Cladding and facade manufacturer Vivalda Group – which includes Pura Facades and MSP (Scotland) – will recommence operations nationally from Monday May 4, 2020. This follows a shut down of approximately four weeks, in line with the Government’s enforced lockdown measures.
The cladding and façade systems supplier recently voiced concerns over staff safety in the rush to re-open construction sites. The manufacturer is keen to ensure proper distancing procedures are being put in place – most notably on public transport. Vivalda has now confirmed a phased return to work. Particularly given the important nature of around 70 current projects, replacing unsafe cladding with non-flammable products.
Despite an apparent lack of consistency and clarity from previous government announcements regarding safety on site, the £40m turnover business, is keen to get on with vital refurbishment work. An employer to 160 people across 12 UK sites, Vivalda is adamant that the safety and welfare of its employees should not be compromised during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Safety measures in place
Commenting on the managed return to work, Vivalda’s managing director Ben Jayes said: “We’re obviously as keen as anyone to get back to work, but only when we can guarantee our people’s safety. Having seen the leadership shown by contractors such as Taylor Wimpey and housebuilders Persimmon, both of whom have introduced stringent Covid-19 policies and site procedures, we’re delighted to be supplying non-flammable cladding once again.
“For ourselves, we’ve sourced all the right PPE for staff at each site and undertaken compulsory training to ensure every branch operates to the Construction Leadership Council’s standard operating procedures. We’ve also considered transport options to work and have introduced flexible working so that those who need to take public transport can avoid rush hours and crowded tubes, trains and buses.”
Vivalda’s decision to commence operations was also partly driven by, what it calls, the remarkable resilience of the UK’s construction sector, which is already showing signs of growth following weeks of inactivity. Mr Jayes said: “We’ve been frankly surprised by the very encouraging levels of new enquiries coming across our desks in the last four weeks. While in April 2019 we identified 79 qualified, in the same period this year, we’ve had over 70 – and that’s a few days before the end of the month.”
Mr Jayes indicated that a significant number of projects that had previously been languishing in the procurement pipeline had been confirmed (to Vivaldi) by architects and specifiers during the lockdown period: “Given the fact that so few sites were open, we think a lot of developers have tasked their teams to focus on projects which would have otherwise taken months to gain approval,” Mr Jayes concluded.
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