LOCKDOWN 3.0 – Supply chain engagement and covid safe working practice

As the country is hit with another lockdown, we want to inform our members of the response and actions taken by the CHIC supply chain to support ongoing programmes. We have engaged all of our supply chain partners to understand how they are managing the continual challenges caused by the pandemic, and the safe working practices being implemented to adhere the UK Government– hands, face, space.

CHIC was keen to seek reassurance for our members that the supply chain is proactively responding to the new measures. As the construction sector largely remains operational, the impact on members is much less severe than last March, as there has been an opportunity for preparation this time around.

Many organisations came into the second lockdown in a strong position to support clients. With the brief period of halted works during the initial lockdown from March 2020, and the more recent Tier 4 restrictions, actions were already being taken to help minimise any disruption to work and customers. Management and operating systems have been widely adjusted to accommodate the levels of flexibility now required, ensuring minimal impact on day-to-day operations.

The supply chain is striving to operate as close to normal as possible, whilst following Government guidelines and safe systems of work, to ensure the safety of all residents and staff.

Most cyclical servicing and installation works are continuing. New build, void works and empty property refurbishments remain mostly unaffected. Planned works are generally continuing with resident agreement, with all services being delivered in a Covid secure way. Sourcing of some materials remains a cause of concern for some as lead times may be affected, however, there have not been significant reports of this as yet.

Managing risk is the top priority for all, to minimise the spread of the virus. Additional safety measures have been put into place, to meet individual members (and government) requirements. All appropriate PPE equipment is being issued to operational teams, including delivery drivers. A good practice example provided by one contractor was the requirement for all residents to complete a Covid questionnaire to ascertain any level of exposure before the commencement of any works.

Any non-essential places of work have been closed across all sectors, such as showrooms, and alternate ways of dealing with enquiries have been created. It is expected that this current lockdown may affect the evaluation of currently submitted tenders, which could impact on forward planning over the next few months.

Maintaining effective communication between staff and residents is a key lesson continued from lockdown one. Regular company-wide communications are now common practice, with a number of office-based staff working from home. Toolbox talks have been implemented to communicate latest guidance and working practices and when office-based work is essential, clear signage and safety protocols are enforced.

Risk assessments are regularly being carried out to ensure the safety of all stakeholders.

CHIC will continue to engage with the supply chain as we have since the beginning of the outbreak, to ensure we provide our members any information which may affect programmes.

CHIC’s Managing Director, John Fisher, notes “the effect of the pandemic over what is now almost a year has been extremely challenging for all our members and supply chain partners. So, starting 2021 with a 3rd lockdown could have made this even more difficult. The feedback though from this extensive engagement with contractors and suppliers shows how we have all adapted quickly and effectively, to be able to continue to provide works and services to our members’ customers in a safe way”

If you would like any additional information from specific contractors on our frameworks, please get in touch with Joe Scurr jscurr@chicltd.co.uk

Stay safe,

The CHIC Team