11th May 2020 – Updates shown highlighted
This statement has been produced to summarise the Stack London Ltd response to the currently developing COVID-19 pandemic seen around the world, and highlight particular risks and mitigation methods being employed by Stack to respond to Government advice and the need to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.
The new statement from the Prime Minister on the evening of the 10th May has updated previously issued guidance, and this note has been updated to reflect the changed circumstances that we find ourselves in. The updated guidance does not contain a great deal of change for the construction industry, which has been permitted to continue working throughout the restrictions on movement imposed on the 23rd March. However, it is noted that many other commercial sectors are now being encouraged to return to work, with workers generally permitted to work where they CANNOT work at home. Whilst this does not affect work on our sites particularly, it will affect the numbers of people travelling in the morning and afternoon peaks.
As well as the updated statement from the Government, there are updated suggested Operating Procedures from the Construction Leadership Council (Version 3) that remain the reference document for activities on site.
Stack London operate on multiple sites primarily in the South East of the country, but operations can be broadly categorised into three typical scenarios:
The risks in each scenario are broadly similar. The Coronavirus is spread through close contact in a similar fashion to common flu, and our response to each situation is aimed at minimising the risk of transmission through this contact, using a standard risk assessment hierarchy of prevention, group protection and individual protection. Mitigation for each of the above scenarios is taken in turn below:
Our office based staff (circa 15) are all located within our Farringdon Head Office. In line with Government advice and to eliminate unnecessary interaction at work, we have taken the precaution of closing our office and asking all staff to work from home on normal duties.
We will continue to monitor the situation, but expect that our office will remain closed until the end of May at the earliest. We are currently considering a plan that will permit opening of the office while maintaining social distancing measures. This is likely to include a limit on numbers that will require careful planning of attendance.
The majority of Stack activity (in terms of manpower) is carried out on our construction sites. These sites are generally manned by a relatively small number of Stack staff and a much greater number of operatives from sub-contractors and agencies. Of course, the work undertaken on construction sites is predominantly manual, and therefore cannot be carried out from home. This set of circumstances require a different set of mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of Coronavirus spread:
Our principal reference document is the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Site Operating Procedures, which was produced by the CLC to assist construction companies with guidance on how to protect the workforce.
We believe that a responsible attitude to the risks is necessary, and again re-iterate the seriousness of the situation. We must adhere to the guidelines issued by Government and Public Health England if we are to slow the spread of this virus.
The third aspect of works carried out by Stack involve operatives visiting residents in their own homes to carry out aftercare or warranty work as required.
Whilst the risks from this type of work are similar to those already noted above, mitigation measures are difficult and perhaps not easy to assess for each case. With this in mind, Stack have suspended all Customer Care visits for routine or non-emergency works indefinitely. Reports of defects will still be taken and recorded, but will not be acted upon until further notice.
Works in occupied properties that are essential to maintaining progress on contract works MAY be undertaken subject to specific risk assessment. Any proposed works of this nature should be referred to the Construction Director for consideration and approval or otherwise PRIOR to works being carried out. There are no exceptions to this rule.
Where works are of an emergency or critical nature (loss of heating, leaks etc) an individual risk assessment will be carried out to determine mitigation measures to be taken prior to any visit. Any visits of this nature should be discussed with Contracts Manager or Construction Director PRIOR to proceeding.
This document will continue to be updated and distributed as the situation evolves, and if there is any doubt about measures required, please do not hesitate to contact Alex Miller or John Friel to ask for clarification.