Balfour Beatty, Kier and Mace all contributed to study

Firms must avoid slipping backing into old ways of working as covid-19 restrictions ease, according to research from Loughborough university.

The research, which Balfour Beatty, GKR Scaffolding, Kier, Mace, Morgan Sindall and Skanska contributed to, warned of a risk of drifting back to "business as usual" as constraints are relaxed and commercial pressures start to bite. 

covid-19 site TfL

It said: "It is strongly recommended that individual companies and projects conduct a ‘lessons learned’ review before long to capture the changes made and ensure that positive changes are captured and embedded."

The reportn, “COVID-19 and construction: Early lessons for a new normal?”, said the crisis had presented a number of opportunities, particularly around workflow, quality of work and productivity.

It pointed to more sequencing of trades and reduced overlaps, as well as contractors reducing the number of workers assigned to a particular task or area.

It also found that changes in shift patterns, either staggered starts or an additional second shift, could have benefits in the longer term, allowing workers greater flexibility to fit in family commitments or commute at off peak times.

Clients were singled out in the report as having a key role in maintaining and improving site practices, and it recommended that in the future projects should not solely rely on the tier one contractors' systems and processes.

There was also a strong agreement that the improved standards of hygiene provision and welfare facilities should be maintained.