At the end of March 2020, in line with Government advice, we had to make the difficult decision to postpone all planned investment work that was taking place, due to the Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown.
Following subsequent easing of lockdown measures in May, the Government has encouraged social landlords to resume maintenance work where safe to do so.
We’ve been working with our partnering contractors, Engie, United Living, Wates, DW Support Services and Bell Group, to ensure appropriate risk assessments and ways of working were put in place before any work started again, in accordance with the latest guidance from government departments and Public Health England.
The safety of our residents and our staff is still, and will remain, our highest priority, and we’ve taken every step possible to ensure the health and safety of everyone we come into contact with, including residents, staff, suppliers and the wider community.
Our return to work is being phased. We’ve started with exterior work which has involved the least physical contact with residents, such as roof and exterior wall insulation works, either to blocks or individual homes. This work has progressed well, and we’re now starting heating replacements, and carrying out surveys for planning future internal works.
Our contractors will contact residents having this work done, to find out about your health status, such as if you’re self-isolating or shielding, and whether you’re in any of the vulnerable groups. They will discuss with those residents, any extra precautions that may be needed, or if the work needs to be delayed to sometime in the future.
The Covid-19 guidance and safe systems of work that we’ve developed are comprehensive. We’ve provided a brief summary below of the key actions our contractors will be introducing:
- mandatory social distancing, with sites appropriately marked out
- ppropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) when social distaining can’t be achieved
- enhanced cleaning regimes
- enhanced welfare and washing facilities
- restrictions on travel to and from site
- staggered working times
- temperature screening on static sites where appropriate
- additional welfare supervisors on static sites.
We’ll continually monitor the guidance issued by the appropriate government departments, and we’ll review and update our guidance in accordance with this advice.
These are difficult times for everyone, and we’re committed to ensuring that our return to work is carried out responsibly, with everyone’s safety as a priority. We’d like to thank you for your continued patience and understanding during this unprecedented period, and challenging new working environment.
Director of Assets