Back to Work: Social Distancing on Site.

12th May 2020

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Back to Work: Social Distancing on Site.


Yesterday, people in England who “can’t work from home” were “actively encouraged to go to work.” Ben Coombs, Head of Quantity Surveying at MacConvilles explains what measures have or can be put in place to help safeguard our health on site now that we are going back to work?

In the first couple of weeks of this lock-down, many sites were closed. Slowly they have come back into circulation but now with the Government actively encouraging us to go to work what is happening to safeguard workers?

We must accept that as sites re-open many will run at a significantly reduced capacity compared to where they were at the start of the year. Contractors are ensuring all on site are fully aware of social distancing practices. Welfare cabins are being positioned to support distancing with extra washing points and first aid boxes being made available.

Some contractors, specifically those on the bigger sites, are introducing ‘a social distancing coordinator’, whose sole job is to make sure that people are not getting too close.  On other sites motion tracking technology is being used to monitor workers movements and sound an alarm when workers get within 6 feet of each other. Data collected from these trackers is further used to inform site logistics and plan work to support social distancing measures.

Sites are staggering start times to ensure that not everyone’s commuting to and from site at the same time. And on whole we are seeing Risk Assessment Method Statements surpassing guidelines. Unfortunately not all sites are adopting such practices, however responsible contractors are.

Projects that have already returned to site have seen an operating capacity of at around 25/30 percent with such measures in place. We have to accept that sites will be unable to perform at full capacity for the moment and with social restrictions looking likely to remaining in place for a prolonged period we will need to continue to adapt and review our practices to stay safe and productive.

Working from our home offices, our focus has been on paperwork and planning. As we enter this new phase we are delighted to be able to support our clients as their projects return to site. We remain connected through video conferencing and are completing contractor site walk-arounds in the same way using technology to help us maintain social distancing only visiting sites when absolutely necessary.

At MacConvilles, the safety of our employees, contractors and clients is always of paramount importance, which is why we will continue to work with social distancing measures in place for as long as necessary.

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