Delivering a world class sporting venue during a pandemic | Wates

MAY 2020

This state-of-the-art facility will create a lasting legacy for community health and wellbeing. It will include an Olympic-sized swimming pool as well as a 25m diving pool, community swimming pool and seats for up to 1,000 spectators.

Delivering a world class sporting venue during a pandemic

Amidst the current Covid-19 pandemic, Wates Construction has worked hard to ensure that progress on this essential project could continue, by strictly adhering to the Government’s guidance and site operating procedures. Progress has been made on the scheduled works with careful consideration and application to deliver this world-class building for Sandwell Council.

Delivering a world class sporting venue during a pandemic
Progress being made on the world class Aquatics Centre in Smethwick

Preparing for pandemic

Before the implementation of social distancing in mid-March, an in-depth theoretical scenario planning was undertaken, to ready to be applied when required to ensure the site was ready for lockdown. Three contractors had been on site prior to lockdown – this  was later reduced to just one Morrisroe  working predominantly on concrete pours for the pool as the foundation work continues.

Navigating the challenges of the Coronavirus

Working closely with the client, a number of measures was put in place to  navigate the challenges that the spread of Coronavirus would bring. This included a broad range of social distancing, health checks and hygiene measures taking place on site a new normal for the Wates Construction team.

Steps included temperature and symptom checking at the entrance for everybody arriving on site each day and ensuring workers started in stages to avoid congestion. From a welfare perspective, a colour-coded rotation system was put in place for breaks with designated seating in the canteen to ensure a safe amount of people were in there at any one time.

Increased cleaning and the number of handwashing stations was introduced, as well as widening access routes across the site to maintain a minimum two-metre distance at all times. To avoid close contact manual handling, the use of craneage was reviewed and increased where necessary.


Collaboration - the key to success

The key to mitigating the impact of Covid-19 on this project and others across the region has been collaboration and selecting the right supply chain partners who share the Wates Group values and approach with regards to safety and wellbeing. Morrisroe has been exemplar in this respect – without their cooperation and flexibility, these challenges wouldn’t have been navigated as smoothly or efficiently.

John Carlin - Regional Managing Director, Wates Construction
Sandwell Council

Sandwell Council

Thank you and your team for your hard work and the measures that you have taken to maintain the operation of the site and to progress the project during these unprecedented times. Your considered approach and work ethic to keep the project moving forward whilst at the same time demonstrating Wates as a socially responsible construction contractor, is appreciated by the council.


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