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Lockdown easing and construction retuning to work; what can we learn from the last seven weeks and what does it tell us about the future? With the Prime Minister’s recent commitment to ease the lockdown including actively encouraging the construction sector to return to work, how can we restart the economy while not putting the public health to risk? What guidance do employers need in order to make workplaces safe, so we can bring people back to work?
This was the reflection of Richard Tinson, Branch Manager for Keyline Civils Specialists in Leeds on his experience since the beginning of the lockdown. It encompasses everything that merchants like Keyline have been through, what smaller contractors have learned and what the larger contractors will need to learn as they return. There are even fundamental trading scenarios for the wider retailing community to gain from.
With a set of methods in place including the use of safe distancing, PPE and the rearrangement of back offices, retailers from supermarkets to garden centres have had to learn quickly the economy. It will force us all to change our working practices and embrace a new normal.
Since the government announced the lockdown, from day one Keyline has been one of a few merchants that have remained open, as it was seen as a key supplier to essential work as prescribed by the government. With the need to maintain public utilities, gas, water and electricity as well as the maintenance of road and rail networks and the support of the reinstatement of HS2, the company had to create a whole new set of guidelines and practices to comply with safe distancing for both customers and colleagues.
In doing so it has forced everyone to be flexible and accommodating if they want to maintain a level of business to get products onto site and help Britain get building again. In an effort to be efficient, all contractors, big or small, will have to change their working relationship with their suppliers and, whether heavyside or lightside, certain universal principles will apply. These are practices that Keyline, along with other merchants that are open for business, has already adapted to include: