Workman’s Building Consultancy team has continued to support clients as we work together to plan for the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Although the timings are not clear, the mist is beginning to lift and through retaining close contact with our clients we are able to understand what the priorities are.

Reducing operational expenditure
There is a need to reduce service charge spend, especially in retail, to ease pressure on occupiers. We are working with clients to review PPMs to reassess less critical elements and establish methods of reducing essential spend. There are now opportunities to undertake certain public facing work, taking advantage of one of the few benefits of lockdown.

Contractors and sites
The latest guidance has given contractors greater flexibility in how they operate. Restrictions still mean reduced output but most believe it is viable to restart projects. Contractually, there is greater certainty, and this is a motivating factor for contractors to restart. Careful review of site protocols is needed; together with management of the inevitable claims for time and possibly cost. Ed Moore, Building Consultancy Partner, provided some practical considerations in his recent article ‘Managing project construction sites‘.

Fire safety and cladding
Government guidance is to continue essential safety work. Our specialist team is working with clients to survey, scope and procure remedial works during lockdown, which has actually aided this process. Steven Rodd, our in-house specialist discusses this guidance note in his recent article ‘Addressing legacy cladding during a lockdown‘.

Remobilisation protocols
With talk of shopping centres and other sectors preparing for a possible June re-opening, work is needed to put appropriate procedures in place. Our surveyors are planning social distancing strategies in tandem with CAD teams, preparing schemes for access routes, one-way systems and holding areas. Aligning asset wide strategies with occupiers’ own opening protocols is essential if the new ‘norm’ is to work effectively.

New working methods
Home working has not impeded us and we all know now that video conferencing platforms work. Venturing outside onto sites or for inspections has been aided by the latest guidance. Staff safety is paramount and we have put a risk assessment approach in place to make sure client requirements and surveyor safety are balanced.

Committed to our clients
The Workman Building Consultancy department is made up of intuitive and resilient individuals who will continue to find ways to deliver a best-in-class service to our clients. We will continue to provide updates and assistance but should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me directly, or speak with your usual Workman contact in the meantime.

By Matthew Pateman,

Partner, Head of Building Consultancy