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Covid-19 pandemic impact and lessons learned in construction projects: summary report for CIOB

Lu, S.-L. ORCID:, Sexton, M., Mukherjee, A., van Emmerik, R., Goodchild, A., A. and Ruddick, M., (2022) Covid-19 pandemic impact and lessons learned in construction projects: summary report for CIOB. Report. Chartered Institute of Building, Bracknell, UK.

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The report captures the best practice in the management of COVID-19 hazards in construction projects commissioned by the Wokingham Borough Council (WBC). Specifically, the focus is on gaining a better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 from the perspective of Tier 2 and Tier 3 construction firms. The construction sector and its clients has had to adapt to mitigate the significant impacts caused by COVID-19. The findings are based on three case study projects commissioned by WBC from two workshops and ten interviews representing the client, the principal contractors, the sub-contractors, and the end-users. It was found that the case study project teams managed the impact of COVID-19 astoundingly well, given the rapid, almost overnight, on-set of the pandemic, and the sheer scale of the disruption. The innovation and adaptation displayed confirms the old proverb, ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ The projects teams translated and assimilated government and other guidance in a ‘learning by doing’ fashion, adapting their current practices to meet specific project needs. There was a clear demonstration to ‘relax’ firms’ particular interests to work even more collaboratively with project partners – there was a collegiate ‘let’s tackle the challenges that COVID-19 is throwing at us together, for our collective good.’ The flexible, at times almost hour-by-hour adjustments to practices worked. In many ways, the ability of small-medium sized firms (SMEs) to be highly responsive to changing circumstances was a strength. The next challenge is how SMEs (and clients) can embed what they have learned into their strategies, structures and processes to build resilience for the future. COVID-19 is in fragile retreat through vaccination rollouts, and so on; but there is now at acceptance that this virus is not going to disappear – the mantra, the reality, is now how to ‘live with it’ for the foreseeable future. The recent Omicron variant is testament to this new reality. For construction SMEs this will require the type of centralised investment normally more associated with large firms. And, in response, this report makes the principal recommendation for a collective, structured learning cycle across WBC’s projects and supply chains to build resilience: a vaccine, as it were, to protect against future pandemic shocks.

Item Type:Report (Report)
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:108296
Publisher:Chartered Institute of Building

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