Dean Ward, managing director of the DCW Group, shares his tips for construction project managers as Covid-19 restrictions ease
Project management (PM) roles within the construction industry are certainly complex; diverging from traditional PM positions by requiring a varied understanding of the construction industry, these professionals must be strategic and forward-thinking in a constantly changing environment.
Whether you’re working on an independent build or a large-scale residential development, versatility and adaptability are crucial. Working with a range of consultants to oversee profitable projects, project managers must use efficient strategies. This task can be challenging at the best of times, let alone whilst we navigate a global pandemic…
Covid-19 has affected every member of the construction industry. Its ever-changing restrictions and daunting government guidelines have left workers from across the sector in a state of ongoing uncertainty, to which we have had to consistently adapt. This includes project managers; with their staff relying on the solidarity of projects more than ever, it’s crucial that they adapt their strategies in accordance with current events.
As managing director of the DCW Group, I have vast project management experience. Our experts are able to help oversee projects without hiccup, something which proves to be invaluable during challenging periods. Whilst restrictions continue to change, we all need to be aware and respond accordingly. To help you do this successfully, I’ve outlined my top tips for project managers over the next few months:
Adjust your meeting spaces
As restrictions continue to ease you might feel like you’re sitting on the fence so-to-speak; the wiggle room we’re being given comes with a wave of caution and uncertainty – how much flexibility is too much? Many of us have struggled immensely with the lack of social contact that lockdown ensued and for those in the construction industry, a sector that’s been put under lots of pressure over recent months, the comradery that comes with group meetings is invaluable. I, therefore, wouldn’t say that you necessarily need to always avoid meetings, instead re-shuffle your meeting spaces. Ensure that everyone’s seated 2m apart and always adhere with social distancing guidelines.
If you don’t have the room to adhere with social distancing guidelines then meetings in person aren’t a viable option. In this instance, turn to group meetings online and/or regular catch up calls. We of course aren’t as restricted as we were at the beginning of lockdown but it’s always better to be on the safe side – you can never be too careful.
Invest in stand-in scanners
If you’re able, consider investing in stand-in scanners that take your temperature. These of course aren’t 100% accurate in testing for Covid-19 but they do offer a little more insight into the health of your site visitors. Body temperature scanners, including infrared scanners, help to stop the spread of sickness and viruses.
After months of uncertainty investing in new equipment might feel like a costly solution. However, this will demonstrate your commitment to your team, whilst scanners will prove to be a long-term investment. Of course, you’ll only need to consider this if you’re operating a large site – independent developments won’t require technology of this kind.
Limit site visits
No matter the size of your project site, visitors will inevitably come and go. Whilst we’re not in strict lockdown now I would recommend thinking twice about physical visits – is it really worth it? Some might be essential but if you’re simply hosting site tours for example, consider filming them for online viewing instead. It’s difficult for workers to maintain a 2m distance on site, additional people in the area won’t be helpful.
It’s also crucial that you invest more time in screening and processing the visitors to your site. In doing so you can be more certain that the people who have to visit your site are safe to do so. Accepting this responsibility and doing all that you can to protect the wellbeing of your team is essential.
Show your support
We’re all experiencing a series of events that’s somewhat unprecedented. As a result, members of your team are likely to be feeling anxious and unsettled; Covid-19 has caused an array of financial difficulties and other stresses, factors that can’t be overcome easily. As a project manager it’s important that you clearly demonstrate a commitment to your team, supporting their health and happiness in equal measures.
Make sure that you check in with each member of your team regularly to see how they’re doing. If you can, no matter the size of your team, offer access to professional support should they need it. Meanwhile, attempt to boost team morale by organising socially distanced social events. After all, at times like this we need to come together.