Fusion Building Systems has been able to complete the installation of its offsite light steel frame system for Jehu Group’s Orchard House social housing scheme in Swansea during the Coronavirus outbreak, thanks to it requiring only a handful of personnel to be on site.
Work started on site in early March, installing two storeys of its lightweight system for residential accommodation over existing units at Kingsway in central Swansea. With a six week build programme ahead of it, site works ran through the Government’s lock down period for Coronavirus, meaning that social distancing requirements needed to be adhered to if work was to continue. But, because the installation of Fusion’s offsite panellised system requires only a handful of personnel to be on site at any one time, the build was able to continue.
In addition to requiring only minimal personnel on site, in accordance with guidance from Public Health England, Jehu and Fusion revised their site health and safety procedures and staff welfare management to ensure all could work safely. For example, Fusion ensured all vehicles were equipped with hand sanitisers and disinfectant sprays; breaks for site installers were rotated to have fewer staff present at any one time; a one-way system was implemented for stair use and 2m intervals were marked throughout the construction site, to help personnel maintain appropriate distancing.
Jehu also reviewed its build programme to ensure a minimum number of trades would be on site at any one time – groundworks were complete prior to Fusion’s arrival and while scaffolders were on site at the same time, they were always working one level above Fusion’s installers.
Fusion Project Manager, Tony Ball, said: “We’ve completed our works for Jehu Group at Orchard House ahead of schedule, while protecting the health and wellbeing of our employees and others on site. This has only been made possible through the positive relationship we have with Jehu – we worked together well and also experienced a high level of respect from other trades involved in the project.
“Speed of build and the number of personnel on site have always been promoted as benefits of offsite construction, but never did we imagine they might be of use in the situation we’re all currently facing. We’re pleased we’ve been able to help Jehu Group continue its works, regenerating this part of Swansea city centre.”
Gary King, Jehu Site Manager, added: “Working under such challenging circumstances I cannot recommend Fusion highly enough. They worked to all our social distancing requirements, their health and safety was spot on and their deliveries to site were always on time. Added to this, their quality of workmanship and the accuracy of their light steel panellised system meant the build was able to progress at pace, which saw them complete ahead of programme.”
Following its completion of Orchard House, Fusion will soon start on site for another Jehu Group contract – an extra care facility in Pontypridd. Defined as an ‘essential construction project’ the build will provide accommodation for up to 80 residents.