When everything screeched to a halt in March, what happened to building sites? Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected all businesses, but what about the construction industry?
From the beginning, it was clear that there was no way to prevent construction from carrying on. As so much of the industry relies on on-site work, travel seems unavoidable.
The government have maintained that the construction industry should continue as far as is safely possible, throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Of course, for most others the advice has been to stay at home. Everybody able to ‘reasonably’ work from home, should.
In the first wave, this led to the spread of images of construction workers online, showing groups of people eating in large lunchrooms. This caused a reaction from both sides, some people blaming the workers themselves for their close proximity, and others looking to the government for justification.
It is no surprise that a lot of the workers felt uncertain. Both the British Safety Council (BSC) and the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) requested clarification from the government. The result was merely that the only real answer available was to implement social distancing where possible. To this day, it has been up to companies to adapt under the circumstances.
With many workers feeling that they have no choice but to go to work in these conditions, the industry may appear to be running business as usual. However, the reality of the situation is simply that more issues have arisen as a result of workers being expected on site.
What current challenges is the industry facing?
Jack Barker, an Assistant Quantity Surveyor from Sheffield, stated: ‘The main challenges have been disruptions with supply chains, which has caused delays. Another issue comes when a company has a large turnover of site operatives. This increases the risk of a site shutdown as a result of an outbreak‘.
Lots of projects have had to be put on hold, or even cancelled. Because of this, adaptation is not enough. No matter how well construction workers distance from each-other or follow guidelines, struggles in the industries they depend on will prevent them from meeting deadlines.
The industry has implemented social distancing measures as best they can. But what more can be done if supply chains are severely interrupted?
Where does Graphite come into this?
Any production line needs materials. Materials to manufacture parts, store products and build appropriate spaces. One of the materials functioning in the background of the construction industry is Graphite.
Due to its capacity to deal with high temperatures and chemical atmospheres, graphite is, again, a bit of a miracle material. Businesses use graphite for the production of building materials, namely drywall production. For example, in gypsum dryers, graphite bearings are used to protect and lubricate the rotating mechanism.
Read More about where graphite is used in the construction industry below: