Construction: Ensuring best practice from our contractors
Every industry is facing unprecedented challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, including the construction industry which the government permitted to continue operating during the crisis, leaving contractors to decide whether it is safe to keep their sites open. We consistently told government they should reconsider this position, provide clearer guidance and financial support so contractors can pause works.
In the absence of government action, we’ve kept in close conversation with council and private contractors, encouraging them to stop non-essential works, welcoming contractors prioritising public health and working with us to close sites.
However, the government has now issued guidance about how construction sites should operate safely in the current crisis - actively encouraging contractors to resume works. As we all begin assessing how we return to a new normal under the challenges presented by this pandemic, we are asking our contractors to submit detailed plans showing how they will prioritise the safety and wellbeing of workers and residents.
We are asking our own contractors to limit the number of people onsite, to carry out increased risk assessments, ensure compliance with social distancing measures, stagger breaks, provide hand sanitiser points and separate entry and exit points while restricting travel to and from sites at peak times.
It is true that we need homes in Camden desperately. This crisis has highlighted and exacerbated the great inequalities that already exist. The challenges for overcrowded families isolating at home are significant - and the council has had to act where individuals are homeless or for families who share kitchens and bathrooms to keep them safe. That said, we are adamant that these vital works will be delivered through best practice in this challenging time.
Residents should know that whilst the government has directed the construction industry to get back to work, we will be holding our contractors to account on these measures, speaking to them daily and carrying out spot checks, while also encouraging this best practice to be shared across all sites in Camden.
Councillor Danny Beales, Cabinet Member for Investing in Communities and an Inclusive Economy