The Coronavirus pandemic has inflicted significant changes on the construction industry. There was, at one time, a fear the sector would ground to a halt, but a willingness amongst contractors at every level of the supply chain to achieve some level of normality has seen major developments across the UK progress against restrictions we have never faced before.

Comradery in the construction industry is no secret. It is well established that a joint vision, collective motivation and team drive are the things that get us all through even the most challenging of developments. But what has been more prevalent than ever – made even more recognisable as a result of the pandemic – is the ongoing, sector-wide promise to put our people, and their safety, first.

Throughout this novel situation, guidelines have been issued which inform how we can carry out our business safely on each construction site. The latest guidance, from Version 4 of the Site Operating Procedures, provides a detailed update of the things every developer and their contractors could implement to help the industry press ahead. For example, we no longer must keep face to face contact to 15 minutes or less and there is some relaxation to social distancing. There is also updated protocol on one-way systems, the configuration of seating, tables and portable tables and an increased focus on risk assessments.

Each update to each rule is applied by site managers as and when they are announced, but it has been a pleasure to work with contractors who are as keen as we are to go one step beyond the national guidelines. We place great pride on being a safe pair of hands for the industry; as a leading Approved Inspector, we wish to take our own charge when it comes to the safety of our colleagues and professional partners.

In recent weeks, this has been displayed across the sites we are attending to deliver inspections. For example, we are working together with G F Tomlinson Group at the Blythe Valley Park in Solihull, on the development of PlotM2. Throughout the lockdown and despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, G F Tomlinson has implemented stringent measures – which go beyond the guidelines – to ensure their team and contractors can access the site with minimised risk to health.

It’s a similar case on domestic developments. Ahead of any home visit or inspection – which are still taking place across the country – we ensure that no-one in attendance has any symptoms, isn’t living with anyone with symptoms and if they are found to be, they are told to leave the site and head home to rest.

Additionally, we recently attended a socially distanced client progress meeting with Fletcher Rae, LCDL, Eric Wright Construction and Adept CSCE at Lancashire Business Park, to discuss the next steps of the new commercial development. Within just eight weeks of a 33-week programme, more than half of the buildings’ steel frames have been erected – even with the lockdown in place. It shows what a group of progressive, proactive minds can achieve, and it’s been a pleasure to work in partnership with teams like this, which place great value on professionalism and safety.

As the country emerges from the lockdown and is greeted with new hotels to take short breaks, new apartments in which to reside and new leisure facilities to enjoy with friends and family, they will recognise the unwavering effort from the construction industry to make sure we could still deliver our services and create a world we can collectively enjoy, together, post-COVID-19.