How can contractors work safely on site?
Construction sites are now getting back up to speed, but especially for sub-contractors and independent builders working on domestic projects, it means a very different way of working.
Our building products specialist Rose Hayes spoke to Adrian Buttress, the managing director of leading EPDM rubber roofing distributor Permaroof, about how work can continue safely and productively.
As for all industries, it’s been a time of upheaval for contractors and installers – and yet, work on site has continued for many across the country.
I was interested to discover how those on site can continue to work both safely and productively. As both a distributor to both builders’ merchants, supplying Firestone RubberCover EPDM flat roofing, and a supplier directly to domestic contractors, Adrian at Permaroof has some fantastic insight on how the sector is continuing to operate.
I spoke to Adrian to gain his top tips:
Adhere to social distancing by offering a contactless service
When it comes to roofs, things can go wrong, and urgent maintenance and repairs sometimes need to be carried out to avoid problems down the line. However, it’s vital that these take place in line with government guidelines to not only protect the worker and the customer, but to support their reputation as a responsible and caring business.
Social distancing remains crucial, even on a working site. Preparation before actual work starts on site is the best way to make this possible.
For instance, contractors should try to pre-arrange any electricity extensions so that they can be located outside, making it easier to avoid going inside the home. It’s also worth thinking about toilet facilities and how workers can access these safely while staying away from the customer which could mean hiring a portable toilet.
Sadly, tea and coffee will be off the cards too for the foreseeable future so simply planning to take supplies and making sure hands are regularly washed or sanitised is important. Not only is all of the above good practice in terms of health and safety, but it’s all positive for the customer to see the business cares about their wellbeing.
Plus, suppliers such as Permaroof are diversifying to sell relevant products such as disinfectant spray which gives contractors easy access to tools that will help them work safely.
Be organised when collecting materials
It’s still not possible to go inside a trade counter and spend time deciding on what to order while there. Contractors need to know exactly what they want beforehand and pre-order in advance where stock is available.
This means that it’s really important to stay on top of stock checks, so contractors know exactly what they have already to avoid placing unnecessary orders. This also means that its easier to predict when orders will need to be made, working around delays to availability and the possibility of shorter opening hours and skeleton teams at the merchant counters.
It’s important that contractors communicate clearly with customers; ensuring they know when they will arrive for the quotation, that they know to stay inside while measurements are taken, and that quotes will be sent afterwards via email to offer a completely contactless service.
With lockdown easing, its hoped and expected that the vital construction and building industry will continue to gain momentum. Certainly, Permaroof has reported a record two months of business thanks to its foresight in terms of stock levels, diversifying into new product areas, and investment in marketing – all while working safely. This signals that the opportunity is there for contractors as well as suppliers. We’ll watch with interest to see how the sector adapts and how builders working on domestic projects work with homeowners that are now not used to having non-family members in their home.