Ten weeks into lockdown and the fantastic housing associations we work with have been continuing with a number of schemes that provide much-needed new homes for families in their local communities.
It is estimated that 8.4 million people in England are living in an unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable home, according to the National Housing Federation.
The research also estimated that in 2019, 2.5 million people were unable to afford their rent or mortgage, and a further 2.5 million could not afford to move out of “hidden households” – which includes house shares, adults living with their parents, or people living with an ex-partner.
In recent years, Sutcliffe has also worked on a total of 7,671 residential units, including houses, apartments and extra care facilities generating over £1 billion in construction costs to the residential sector.
William Baldwin, Director at Sutcliffe, explains why keeping our residential sites open during this time has been crucial:
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, housing associations and local authorities have been pushing ahead with a number of schemes that we are involved with as civil, structural and geo-environmental engineers. We agree that projects in the residential housing sector need to continue to allow a quick bounce back for consultants and the whole of the supply chain.
“The need for social housing and affordable housing has never been greater as reports show 8 million people in England are living in unsuitable homes. The problems associated with a shortage of housing are only maximised during times like these, and the impact that Covid-19 has on these people has not really been felt yet.”
“We carry a responsibility to complete these housing projects on time and on budget… after all, the housing crisis won’t stop in the face of a pandemic.”
So, how are Sutcliffe engineers building homes safely during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Since the start of lockdown, we’ve overseen extensive measures across all of our construction sites that ensure our workers are keeping safe.
We’ve introduced one-way systems around the sites, with markings on the floor to ease the flow of foot traffic. Two-metre social distancing has become a critical part of the work we are carrying out, and having a one-way system enables this.
We returned to our Tobacco Warehouse site in Liverpool last month and have introduced “Covid officers” on our projects. These officers are responsible for making sure everyone is following guidelines, keeping two meters apart, washing their hands as frequently as possible, and wearing masks at all times.
We are predominantly working from home, but our office staff are maintaining the two-metre social distancing rule and we have brought in specialist IT support to allow our other staff to work from home effectively and efficiently.