Tackling the Covid-19 Construction Challenge
Paul Dempster, Managing Director of Aspire Defence Capital Works, explains how the business has continued to deliver essential infrastructure for the Army Basing Programme throughout the Covid-19 pandemic…
Like many businesses in the Construction Industry, we have been faced with unique challenges in these unprecedented times as we deliver the final buildings for the Army Basing Programme (ABP).
The ABP is delivering essential infrastructure to support the rebasing of troops. Our priority from the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic has been to provide a safe working environment for everyone we employ, as well as the military personnel with whom we interact on the Garrisons.
The Construction Leadership Council issued clear guidelines on safe working practices and we immediately installed additional welfare facilities, alongside a range of other measures to maintain the now-so-familiar 2m social distancing rule and ensure work activities could be carried out safely. This has presented challenges without question, but it was equally important not to compromise on our well-established health and safety practices, which has resulted in no lost time incidents since March 2019: a proud record for us all.
The pandemic significantly impacted our workforce and availability of materials. At the start of lockdown, labour levels dropped by 50% and our supply chain became fragmented, as some trade contractors made the understandable decision to temporarily cease trading amid great uncertainty.
The picture now looks more positive, thanks to early payments and reassurances made by us to our supply chain which were greatly appreciated, along with much-needed Government support. Resource levels have gradually recovered and we are very grateful to the Army, for offering garrison accommodation to our contractors affected by the unavailability of local hotels. Throughout this Crisis, ABP construction has continued across numerous key buildings and external work areas, including completion of technical stores for The Household Cavalry Regiment (pictured above).
I anticipate that new ways of agile working will be with us for some time to come and I am hugely proud of my staff and supply chain for their adaptability. Their professionalism and commitment have been second to none and have ensured that the potential disruption to ABP construction has been minimised as far as possible during these difficult times – Thank You.