How the construction industry succeeded in the face of adversity

How the construction industry succeeded in the face of adversity

In January, we marvelled at the ability of Chinese contractors to build two 1,000-bed hospitals in just eight days to treat Covid-19 patients in Wuhan, but few imagined that British construction companies would be delivering half a dozen similarly-sized field hospitals in the UK just a few weeks later.

The first so-called NHS Nightingale hospital, located in the ExCel conference centre in east London, was built in just nine days by a team including Mace as project manager, architect BDP and London-based healthcare specialist CFES as principal contractor. With beds for 4,000 patients, the London Nightingale hospital was the biggest as well as the first to be built.

Four more followed soon after: Manchester, Bristol, Harrogate and Birmingham. Other emergency hospitals were also set up in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast, with plans for additional field hospitals in Carlisle, Exeter and Sunderland.

For most businesses, the Covid-19 lockdown has been a huge challenge. With trade grinding to a halt, revenues stifled and forward planning almost impossible, the crisis has dealt a huge blow from which many businesses will not recover. But not all companies have suffered – some, indeed, have used the enforced suspension of normal activities to focus on new opportunities.

While many companies in the construction sector furloughed staff and operated at reduced capacity, one London-based supplier of cladding products was enjoying one of its best-ever trading periods. Pura Facades, part of the Vivalda Group of companies, says that year-to-date sales have nearly doubled, compared to the same period last year, and it has secured £1.7m of business since lockdown began at the end of March.

All in all the construction sector can hold its head quite high as lockdown eases  to a gradual halt. Many thought that only the giants of construction had the capital to survive this pandemic, however most managed to get through it in the end, some even managing to thrive and make our industry proud by making a positive difference to the lives of the most vulnerable among us. 

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

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