Thomas Sinden open for business during the coronavirus restrictions
Like most companies in the UK Thomas Sinden have had to review how our business operates in light of Government restrictions to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, and I’m pleased to say that we have now settled into a ‘new normal’ mode of working.
Looking at what is happening across the world, and those countries that are ahead of the UK on the coronavirus timeline, it seems likely that working practices will not fully return to normal for some time yet, until reliable testing and vaccines are widely available. Whilst a significant number of companies in the construction sector have chosen to close their operations for the time being, at Thomas Sinden we are proactively challenging ourselves and our supply chain on how we can continue works safely, in compliance with Government and Construction Leadership Council guidance, to minimise the impact on our customers’ projects and our supply chain partners.
The measures we have implemented fall into a number of themes as summarised below:
Remote working – our head office staff are working as normal from home with full access to our switchboard and all company systems. We are using Microsoft Teams widely to collaborate with customers, consultants and subcontractors via video conference, online screen sharing and web chat, and facilitating site inspections and valuations remotely by providing photos and video evidence of work done.
Site setup – we have increased the frequency and rigour of our cleaning regimes and put additional focus on ensuring adequate sanitary supplies; breaks are being staggered to reduce the number of people using welfare facilities at any one time to assist with distancing; and site access, egress and circulation routes have been reconfigured. We are encouraging workers to travel to site by private vehicle if they cannot safely travel by public transport and helping them to identify parking facilities close to our sites, or asking them to stagger journey times where they are travelling by public transport.
Supply chain – we are liaising closely with our supply chain partners and their operatives to identify and overcome any barriers to their works continuing safely. If after we have engaged with them subcontractors remain unwilling or unable to continue with their works, but others are able to undertake those works safely we are, by agreement, employing alternative resources. Where subcontractors are unable to source material our purchasing team are assisting them to secure what they need.
Working methods – Risk Assessments and Method Statements for all operations have been assessed to address the risk from coronavirus. Where possible tasks are arranged to distance workers from each other, and where that is not possible we are looking to enable operations to continue by employing appropriate additional PPE.
Information and Guidance – our management team are keeping abreast of the latest Government and industry guidance on a day to day basis and cascading that to our workforce and supply chain through bulletins, posters, team meetings and toolbox talks.
Although it is not possible to entirely eliminate all impacts of the restrictions to deal with coronavirus we continue to minimise them so far as is reasonably practicable.
The current situation and economic downturn that seems likely as a result of it may well see many more construction companies disappear from the marketplace. Thomas Sinden are fortunate to be better placed than many to weather the storm. As a profitable company, with a strong balance sheet and a positive cash position, we have no difficulty in providing performance bonds. We also enjoy the confidence of our professional indemnity insurers who provide us with some of the widest cover available in the market place, whilst many in the industry are finding it difficult to obtain the cover they need in the wake of structural changes occurring in the PI market post Grenfell.
In the short term the impact of coronavirus will continue to challenge many aspects of what we do, but for those companies like Thomas Sinden who adapt, quickly find new ways of working, and overcome the difficulties, we believe there is a bright future on the horizon, and we look forward to working with our customers, consultants and supply chain partners on overcoming the challenges together.
I hope that you, your family and friends continue to keep safe and well.