Karl Fagan, Project Manager Quality Inspector for Actavo Modular, explains what it is like working as an essential worker for Actavo and talks about working on a Covid-19 testing facility in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin.
Working during Covid-19 and as an essential worker providing an essential service, I was delighted to be able to work on new projects that would benefit the nation during this pandemic. It is certainly a learning curve for everyone, adjusting to a new way of living and working. It is also vital all safety rules and regulations are met.
Covid-19 Testing Facility
Due to new social distancing rules, construction programmes and time frames needed to be revised. One of the projects I worked on and completed was a Covid-19 Testing Facility in St. Vincent’s Hospital Co. Dublin. Due to the size of the building (approx. 100m2) it was agreed with the client that in order to keep within social distancing guidelines, no more than 6 personnel would be allowed to work internally in the facility during construction.
Pre-Covid times, 10 to 15 personnel normally would have been working on a project like this. The EHS Department in Actavo guided us on each project to ensure we were adhering to all rules and regulations for the safety of everyone involved. It is clear that one of the new challenges facing our Industry is the co-ordination of the multitude of trades and logistics and also the number of trades on- site. It is also a requirement to be mindful of the critical handover dates for any project.
While we were lucky to be involved in projects that were deemed essential during the Covid-19 lockdown, many of our suppliers and subcontractors are working with skeleton staff and reduced working hours. Therefore, materials that would under normal circumstances take a week to 10 days for delivery, could take up to 3 to 4 weeks. During the critical design and procurement stage of projects including daily operations, and meetings, there is now a requirement to ensure that critical dates for material procurement and delivery are on target. We managed with these new timeframes. It is certainly is a learning curve for anyone in the Construction Industry.
Efficiency: Meetings and the use of Technology
I found Skype and MS Teams unusual and a bit strange at first, now after a few meetings I wonder why we didn’t use this technology previously. It saves a lot of travel time between meetings and it is quite easy to discuss items by sharing screens with drawings and documents. I can see this continuing when things return to normal.
Finally, the traffic – the one good thing about the lock down is I can visit several sites in Dublin City Centre and the surrounding Counties with ease, during rush hour and still arrive early. Although, in the last week or so I have noticed the traffic getting a bit heavier still it is certainly a benefit at the moment.