The government’s lack of clarity on whether construction sites should close once the COVID-19 national lockdown was announced has given all of us in the industry much to consider, both in practical and ethical terms.
Cullinan Studio is part of an insurance backed alliance (Integrated Project Insurance (IPI) contract) to deliver the new Institute of Technology for Dudley College of Technology, which started on site in February 2020. The contractor, Speller Metcalfe, had to quickly make serious decisions on whether to close their sites for the safety of all those affected. The nature of the IPI contract meant that our project team, including client, designers, contractor and supply chain, could speak quite openly about their concerns – via full participation video call! – but also challenge each other to think how we could safely overcome the unprecedented risks that COVID-19 presents.
The team was chosen in 2018 through behavioral workshops facilitated by IP Initiatives where individuals needed to demonstrate their ability to listen and problem solve without blame. So we have established the necessary culture to deal with this emergency. Therefore, although the team did agree to close the site at lockdown, we were able to collaborate to devise safe methods that will see site works restart mid-May 2020 and the building delivered for the Autumn 2021 term as planned.