldwide, are currently experiencing, and how this will change the way we approach working and communication when we venture back to normality.

This is a troublesome time for everyone, and whether that is for health or economic reasons, or indeed both, we are all affected. In the construction industry it has been heartening to see those who are able to contribute PPE (personal protective equipment) and volunteer time and vehicles to the efforts to keep as many people safe and provided for as possible.

In the day job, I have experienced the efforts made by contractors and consultants to maintain progress of projects whilst vehemently complying with Public Health England’s regulations. Keeping our heavy container ship of an industry moving whilst responding to the challenges of Covid‑19 demonstrates what can and will be achieved to keep each other safe and projects running, when working from home is not an option.

The indications are that material merchants have adapted their services in order to be reopened under current regulations. This will undoubtedly be one of the catalysts for sites reopening or even the start of new projects. Our industries alertness for health and safety will be vital for ensuring that this snippet of normality is well managed and not short lived.

Over the past three weeks, we at Base have been advising contractors and clients on the current correspondence that is required in accordance with their specific contracts. It has been a complex process at times, but we hope it has given support to those that needed it. Now, with sites potentially opening and others remaining closed we will continue to offer guidance where it is required.

Going forward we are still in exceptionally unsettled times; our working environments have changed and the ability to forecast past the next couple of weeks has never been more difficult. In the scenario of my travel insurance I will have to take new considerations and actions when I plan my trips in the future. This will be simple in comparison to the approaches and considerations we will have to take to return to our working environments and to be able to maintain our contractual obligations. We hold an abundance of skills, expertise and resilience in our industry, all of which will be needed in the months ahead.