Vivalda will recommence operations nationally from May 4th, but stresses that safety and welfare of employees remains key.
Vivalda Group – which includes Pura Facades and MSP (Scotland) – has announced it 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 leading supplier of cladding and façade systems recently voiced concerns over staff safety in the rush to re-open construction sites without proper distancing procedures being put in place – most notably on public transport.
Vivalda has now confirmed a phased return to work, 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 (which employs 160 people across 12 UK sites) is keen to get on with vital refurbishment work. But it was adamant that the safety and welfare of its employees should not be compromised during the Covid-19 outbreak.
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 says its decision to commence operations was also partly driven by the remarkable resilience of the UK’s construction sector, which is already showing signs of growth following weeks of inactivity. Jayes explained: “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.” He concluded that a significant number of projects that had previously been languishing in the procurement pipeline had been confirmed by architects and specifiers during the lockdown period.
“Given the fact that so few sites were open,” concluded Jayes, “we think a lot of developers have tasked their teams to focus on projects which would have otherwise taken months to gain approval.”