The new novel Coronavirus, or Covid-19

Good afternoon folks,

As the lockdown continues, and with the Construction Industry Council releasing updated advice as they continue discussions with the government (linked below), we wanted to update you on what work we are able to carry out and, more importantly, what precautions we will be taking in order to carry on working.

Like all small business that both support and rely upon the local community, we’re looking for way to balance our work requirements with the understandable need to protect ourselves, our clients and the wider community.

Because of that, this protocol will be reviewed on a weekly basis, or more frequently as new information is released by the government. Each and every job will be risk assessed on an individual basis and will be discussed in detail with our clients.

As we already have all of our staff working from home, this new protocol is predominantly targeted at works that require us to carry out site visits, and is an update to the previous Covid-19 protocol here on our website.

All works that are office based will continue as usual, and we have systems in place to allow us to carry out meetings and other conversations remotely.

The following are site works that we feel capable of taking on at this time, based upon the current level of advice from the Government and other professional bodies.

Structural Works:

We will be continuing to carry out inspections where there is a concern about safety or stability of a structure.

We will also be continuing to carry out structural design works where drawings and measurements can be provided by the client, or the client’s own Architectural Designer.

On a stricter assessment basis, we may be able to carry out inspections for outdoor works, for specific defects where only very limited access is required and full structural inspections on properties that are and will remain empty for at least the next 2 weeks. Any such cases will be discussed in detail with our client before we commit to a site inspection.

Architectural Design Works:

We will be continuing to provide design services for new build and extensions where either only outdoor access is required or where we can be provided with sketches and dimensions by clients.

We will also continue to provide Planning and Building Regulations consultation services and preparation of Building Regulations submissions from existing drawings. For the present time, consultations will be carried out by phone or by video call where possible.

Geotechnical Works:

We are continuing to offer Phase 1 Desk Study work and ground condition inspections where the site is fully outdoors and distance from anyone else on site can be maintained. At this present time, we are also able to continue working with our usual laboratory to facilitate samples being tested.

All of these works, as stated above, will be Risk Assessed on a case by case basis. Any works that we feel are not essential, are considered too high risk or that do not fall into the above categories will be scheduled into our diaries for the end of April or beginning of May. There will be a further review of these dates as and when the Government guidance changes.

Where site visits do go ahead, they will do so with the following conditions::

  • All our staff will be carrying hand wipes and/or hand sanitiser. We will clean our hands before entering your property and during appointments, where necessary we will wipe down common surfaces that we may come into contact with (door handles, hand-rails etc).
  • We will maintain a 2-metre (roughly 6 foot) distance from other people whilst on site at all times.
  • We will request that anyone other than the person that has made the appointment remain in another room whilst we carry out the necessary work.
As part of our Risk Assessment process, we will also be asking our clients the following questions:
  • Within the last 14 days has any occupant of the property either: a) tested positive for Covid-19; b) been placed under isolation following advice from a member of NHS staff; or c) entered voluntary isolation?
  • Within the last 14 days has any occupant of the property been in direct contact with anyone who has either: a) tested positive for Covid-19; b) been placed under isolation following advice from a member of NHS staff; or c) entered voluntary isolation?
  • Within the last 14 days, has any occupant of the property been abroad, and if so, where?
  • Does anyone at the property have any underlying health concerns that we need to be made aware of?

These, along with a consideration of what works are required, the level of access required and a determination of how essential the works are will form the basis of our Risk Assessment.

At this time, none of our staff are showing symptoms of Covid-19, none of us know anyone who is symptomatic nor have we knowingly been in direct contact with anyone that has been advised to self-isolate or is doing so voluntarily. We will continue to monitor this aspect of the situation.

We would also ask our clients to please notify us if they or any member of their household becomes symptomatic or is confirmed to have Covid-19 within 14 days after our visit to their property, even if this person was within another room throughout the visit.

If you have any questions about the above policy, or would like to discuss alternative arrangements for our site visits, we are more than happy to discuss this with you over the phone and will do our best to accommodate your requests where possible.

We would like to encourage everyone reading this to follow the relevant Government and WHO guidelines (linked below and updated regularly), to stay home unless you are doing your once weekly food shop, travelling to/from work or acting as a carer for a family member.

Social distancing is hard (even for those of us that are introverts) but it is the core idea behind “flattening the infection curve” that the media have been talking about. The aim of this is to allow the NHS to deal with a smaller number of cases at any given time therefore limiting the pressure on our doctors, nurses and hospitals as the situation progresses.

We all know people in groups that are most vulnerable to this virus, and it’s possible that we are a part of such groups ourselves, however, by taking all suggested precautions, and with a lot less panic buying in supermarkets, we are confident that we can get through this. Most of all, please try to remember to be kind to yourselves and each other at this time.

UK Government Guidelines

WHO Guidelines

CIC Advice

(Updated 27 March 2020; 13.15)