10 steps to safe and efficient tower crane erection & How to promote a positive safety culture

The concept of safety culture has gained more attention in high-hazard industries as more safety practitioners see the influence that workers’ attitudes and behaviors have on the causes and effects of workplace incidents. These attitudes and behaviors are shaped largely by the company’s workplace safety culture and its safety systems. Here are the top two articles addressing safety around tower cranes:

Ten steps to safe and efficient tower crane erection

Manitowoc Crane Care’s Didier Forest is a 32-year veteran of the company. He has co-authored several technical manuals on tower crane erection and trains Crane Care technicians at Manitowoc’s Training Center in Saint Pierre de Chandieu, France. In early 2020 he developed a new program for top-slewing tower crane erection and here he lists his ten steps to getting it right on the job site.

1. Know your configuration. Before setting foot on the job site, erection teams must know the hook height and jib length of the tower crane to calculate the number of ballast blocks needed for the base and counter jib. Increasing the height or finding additional ballast mid-way through assembly will waste time and money and frustrate customers. Once the correct configuration is determined, the erection team can establish the task sequence and ensure each crew member is prepared, so things run smoother on site.

2. Secure the right assist crane. When teams understand the tower crane specifications, they can select the correct mobile crane. Too small or too large and the mobile crane will not be able to complete the job. Grove all-terrain cranes are ideal for tower crane assembly because they combine compact dimensions with a long boom and high capacity. Manitowoc also offers an online tool for quickly and easily selecting the right one.

3. Determine the optimum crane location. The tower crane must be located correctly from the start as it is difficult to move after assembly. Selecting the optimum location for the mobile crane will also save time and help prepare the site. With CRANIMAX CRANEbee Manitowoc offers a premium software solution which is perfect for this planning, as erection teams can simulate the cranes’ position in 3D, and factor in surroundings such as trees, buildings or other obstacles.

4. Prepare the site. The ground at the site must be level and able to support the weight of the tower crane so that once it has been correctly set-up it is stable. This is essential for all cranes but increases in importance for bigger cranes with heavier components. The customer must level the ground before erection and the Crane Care teams will verify it. There is a two-step verification to assess the gradient – first with a laser lens and then with a ruler. Understanding ground pressure is also vital. If the ground is soft or uneven, it must be compacted or excavated and filled with steel reinforced concrete. The site owner must also provide power, site access, and (in some cases) permission for street closure. All of this must be discussed before starting the job.

5. Coordinate the logistics. Many city centers have limits on when roads can be closed, or heavy vehicles can drive downtown. In addition, each truck might require its own permit with fees for diverting the road to traffic. Both the tower and mobile crane need to arrive on site at the right time in the smallest available convoy sizes to avoid waste and waiting. That’s why Potain tower cranes are designed for efficient transport in as few truckloads as possible, while Grove all-terrain cranes are easily roadable. The erection team and the customer must prepare the transport sequence and installation in advance.

6. Check the weather. Erection teams must keep an eye on the weather forecast and plan for a still day as tower cranes cannot be assembled in winds greater than 50 km/hr (31 mph). If teams begin assembly and the wind picks up, they must wait until it drops to acceptable levels (which might take hours, or in the worst cases, days). Grove mobile cranes are equipped with an anemometer to ensure the operator is constantly aware of the wind speed.

7. Respect the technical manual. With numerous heavy components, large hammers, moving pins and a secondary crane, tower crane erection requires vigilance and so procedure must always be strictly followed. In training sessions, erection teams are taught to follow every detail in the technical manuals. Potain tower cranes prioritize safe and efficient assembly, much of which can be completed at ground level, meaning fewer lifts to get the tower crane in the air. Having people harnessed in the air during assembly has inherent risks so we want to minimize this.

8. Maintain a safety perimeter. No ground crew should go within 6 m (19.7 ft) of the mast during erection, which erection teams also learn during their training. While every precaution should be taken on site, no tower crane assembly can ever be 100% risk-free – there is always a risk that objects may fall from height. As soon as ground crew see and hear the pin installation to signal the start of the process, they should keep their distance.

9. Make use of the slinging points. Every component that must be lifted on a Potain tower crane has slinging points for faster and more efficient assembly. These special loops are built into the tower crane structure so the mobile crane’s lifting chains can hook onto them. Using the correct slinging points is especially important for jib erection as the components are long and heavy and must be kept horizontal. Erection teams should calculate the right slinging points for jib erection beforehand.

10. Stay calm and professional. All crews involved in the erection must be properly trained and equipped with the right tools and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Even with the best training and equipment, it is not always easy to stay calm on big job sites where pressure is high and challenges arise. Nevertheless, staying calm is crucial for safety. If a crane erector feels stressed or under pressure, their risk assessment and decision-making may be compromised. This can put their safety, and that of others, in jeopardy. If crane erectors are not completely sure of themselves or have doubts about the ground level or wind, they must stop assembly and explain this to the customer. People’s safety remains the number one priority and should never be put at risk for the sake of getting the job done quickly.

AT NFT, Safety comes first!

Safety First! campaign in Dubai project

In November 2017, NFT and Potain launched the Safety First! campaign  going around client sites of NFT with a large volume of tower cranes to raise awareness on safety practices. Over a span of two years. NFT and Potain have visited 10 project sites spread across the UAE, KSA and Kuwait.

Because both NFT and Potain believe that a safety culutre is cascaded from top management down, the team was lead by NFT’s senior managers: NFT’s Branch Managers in each country, NFT’s QHSE Manager, NFT’s Operations Manager and NFT’s Deputy General Manager were all active throughout the campaign. From Potain’s side, Manitowoc’s Director of Dealer Development and Manitowoc’s Crane Care manager and Potain’s Sales Coordinator were all present during the campaign.

The Safety First! training includes a 20 minute induction on how to work safely on Potain Tower Cranes, addressed to all personnel working on and around these cranes, including riggers, operators and supervisors. After the induction, everyone received a gift bag with many safety essentials, followed by lunch courtesy of NFT and Potain.

 

NFT’s QHSE manager explaining the content and importance of the Tower Crane booklet

Because effective communication is crucial to creating a positive safety culture, each person was handed Potain’s Tower Crane safety booklet that was translated into five languages: Urdu, Hindi, Arabia, Turkish and English. In addition, each participate received a gift bag containing CE certified safety gloves, CE certified safety glasses, first aid kit, cooling water bottle, torch, and face bandana to protect against the dust.

Seven Characteristics of a positive safety culture at work

According to David Lauriski, there are four types of safety cultures in an organization.

Negative: Negative and reactive safety systems are unable to prevent workplace safety incidents.

In a negative safety culture, it is not uncommon for workers to feel pressured to bend or break safety rules or safe work procedures to meet deadlines or production goals.

Reactive: A negative safety culture paired with a reactive safety system ensures that sooner or later the system will fail the workers it is supposed to protect, and safety professionals have begun to see this.

Positive: A major indicator of a positive safety culture is the quality and effectiveness of its communication.

Good communication in the workplace plays a critical role in achieving safety goals and preventing incidents. When communication throughout all levels of an organization is strong, open, and meaningful, a positive safety culture follows.

Proactive:  Positive safety cultures and proactive safety systems work hand-in-hand, just as negative safety cultures are cause and consequence of reactive safety systems.

So what are the characteristics of a positive safety culture?

1. IN A POSITIVE SAFETY CULTURE, NOTHING TAKES PRECEDENT OVER SAFE WORK UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. 

The workforce never feels as if safe work procedures are an obstacle to getting their tasks done correctly, on time, and without reprimand. The keyword here is “feels.”

How do you get your workforce to feel the same safety priorities that you do?

Through effective communication !

If your employees are continuing to take safety risks despite your focus on making safety a priority, you may need to evaluate how effective the communication is between your company’s management and its workforce. Because sometimes, the most innocent comment of urgency may influence workers to speed up, take short-cuts, and neglect existing safety practices.

If employees are under the impression, for any reason, that safety rules must be broken to achieve the results or budgets that management wants, any existing safety system, no matter how great, cannot protect them.

Rosa Antonia Carillo said it best in her article “breaking the cycle of mistrust to build a positive safety culture”. She said:

“Most of the time, the pressure to put production over safety is implied, not stated. Often employees assumed that it was more acceptable to take a safety shortcut than it was to meet a deadline” – or Budget.

 

2. IN A POSITIVE SAFETY CULTURE, ALL PERSONNEL, FROM THE FRONT LINE TO THE SENIOR LEADERSHIP, SHARE THE SAME RESPONSIBILITY FOR SAFE WORK.

Accountability is everything!

Complacency and ineffective safety-related communication can lead to lapses in accountability if your company has a negative safety culture.  A positive safety culture shows compassion to spark positive change and does not blame or reprimand others. At a high-hazard operation with a negative safety culture, workers often feel that supervisors and company managers have little concern for their well-being. So not only do managers need to have good communication but they should be accountable.  An example of management style that does not value accountability:

People were not disciplined for failing to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE), but they were punished for accidents. 

Managers were seen walking through the plant without proper protection. Management wanted employees to remind each other to wear their PPE, but employees felt that constituted ‘enforcing the rules’, which is a management responsibility. 

3. IN A POSITIVE SAFETY CULTURE, THE SAFETY SYSTEM IS INFORMED BY THE WORKFORCE, NOT DESIGNED AND ENFORCED ONLY BY MANAGEMENT.

Even if you think you have a great, positive safety culture, your workers’ input is critical to ensure it actually works to reduce incidents. Because it needs to be in their language and suited to their needs and the pressures of their jobs.

Workers will disregard official safe work procedures if they are difficult to understand, use technical vocabulary or jargon, or are in an entirely different language than what your workforce speaks!

Your procedures also need to reflect the experience of your workers on the job.  Operating manuals, which are supposed to direct the crew’s every task, are most of the time inadequate, and hard to understand so the workers end up developing their own alternatives.

4. IN A POSITIVE SAFETY CULTURE, EXISTING SAFETY SYSTEMS ARE CONSTANTLY DEVELOPED AND IMPROVED

It is as important to have a proactive safety culture as it is to have a positive safety culture. Just because a few months went by without any safety incidents does not mean that contractors are exempted for any risk.  More and more companies are integrating impairment tests into their workplaces to proactively assess and manage safety risks due to fatigue, illness, emotional distress, substance abuse, and more.  Impairment testing is the proactive practice that remedies any issues. In the USA, the drug testing is one way to go about it. In the UAE, the annual fit to work check ups and the occasion site requirements force contractors to react. However, if contractors did these quick proactive practices such as impairment tests then they would help ensure that a safety system is in a consistent state of improvement, and risk is minimized.

5. IN A POSITIVE SAFETY CULTURE, COMMUNICATION OCCURS OPENLY BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS, MEMBERS OF THE WORKFORCE, AND MANAGEMENT. COMMUNICATION IS NOT JUST ONE-WAY AND IS ALWAYS OPEN AND ENCOURAGED.

Yes, more communication. But it’s so important.

A great way to prevent miscommunication, whether it’s due to a misunderstanding of tone/language/vocabulary or a perceived double standard is to make sure that communication is open and encouraged.

Take, for example, a workforce with two managers: One says wear your helmets all the time while the other walks around the site with his head clear. The workforce is left questioning how serious and necessary these safety practices really are.

What do you do?

The first manager meets with the other manager face-to-face and  makes certain that you’re on the same page about your safety practices. Then, both share the responsibility for enforcing these practices.  The same applies between managers and supervisors: when a workforce’s supervisors supervise differently, the workforce does not have clear understanding about what exactly is expected of them and this creates miscommunication.

Many of the miscommunication issues are related to over-reliance on memos, bulletin boards, and e-mails in place of face-to-face contact. People felt they didn’t have time to have conversations, but the results of miscommunication sometimes ended up costing a lot more. Companies should never assume that letters, memos or reports have communicated important information: One of the Challenger accident investigators coined the phrase: 

“Information is not communication!”

 

6. IN A POSITIVE SAFETY CULTURE, MANAGEMENT/LEADERSHIP PLAY AN ACTIVE ROLE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THE SAFETY OF THE WORKFORCE IS THE TOP PRIORITY.

Culture starts from the top and cascades down. Management needs to demonstrate and represent a positive safety culture for all procedures, policies to be implemented.  Rose Antonia Carillo says in her article: “Employees said they cannot trust decision made by managers who have never been to the job site, have not demonstrated visible concern, competence or interest in learning about the real challenges workers face”.

7. IN A POSITIVE SAFETY CULTURE, INCIDENTS, SAFETY ISSUES, OR STOPPING WORK FOR SAFETY CONCERNS ARE NOT MET WITH NEGATIVITY.

Responding to a safety issue with punitive measures sends a pretty ridiculous message: “Don’t hurt yourself or you’ll get in trouble.”  Workers don’t need to be punished for getting hurt, getting hurt is punishment enough.

What workers need is for management to create an environment where everyone is encouraged to be accountable and responsible.

At the heart of the 7 characteristics discussed here, however, lay three key factors: communication, responsibility, and proactiveness.

Without mastering these three, it is hard to have a positive safety culture.

Safety experts, academia, and modern workplaces are exploring the role of technology in strengthening these 3 factors, and thus building a more positive safety culture and at the forefront of this technology is impairment testing.

End.

Sources:

https://www.manitowoc-lookingup.com/post/10-steps-to-safe-and-efficient-tower-crane-erection

https://www.predictivesafety.com/blog/seven-characteristics-of-a-positive-safety-culture

https://www.ehstoday.com/safety/article/21914643/breaking-the-cycle-of-mistrust-to-build-a-positive-safety-culture

Global Airport Construction Projects Amidst Pandemic

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) latest forecast for the global aviation industry was that it was set to double to over 8 billion passengers by 2037.Construction of major airports were geared to meet increased passenger demand in 2020. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in the global travel industry and put a halt to projects. Regaining the same volume of passengers would be a challenge. So where do airport projects stand in terms of construction progress now?

With the outbreak of COVID-19, travel and aviation has been amongst the most impacted industries as countries closed borders, suspended flights, and imposed strict travel restrictions as part of their pandemic containment measures. According to the IATA, job losses in the MENA region in the aviation and related industries are set to reach 1.5 million. That is more than half of the region’s 2.4 million aviation-related employment. Latest data from the International Air Transport Association shows that the total global revenue-passenger-kilometres had fallen by 79.8% on a year-on-year basis. Although the pandemic created severe short-term financial pressures for the travel industry, ongoing construction of airports have not been affected and things are starting to recover with regards to the global demand for air transport.

ME

Global – Airport, Construction Project Pipeline, Projected Spending by Stage (US$ million)

In the ME region, significant airport expansion programs have been spurred by demand coming from the growth of national carriers, but also the geographic proximity to major source markets such as Asia. Geographical location and favorable regulatory environment have led to the development of airport hubs, which are catering to some of the largest movements of passenger and cargo traffic globally. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries; for example, have strategies to develop as preferred travel destinations. They are making significant investments into the development of tourism and hospitality infrastructure including airport expansions to increase the handling capacity of the anticipated visitor inflow. A clear trend in the Gulf region is the focus on innovation, harnessing artificial intelligence (AI) and data to improve the use of infrastructure.

Although the COVID-19 crisis has created severe short-term financial pressure on airport operators, the potential for a recovery in global demand in the long-term and a return of any pre-COVID-19 challenges in capacity means that airports expansions will still proceed in many markets. GlobalData is currently tracking airport construction projects globally with a combined value of US$826.5 billion. Asia-Pacific accounts for the major share of the projects value, with US$283.9 billion of airport projects, ahead of the Middle East and Africa (MEA) with US$226.3 billion thanks to Public investment is responsible for the funding of the highest proportion of projects, with 67%, followed by joint public/private with 30%.

Airport construction projects that are already at execution stage account for a large proportion of the overall pipeline at 57%. Projects that are at the pre-execution stage – comprising of only design, tender, and contract – account for 15%.

Kuwait International Project – picture by NFT

Looking at Kuwait as an example, NFT in 2017 had been awarded to supply and installation of 26 Potain tower cranes for the construction of the new International Airport, a project worth 4.34 billion dollars. The 26 tower cranes include 18 units of MD 365, 6 units of MD 1100 and 2 units of MC 125.  As of date, the project is progressing beautifully. The government has taken steps to expedite the implementation of works despite the COVID-19 outbreak and the strict lockdown imposed throughout the gulf state noting that workers engaged in the T2 project are residing next to the site of the building. T2, scheduled to be completed by 2023, is envisaged as a regional travel hub.

Global – Airport, Construction Project Pipeline, Top 10 Countries by Value and Stage (US$ million)

 Saudi Arabia leads with the highest value project pipeline, with a value of US$65.5 billion, equivalent to 35.9% of the GCC total and 29% of the regional total. The highest value project is the three-stage expansion project for the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia. The project started in 2006, designed to increase the capacity of the airport from 13 million to 80 million passengers per year.

Airport City Project

 Alongside the airport is Airport City which will be a world-class, mixed-use development adjacent to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, and will become a leading destination for visitors from across Saudi Arabia and the GCC region. The 1.91 million m² GBA masterplan for Airport City introduces an innovative mixed-use community concept to the region, creating diverse tourism and business opportunities while also providing a dynamic lifestyle and family entertainment venue. The development will be directly in front of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, acting as a new hub gateway to Jeddah and beyond at the strategically important meeting point of the airport, the high-speed railway station to Makkah and Medina and the motorway junction between central Jeddah and the city’s Northern Expansion Zone.

US

With US$138.6 billion, the US has the highest value of construction projects in EXECUTION.

The Americas – Airport, Construction Project Pipeline, Value by Stage (US$ million)

In the US, where there is considerable activity on expanding existing airport infrastructure, many projects have been either put on hold or scaled back; these include projects such as the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, the Jacksonville International Airport and the Tampa International Airport. Meanwhile, some parts of the expansion of the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, the world’s busiest airport, including the hotel that has been planned for many years, have been delayed while the construction of the new five gates to the Concourse T has been accelerated. Moreover, in Florida, the state’s airport authority reduced the expansion of the US$2.7 billion airport project from 19 gates to 15 gates, while in California, developers postponed the construction of a US$1 billion terminal at San Francisco International Airport for six months. Construction of the terminal was previously scheduled to start in June 2020.

Nonetheless, many construction projects at some major airports have been sped up as authorities take advantage of the quiet time to fast track projects while fewer passenger are present. Among the projects are the LaGuardia Airport in New York, the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Chattanooga Airport in Tennessee.

Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific markets remain the largest for air travel, accounting for 34.6% of the global market in July 2020. As economies are slowly bouncing back, air travel activities in 2021 are set to recover driven by rapid population growth in the region, coupled with economic growth, will continue to expand the affluent middle-class market, which will underpin long-term demand for air travel.

The highest value airport project in the region is the US$18.3 billion Hong Kong International Airport Three-Runway System (3RS), which involves the construction of a new runway that would involve reclamation of around 650ha of land on Chek Lap Kok Island, Hong Kong.

The 3RS project is more than a new runway. Its scale is almost equivalent to building a new airport next to the existing one. It involves:

  • Reclamation of approximately 650 hectares of land north of the existing airport island (equivalent to 34 Victoria Parks, or 100 artificial islands for the New Wing of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre). Non-dredge methods, including deep cement mixing technique will be used for reclamation.
  • Building the Third Runway Passenger Building with more than 280,000 square metres of floor area, a total of 57 new parking positions (frontal: 34, remote: 23) and an apron.
  • Building a 3,800-metre-long new runway and its supporting taxiway systems. The existing north runway will also be reconfigured.
  • Building a 2,600-metre-long new Automated People Mover (APM) system connecting Terminal 2 with the new passenger building. This new APM system travels at a top speed of 80km/h and would take 2.5 minutes to travel from Terminal 2 to the new passenger building. It can transport up to 10,800 passengers per hour.
  • Building a new Baggage Handling System (BHS) linking Terminal 2 with the new passenger building with a baggage transport speed of 7 to 10m/sec.
  • Expansion of the existing Terminal 2 to provide arrivals, departures and full-fledged passenger services.
  • Construction of other associated airport support infrastructure, road network and transportation facilities.

Europe

Europe is a mature market for air transport, with slow growth and activity based on upgrading or expanding existing airport facilities. The COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent travel restrictions imposed across much of Europe severely hampered air traffic in the first half of the year. The Airport Council International Europe (ACI-Europe) reported that passenger air traffic decreased by 96.4% in the second quarter of the year. During the peak of the virus outbreak in April, airport passenger traffic fell by 99% on a year on year basis in Europe, however the situation has somewhat improved over the last few months with the ACI reporting a 69% fall in airport traffic in August.

With a high risk of a second wave of inflections later this year, flight restrictions are set to remain in place until the virus subsides or a vaccine is found. This will come as a major blow to the airports across the continent which are among the most popular in the world. ACI-Europe registered passenger traffic of 2.4 billon through Europe’s airports in 2019, up by 32.3% since 2014. The figures released for 2019 by the ACI show freight traffic declined by -1.9%, while aircrafts movements increased by 1.1%. The top five European airports in 2019 by passenger traffic were London (LHR) with 80.8 million, Paris (CDG) with 76.2 million, Amsterdam (AMS) with 71.7 million, Frankfurt (FRA) with 70.5 million and Istanbul (IST) with 68.5 million.

Europe – Airport, Construction Project Pipeline, Top 10 Countries by Funding Mode (% of Total Pipeline Value)

 The only high value project in Europe is the US$36.4 billion Istanbul New Airport, which is 40km away from the center of Istanbul, and would be the third airport in the city. The second highest value project in the region is the US$18.2 billion Heathrow Airport Expansion, which involves the construction of a 3,500m long third runway at Heathrow Airport in London. The project is set to begin at the end of 2021 and is expected to be completed by 2026.

With the economy slowly starting to recover, airport construction projects that were halted will resume and already on-going projects – whether in execution or pre-execution stage – will see a boom in passenger management efficiency.

End.

Sources:

https://www.flightglobal.com/air-transport/amid-pandemic-hit-whither-asia-pacifics-mega-airport-projects/138080.article

https://www.archpaper.com/2020/06/some-airport-construction-projects-grounded-by-coronavirus-travel-downturn/

GlobalData: © GlobalData Plc 2020 | Registered Office: John Carpenter House, John Carpenter Street, London, EC4Y 0AN, UK | Registered in England No. 03925319

https://www.threerunwaysystem.com/en/overview/project-overview/

Top 4 reasons behind Tower Crane accidents and Measures to take to help prevent them from happening

Following the latest inspections by Abu Dhabi Municipality, we thought it useful to address the topic of tower crane safety.  Health and safety inspectors in Abu Dhabi have been on a campaign to impose strict compliance with safety regulations at site. Hundreds of building sites each month have received a visit from the government authority to help protect workers operating at dizzying heights. The inspectors assess all the slip-ups around scaffolds and tower cranes to ensure the workers are not at risk of falls or being hit by falling objects. They have also been examining resting areas on construction sites and also check whether workers are given personal protective equipment such as helmets and hard-soled, slip-resistant shoes, and face masks and gloves to prevent transmission of the coronavirus.

Working at height poses risk regardless of the equipment. However, with tower cranes, because it involves people and material working at significant height and free floating in the air on top of buildings, roads, and people – the risk is noteworthy. If we take the US as an example, 8% of the country’s workforce is in the construction industry yet, of all of the work-related deaths each year, the construction industry accounts for more than 22%. What’s more, construction workers are 71% more likely to suffer serious and life-changing injuries when compared with all employees in other industries put together. When we look at where these accidents are happening, crane accidents and falls are the leading causes of death in the industry.

Around the world, each year there are around 30 major accidents involving tower cranes causing an average of 50 deaths per year (maybe even higher as some countries are not reporting their accidents). These figures are staggering considering they can be avoided. In this article, we explore the top reasons, statistically, for tower crane accidents. We then look at the different active and reactive measures contractors can take to prevent accidents from happening.

Reasons behind tower crane accidents

Erection/Dismantle and Climbing: These factors account for 42% of tower crane accidents. The main reasons behind this is the failure to understand the load required for the mobile crane and to properly follow instructions of erection, dismantling, jacking up indicated by the manufacturer.

In Operation: 27% of accidents occur ‘in operation’, as in while the tower crane is working. Reasons driving this are lack of proper maintenance causing mechanical or electrical malfunctions, structural failures.

Operator Error: 13% of accidents occur due to an error by the tower crane operator. In many countries like in UK or South Korea, the tower crane operator is certified just like you would any engineer. A lot of training and assessment goes into allowing operators to be on site. When accidents happen due to operator mistake, the primary assumption is that the operator did not receive proper, up to date certification or training. Other reasons could be bad visibility from weather or for not respecting the manufacturer’s instructions or tampering with safety limits. This is why it is essential for tower crane operators to be trained and certified. The tower crane operators ideally would need to be trained enough to do daily checks for preventive maintenance.

‘Mother Nature’: 10% of tower crane accidents are caused by earthquakes and wind. Wind is probably the biggest enemy of tower cranes. It is noteworthy however that some of the accidents from wind might be due to the operator not properly shutting down the crane. Wind is the most important element to consider followed by soil. This is why each tower crane configuration will depend on the wind level of the country in which it is operating in. For Potain for example, we have catalogues based on the Wind Codes that follow that FEM, C25, D25, C50, D50, E50, among others. Depending on the country’s wind code, the tower crane configuration will change.

Because of the importance of wind, NFT has a Technical Design department specialized in studying every project based on wind, load and soil bearing capacity with tower crane configuration and location. Proper planning and wind code knowledge is key to choosing the right machine in the right configuration.

According to FEM 1004 Edition 07/2000

Wind is more important to be considered during ‘Crane out of service’ than during operation. Indeed, sites surroundings have a strong influence on wind behavior. Special studies are required in some cases by third parties and contractors/suppliers need to follow new wind code regulations at all times.

Important: the wind speed indicated during installation/dismantling or jacking up (around 50 KM/H depending on the country), should be less than the wind speed allowed  during service (around 72 KM/H depending on the country)- however this is just the mean wind speed and can be exceeding in gusts. The surface area of loads exposed to wind is considered as less than or equal to 1 sq. m/t. If this value is exceeded, the service or ”operating” wind speed should be restricted to less than 72 km/h.

OUT OF SERVICE THE CRANE HAS TO ALWAYS BE IN WEATHERVANNING POSITIONS

Unknown: 8% of accidents reported between 2000 and 2009 had unknown causes. They fall into this category either because there isn’t enough information.

Close calls: Unfortunately, it is common to see unsafe tower crane practices and close calls. If you ask someone who has been working in this industry for a number of decades they will tell you that things are the same as they always have been.

Tower cranes do not have complexities in their design. They are basic in principle and their operating principles and erection procedures have not changed very much at all in the last 30 years. Despite this, there still continues to be tower crane accidents but it has to be said that a lot of these are completely avoidable.

Accident Example New York City, 2012

In 2012, a tower crane at the World Trade Center sent its load crashing down from 40 stores high. Thankfully it crashed back down onto the truck that it had just been hoisted from and there were no reported injuries. The load being carried weighed 40,000 pounds (18,000 kg). This type of crane can hoist up to 18,000 kg on a single-line pull and can move 190 meters each minute. So what was the reason why this crane shed its load in such a dramatic way?

In October 2011, it was reported that there was a rope that was rubbing at a bolt. When simple rubbing occurs, it doesn’t mean anything needs to be replaced. If an individual wire is flattened to two-thirds its original diameter, we can consider the wire to be broken. Crown breaks would also be determined as broken so this would have been sorted out. It leads us to ask if the company that replaced the cable didn’t deal with the cause of the rubbing. But we must also presume that the crane had been inspected after this point too and so it would have been spotted. Could the wrong rope have been installed? Load lines for tower cranes are designed at a ratio of 5:1, which means that if you have an 18,000 kg capacity on a line pull, you would need a rope that 91,000 kg capacity. The reasons aren’t clear but what is certain is that you should never miss a daily crane inspection!

Measures to be taken to Prevent Tower Crane Accidents

Tower crane accidents are rarely minor occurrences. When a tower crane comes crashing down, there are serious consequences for all involved. That said, there are many things you can do to help prevent tower crane accidents. As described , The vast majority of tower crane accidents are down to human error. The technology of tower cranes is pretty much the same as it was decades ago yet they are still a huge cause of fatalities in the workplace. However, there are several measures that can be put into place to make working with tower cranes much safer.

Preventive Measures

Before using any crane, it should be inspected thoroughly by a qualified person. Training the tower crane operator to do daily maintenance checks is extremely beneficial and efficient.

The structure itself must have a more thorough inspection regularly to determine whether it has worn-out ropes, faulty wiring, a crack or any damaged part that could lead to an accident. If it is noticed that something is damaged, the modification or repair must be done by a tower crane technician that has the qualifications and experience.

The foundation is an integral part of the tower crane as it is what holds the crane steady. It’s important that the tower crane’s foundation and structural supports are designed by either a professional structural engineer, specialized in foundation design. At NFT we always encourage contractors to have the foundation designed for an expert who will follow the manufacturer’s manual and recommendations and design based on reactions provided by the manufacturer. If there is concrete in the foundation for fixing angle, the design of the concrete needs to be done by an expert and is the sole responsibility of the contractor.

During Operations

When more than one tower crane are working simultaneously, it is important to add anti-collision or to study the location and configuration of these cranes to avoid collision. In general, the location of the tower cranes not only depends on the radius coverage and construction plan, but also the location vis-à-vis the site: example cranes must be at least 3 meters (10 ft) away from any electrical cables.

In terms of load, the crane should not carry more than it is designed for. The operator should make sure the safety device on the crane is functioning properly.

Load setting should be carried out by a rigger who has the necessary qualifications and experience. Many accidents happen because of lack of proper communication between rigger and operator. Contractors should ensure that these two parties are interdependently working together.

Regular Maintenance

Poor maintenance inevitably leads to mechanical failures. Many accidents could be prevented with proper preventive maintenance. Indeed, absence or poor maintenance will lead to:

  1. Lower productivity
  2. Uncontrolled movements
  3. Risk on Safety of the operators (crane drivers, fitters, technician)
  4. Fall of the load
  5. Fall of the Crane

When doing preventive maintenance, the specialized tower crane technician needs to check for:

Control : Aspect, corrosion, wear, deformation, excessive play of assembly, noise, vibrations, presence of filings, lack of lubrication, electric insulation, connections, cabling, watertightness.

Measures : Dimension of the borings of the assemblies by axes, state of rolling way, dimension of the axes, play of the axes of articulation, play of the mechanical assemblies, the dimension of axles and coupling, analysis of lubricants …

Criteria: State, deformation, out of quotation, excessive play, insufficient thickness, unsatisfactory functioning …

Recommendation : Repair, restoration or replacement of the defective components…

Avoid counterfeit parts

When choosing a tower crane or a tower crane part, brand quality is key. Many contractors opt for cheap / quick options in order to save time and money. However by doing so they are putting their site and their people at risk. This tunnel vision focuses on short term gains but in the long run, counterfeit parts will bring huge risk with very little gain! We recommend working with dealers who provided genuine parts from the manufacturer.

As a general note, when making a purchase – Don’t forget:

  • The choice of a reputable brand
  • Tower crane set up and commissioning
  • Tower Crane operation and usage
  • Planning and study of all macro and micro factors
  • Maintenance
  • OEM spare parts
  • Brand awareness and resale value
  • Training and education
  • Price is not the only determinant for ROI

Proper training

Proper and continuous training for all those working around tower cranes will minimize human error. Contractors will benefit from making sure their teams are up to date with the latest certifications – investing in your people will reap benefits beyond any cost.

The Safety First! Campaign from November 2017 until Spring 2019 allowed NFT and Potain to go around client sites of NFT in the UAE, KSA and Kuwait, that have a large volume of tower cranes to raise awareness on safety practices. This was an initiative that NFT and Potain took on without any cost implications on clients because it was important to ensure that the basics of safety around tower cranes were applied. The Safety First! Campaign allowed NFT’s QHSE, Operations Managers and Potain’s top management to have direct and on the ground interaction with all those involved with the tower cranes. During the twenty-minute induction on how to work safely on Potain Tower Cranes, operator, riggers and supervisors learn the importance of daily checks, proper communication, wind effect as well as load handling; they also learn what to do during extreme weather conditions, the start and end of a shift, how to conduct basic maintenance checks and how to solve basic breakdowns. Each person was handed a bag with basic PPE and Potain’s Tower Crane safety booklet that is translated into five languages: Urdu, Hindi, Arabia, Turkish and English.

End.

Sources:

http://towercranesupport.com/09article.php

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/osha-s-guidelines-in-preventing-crane-accidents-7927#:~:text=Make%20sure%20the%20crane%20is,from%20going%20near%20the%20crane.

https://www.windcrane.com/blog/construction/wind-speed-turbulence-intensity-cranes

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2015/09/13/Crane-accidents-from-around-the-world.html

http://towercranesupport.com/09article.php

http://towercraneaccidents.blogspot.com/  

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/on-patrol-with-abu-dhabi-s-skyscraper-inspectors-1.1084510

How IoT is Changing the Construction Industry

Following our articles on the Impact of digital technology and online trading on the crane and construction market and Digital Technology Improving Efficiency in Construction Machinery, we thought it would be essential to address the issue of Technology in the Construction industry with the COVID-19 pandemic which has accelerated the need to be connected. Indeed, the investment in Technology is no long a luxury or an option, it has become a necessity for companies to work. With the ever-present Coronavirus pandemic, managers cannot afford time to be wasted or for vehicles to have downtime that isn’t planned for. Technology innovations allow for fleet operators to capture, analyse and transform their data from mobile assets and equipment into insights that are actionable. In this fast-changing world, it’s essential for managers to know the status and location of their high-demand and high-value assets as well as their tools and equipment.

 Drones

It’s easy to understand why the construction industry was one of the first users of drones and the success of these in the industry have brought about huge changes. Currently, the industry uses drones for tasks like assessing structural damage, surveying a site and collecting data in the management of earthworks. Drones have the advantage of being able to see where people can’t and, what’s more, they’re safer in many dangerous places like buildings with structural damage.

Drones give workers a bird’s eye view of a project and can take snapshots from angles otherwise not seen from the ground. These functionalities have had a huge impact on the construction industry and their use is set to continue rising. With drones in use, there is a lesser risk to workers in terms of injury and projects also operate at maximum efficiency.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

When it comes to innovation potential, AI, autonomous vehicles and robots certainly have a great deal. It often isn’t well known but the construction industry has a huge amount of data that comes in every second, minute and hour and the truth is that no person on earth has enough time to sift through it all properly. The most valuable potential for IoT in construction is to use machine learning to assist in extracting meaningful insights from all the collected data and put it together in a way that is analysed with ease. For example, if in a new housing estate there are over a thousand issues, it would be impossible for all of these to be read and acted upon quickly. Machine learning has the potential to develop this area hugely.

Cloud-based tech

The use of cloud-based technology is arguably one of the biggest opportunities for investment. This technology means that everyday workflows and processes can be streamlined and all staff can have easy access to data. What’s more, it allows for continuous communication with the stakeholders for a project. Furthermore, this technology can help to mitigate risks as it reduces disputes in contracts. Disputes can be easily managed via diligent tracking and can be stopped from turning potentially disastrous for the company. For example, contract disputes play a significant role in poor financial results. If the risks can be managed well with cloud-based technology, companies can reduce the financial impact that disputes can cause.

How IoT can assist and improve the workforce: “INVESTING IN TECHNOLOGY IS INVESTING IN THE WORKFORCE”

IoT can create smart workers who work smarter. For example, technology has the ability to track the use of equipment and tools on a construction site and can pinpoint their location accurately. This can help workers who are on large sites with shared resources. Managers can use this technology to make sure that the whereabouts of equipment are known and therefore time will not be wasted by workers looking for a specific tool or piece of equipment. Tools can be given electronic tags that send beacons to a receiver that is located at the site. The receivers map out the precise locations of the beacons and show their location on a smartphone or device. There are lots of different systems available, including COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) systems. The systems are also able to track personnel when on-site so that managers and colleagues don’t spend time hunting for a specific person or waiting for a colleague.

Bluetooth for tracking

With construction operations continuing to change rapidly, being able to control and oversee the company’s assets is more important than ever before. With Bluetooth smart sensors, managers can monitor and protect their assets (service equipment, tools, etc.) to make sure that nothing is left unattended or left behind and is in the right place. This system improves efficiency. If some equipment happens to be misplaced, the technology will show its last known location and thus workers will be able to find the piece of equipment quickly without time being wasted.

NFT embraces RFID solution for Fleet Management!

 If the Covid-19 pandemic has done anything, it’s to accelerate the need for businesses to embrace digital transformation. NFT in December 2019 has concluded a deal with a UK based company and its UAE local representative to track its large fleet of tower cranes using Radio Frequency Identification Device (or RFID) solution. All tower cranes, construction hoists and their respective parts and accessories are tagged and then linked to an asset tracking and management software. This in turn is then integrated with NFT’s software solution for Inventory Management and Asset Evaluation.

“Having the world’s leading fleet of tower cranes spread across 300,000 sqm calls for an automated way of tracking our Asset” says Plant Manager Amer Sneij. “Relying on a manual/offline solution was fine 20 something years ago when we had just a few hundred cranes spread across three medium sized yards, but today with 2,500 tower cranes, 500 hoists, 10,00o plus accessory types and a warehouse filled with spare parts, the old way has become a challenge”.

With an average turnover of one crane delivered per day and catering to multiple destinations worldwide, technology has become a necessity for NFT. “The objective is to minimize human error and wastage while optimizing inventory managing, strategic planning and “real time” decision making. IoT, RFID, Asset Tracking have become standard in the construction, logistics and oil and gas industries. We believe that NFT’s strategy for modernization and compliance with international standards of trading, allows it to be in the perfect position to adopt this technology and benefit from its operational efficiencies and cost saving” added Nagham Al Zahlawi, Deputy General Manager.

A customized cloud-based system has been developed from scratch to match NFT’s process of fleet tracking, storing, loading, inspecting, assembling, mobilizing and re-stocking. For example, and to avoid loading tower crane parts on trucks or containers without any missing piece, an automated gate barrier at the workshop only opens when the reader scans all parts on board and signals that it’s good to go. “This was an important feature to add because the worse thing that can happen on site during installation is for us to deliver a crane part with a piece missing, like a pin. It can holt the entire installation, delaying the project for the client” added Amer Sneij.  Once the workflow was developed, two  tagging teams were assigned to complete the job on the ground. The teams are comprised of a Logistics Manager, two Logistics Supervisors, two Welders and four Logistics helpers. The teams have successfully tagged 200 tower cranes from July to September 2020 and aims to complete Phase 1 by Q1 2021. The next phase will be to track all construction hoists.

In crisis mode, it is vital to be as proactive as possible. IoT and telematics solutions alleviate the pain in searching for reactive answers through prevention and protection while optimizing processes and controlling costs. There is no better time to invest in Technology than now!

End.

Sources:

https://constructionexec.com/article/construction-tech-trends-to-watch-in-2020

https://constructionexec.com/article/smarter-construction-with-iot

https://constructionexec.com/article/three-ways-fleet-telematics-are-optimizing-construction-in-the-new-normal

Zooming-in on the Infrastructure Sector

Perhaps this time last year, the construction industry was preparing for the upcoming year with some of the biggest projects in mind. However, 2020 had both good & bad news for this industry. Earlier this year, predictions were made on how the construction industry would not be able to match its performance in comparison to the previous years. With the outbreak of COVID-19, hope seemed to fade away. Experts said the growth curve could stay flat this year; considering the strong 2018-19 year.

Governments and public authorities will likely be aiming to advance spending on infrastructure projects as soon as normality returns so as to reinvigorate the industry. This will be spread across all areas of transport infrastructure and energy and utilities. With interest rates falling to record lows, borrowing costs will be at a minimum, but the success of government efforts to spend heavily on infrastructure will be dependent in part on their current financial standing. Moreover, with most governments prioritizing cash hand-outs, particularly to the economically weaker segment, their capability to invest in the infrastructure segment is likely to be constrained, especially in countries with high debts. The decline in commodity prices due to slower global demand, however, will negatively impact the fiscal health of governments in major commodity exporting economies, in addition to reduce new investment in the oil and gas sector in particular.

Although the challenges faced by the sector are plenty, there came along several opportunities and some governments have not stopped their initial plan to invest in infrastructure despite the pandemic:   the demand for better services- from healthcare to construction industries- has brought into attention a few key projects that authorities will have to – or continue to- focus on. These projects also shed light on the concerns for many developing nations as they will have to strengthen their educational, hygiene, and health industries.

Projects in the Gulf Region

In April 2020, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf came up with plans targeting the utility and transport domains. These projects are to cover the GCC region and will cost $5.5 billion. A significant part of the total amount, 67%, has been contributed by Saudi Arabia.

Many top journals and reports have pointed out that the construction market of GCC is evaluated to be worth $2.4 trillion. They had over 23,000 ongoing projects in the region before the end of April. With the launch of more new projects, GCC members have taken a prudent step towards future growth and development.

As Their approach was affected by the virus outbreak and the sudden drop in the oil prices, they had to face uncertainties. The local industries have been hit badly. The authorities have been continuously working to make the most of this opportunity. This renewal of all sectors is being called as Post-COVID Expo. Multiple plans are also being developed to streamline and smooth-down the transition phase. GCC is still working on these plans, and there are numerous amendments yet to be done.

Expanding the Railway Network

Photo credits: Etihad Rail.

An example of how priority investments will continue is the UAE’s focus on the Rail Network and its expansion. CRRC Corporation Limited has been allowed to manufacture 824 wagons which will be made based on the regulations set by GCC and will have the best in class communication control, braking, safety, and signaling systems. They will be custom-made to perform even in harsh weather or environmental conditions. Etihad Rail is looking over the process of this project and aims to raise the railway to be the primary mode of freight haulage on the Emirates. The association also states that after stage 2 is appropriately executed this could link the entire nation together. This could connect the Khorfakkan & Fujairah to Ghuweifat together. It is being said that this new project would help the region in connecting the principal trading centres and industrial ports.

The list includes the Port of Fujairah, Khalifa Port, Jebel Ali, and even ICAD / Mussafah’ it will also promote cross-border rail traffic with GCC. According to the Chairman of Etihad Rail, after the completion of this project, they will have a hike in their annual rail transport. The capacity will rise to 59 million tones and will also support nationwide railway network links.

Photo credits: Etihad Rail.

Etihad Rail is planning to bring a revolutionizing change in the logistics and freight transport industries of the United Arab Emirates. Through this, they will be able to establish a proper connection between the end-users and operators. They will be supporting the industrial sectors, primarily the combined transport domain while addressing the consumer requirements effectively. The Etihad Rail has been working towards the UAE’s vision that reflects sustainable transportation is crucial for economic growth.

Development of Sharjah

Similar prospects are being decided for the 3rd largest city of UAE- Sharjah. Their Ministry of Infrastructure Development has come up with three new project plans for the city. These 3 plans are designed especially for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Interior. These projects will have an estimated price of $66 million and will cover buildings for the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs. It will also include structures for the Deportation Prison and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Southern Region at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development  (MOID) Director -Munira Abdul Kareem claims that all these projects will be made using sustainable techniques.

The Ministry is planning on implementing all these projects in an environmentally friendly way.

Riyadh Metro

Photo Credit: Riyadh Metro.

ArRiyadh Development Authority(ADA) is undertaking the construction of the Riyadh metro project in Riyadh city of Saudi Arabia. The metro project is part of Riyadh’s Public Transport Project (RPTP) plan that was approved by the Council of Ministers on April 23, 2012. The plan has been prepared by the High Authority for the development of the city of Riyadh.The project is also known as ‘King Abdul Aziz Public Transportation Project’.

The current daily traffic demand is 7.4 million traffic trips, out of which almost 90% is met by private automobile, the daily demand is expected to exceed 12 million traffic trips by the year 2030. This huge increase in traffic coupled with high dependence on the automobile has led to severe traffic congestion, especially during peak hours on the major roads of the city’s transportation system. In order to meet growing challenge of the rapid urban growth, the ADA, the City’s planning body under the jurisdiction of High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh, has carried out a number of metropolitan strategic studies, with a sustainable public transportation system as a cornerstone, with the aim of reducing automobile dependence and significantly improving the level of service of the transportation system.

Photo Credit: Riyadh Metro.

The Metro project once complete will incorporate six main routes covering a total length of about 176km. More than 73.4km of the metro in the capital would be underground. The underground tunnels are 41.7 percent of the total length of the project. This new public transit system provides citizens with advanced solutions for moving around the city easily, currently still under construction despite the pandemic, Riyadh Metro is being built by a consortia of 23 international companies. With driverless trains cars equipped with cutting-edge technologies and Wi-Fi, Riyadh metro project offers integrated solutions starting with cars parking spaces, multi-lines bus network, and cutting-edge. NFT has installed 28 Potain tower cranes though its sister company in Riyadh Arabian Towers Company including six MCT 205 models and twelve MC 310 K12 models.

Projects in Egypt

The government had planned to boost capital expenditure by 40% in FY2019/20 (starting June), with a focus on the power and transport sectors. In July, the Electricity Holding Company stated that it was seeking an EGP20 billion (US$1.2 billion) loan to increase the national electricity grid’s capacity by 145 MW. For the transport sector, Public Enterprises Minister Hisham Tawfik announced the formation of a new transport entity to support local products and foreign trade, as well as the railway modernization program which will expand the metro, introduce light rail and increase rail freight capacity to reach 25m tonnes by 2022. With a population of approximately 17 million, Cairo is one of the most densely populated cities in Africa. Operated by Egyptian National Railways (ENR), its railway system transports nearly 500 million passengers and 12 million tons of freight each year. Cairo Metro is the first metro network in Africa and has been operational since 1990. The network consists of two lines, and a further two are planned. Line 2 was built in 1987, Line 3 A major part of the Line 3 will be underground construction began in 2007, and construction of Line 4 is yet to commence.

However, in a blow to infrastructure investment growth, particularly for railways, international loans of EGP30.8 billion (US$1.8 billion) allocated for railway projects will not be disbursed until mid 2021 as lenders reprioritize financing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Transport Ministry was hoping to access EGP25.7 billion (US$1.5 billion) in funding for the project to convert the 22-km Abu Qir-Alexandria railway into a subway, and a further EGP5.1 billion (US$300 million) to add additional tracks to several passenger lines. Lenders for the projects include the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the French Development Agency (FDA). Egypt’s National Authority for Tunnels (NAT) is pushing ahead with evaluating bids for civil works packages for the planned western route Cairo Metro line 4. NAT is also in negotiations with Japan’s Mitsubishi and Orascom for the metro line’s eastern route civil works package. The Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) has postponed the tender closing date for the contract to build the infrastructure to facilitate electricity interconnection between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, due to the ongoing virus outbreak. It has stated that the successful bidder will be announced in June. The estimated budget for the interconnection line is EGP27.4 billion (US$1.6 billion), and it paves the way towards establishing a unified Arab electrical network.

Projects outside MENA

Difficulties financing infrastructure and energy projects will also constrain the expansion of the construction industry.

USA: Since taking office in 2016, President Donald Trump has pushed for a US$1 trillion infrastructure plan but although both Republicans and Democrats have acknowledged the need for more infrastructure investment, neither side seems to agree on how to finance infrastructure. Furthermore, with the federal government deficit amounting to US$2.8 trillion in the 10 months to July 2020 and uncertainty over the upcoming presidential elections, the prospects of Congress passing a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan remains very low. On July 1st, the US House of Representatives approved a US$1.5 trillion infrastructure investment plan by a 233-to-188 vote to boost spending on infrastructure – including broadband, clean energy, water, transport, school and housing infrastructure as well as many other projects that will help enhance the country’s crumbling and aging infrastructure and make US infrastructure more resilient to climate change risk – but the White House and Senate Republicans opposed the measure.

Russia: Russian construction output is expected to contract by 4.8% in 2020, with a major downside risk being the sharp decline in oil prices. A significant chunk of government revenues are derived from oil exports, and as this begins to decline in the coming months, major publicly-funded infrastructure construction projects could be pushed back or cancelled outright.

Turkey: As the economic outlook worsens and the government’s fiscal position set to weaken due to the virus outbreak, the construction sector is also set to be adversely affected. Infrastructure construction will be particularly affected. Prior to the crisis the government had been financing major infrastructure projects across the country, but it is likely that it may not have the ability to fund large scale infrastructure projects in the medium term. Commercial construction will also be adversely affected, with global tourism set to collapse this summer, particularly in the leisure and hospitality sectors, leisure and hospitality building construction are set to contract by 12.9% in 2020

Czech Republic: Although the country took steps at the end of April to ease some of the COVID-19 containment measures, the construction sector has been disrupted, with reported delays in commercial and residential projects. However, the government is pushing ahead with infrastructure developments, announcing that preparation of state orders for transport infrastructure works have been approved, with planned spending increased by CZK6.5 billion (US$0.26 billion) above the current budget.

China: Investment activities started picking up in March in China, and showed a further improvement in April, with the latest data showing investments in real estate development growing by 7% year on year in April, which followed marginal growth of 1.1% in March and a 16.3% contraction during the first two months. To support the ongoing recovery, the Chinese government has accelerated the launch of new projects. According to the NBS, the country had 22,693 projects underway at the end of April, of which 5,614 projects are large projects (those valued at more than CNY100 million). The number of projects had increased 10,695 in April. Reflecting the acceleration in the disbursement of funds for infrastructure, which will help support a recovery in construction activity in the coming quarters, GlobalData expects construction output growth of 1.9% in China in 2020.

Many governments are likely to attempt to accelerate infrastructure projects to generate growth momentum and provide economy stimuli. Their successes will depend greatly on their capacity to continue to fund such schemes while dealing with the hit to their fiscal positions from the economic downturn and support packages for households and private businesses.

End.

Source:

https://constructionexec.com/article/expectations-for-infrastructure-investment-plummet-globally-as-covid-19-outbreak-shakes-confidence

https://meconstructionnews.com/41983/ministry-of-infrastructure-development-announces-66m-worth-of-projects-in-sharjah

https://meconstructionnews.com/42766/etihad-rail-awards-crrc-corporation-contract-to-triple-fleet-sets-sights-on-annual-capacity-of-59mn-tonnes

https://meconstructionnews.com/41650/infrastructure-and-transport-drive-5-5bn-boost-to-gcc-projects-in-april

https://www.etihadrail.ae/

http://riyadhmetro.sa/en/projectoverview/

https://construction.globaldata.com

Cairo Metro

The Rise of Second Hand Construction Equipment Amidst COVID

It comes as no surprise that the outbreak of coronavirus affected the functioning of countries significantly, but it also affected specific industries, their production, and the supply chain. One such sector is the Construction industry with its halt in working and progress. However, this temporary break has given the domain time to plan, structure, and make a striking comeback.

By now, plenty of businesses have been actively preparing their long-term prospects and returning to the new normal working condition slowly. They are making changes and amendments to their operations accordingly to ensure the safety of their staff. Another requirement for this industry is to equip itself with proper machinery to meet future project demands.

For those considering second hand tower cranes, NFT has previously covered all factors to consider when make the decision to invest. 

 

What is the solution?

As supply has been affected due to “lockdowns”, the demand for new products has increased substantially. Moreover, taking a look at the requirement of used construction equipment- it is expected that this market will withstand the pressure and expand. It has now become a trend in the construction sector to purchase second-hand construction equipment.

One of the most prominent advantages of getting used construction equipment is that one can acquire these at much better and budget-friendly price than newer ones. Having a smooth working production line, with these pieces of equipment, can promote better productivity. These are also great for having reduced operational costs and fuel efficacy.

Getting second-hand construction equipment can make the business more agile. The used types of equipment are also ideal to be employed in short-term projects that have a specific requirement. With less value depreciation, you may even resell the equipment after the project is over. These are also the best options for projects that need a distinctive machine for a job.

With the economy slowly stepping back into its usual phase, the demand for the construction industry will increase as the global markets experience a boost in infrastructure. Therefore, this decision making would make a difference.

Highlighting the Advantages of Buying Second Hand Construction Equipment

  • Effective Budget-Management

As all construction businesses will be recovering from the sudden drop, they will have to keep a close eye on their budget and expenditure. This means that using second-hand equipment would be a reliable option; rather than buying expensive equipment or hiring agencies. This will also save you from making extra savings as the used equipment does not face a high-value depreciation as new ones. Additionally, the expenses on additional accessories, sales tax, and operational licenses will be saved.

 

  • Wider Variety of Equipment

As mentioned above, the supply of the construction equipment is scarce- this imposes that a limited product range will be made available to the buyers. However, if we look at the second-hand equipment market, it already consists of a wide range of products that are ready to be purchased. This could be a positive sign for the industry as they can have substitute machinery for the time being.

 

  • Ideal for Future Resell Prospects

Unlike the new machines, these equipment have low depreciation value; that will help collect good returns when sold again. The new equipment loses its value the moment it is taken out from the showroom; almost half of its total value. However, if you purchase used construction equipment make sure that you keep complete track of its performance, servicing, and all related information. The more information you provide for resale, the higher the price you get.

 

  • Finding Spare Parts is Easy

Whenever you buy second-hand equipment, there are chances that you will require a few spare or replacement parts. As these machines have been used before, they might get easily worn down. However, this aspect only adds on to the benefits of second-hand equipment. Just like the extensive equipment range, the availability of spares is effortless as well. You may also change the old part with a new and compatible one to enhance the equipment’s functioning.

  • An Eco-Friendly Choice

Reshaping the former industrial relations would become a challenge for many construction-related businesses. However, using equipment that has low carbon emission could help you establish the pre-COVID era image again. Second-hand construction equipment also decreases the generation of industrial waste. One can also get used recycling and waste-management units to control the waste generation.

  • What’s the Final Verdict?

While new machines can and will render dependable performance and quality assurances, buying second-hand construction equipment could be more advantageous. You can buy a machine as per your project demand and then trade it to other interested buyers. This means you will have to check your requirements adequately and then search for available options. These will support smoother operations, all while boosting your productivity.

Not only are these cost-effective options for the restart of the global market but also demand less input and can be improved by adding spare parts over time. As the supply of machines is delayed due to the ongoing pandemic- an innovative, definitive, and effective solution for the need for construction equipment in the industry can be fulfilled through the second-hand options.

NFT’s stock of second hand cranes 

SELF ERECTION
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch
IGO21 2008 24 8LVF9
IGO36 2004, 2005 32 15LVF10
IGO50 2008 40 15LVF10
GTMR360A 1977, 1981, 2004 30 to 40 PC
GTMR360B 2004 40 PC
GTMR386A 1987,1989,1990,1991,1992,1994,1997, 2002,2004, 2006,  2009 40 to 50 PC
GTMR386B 2006, 2007, 2008 40 to 55 PC
GTMR400A 1985, 1987, 1993, 1990 40 to 50 PC
EUROPEAN HAMMERHEAD RANGE
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MC80 1995 38 33PC MC1.2×1.2
MC85B 2004, 2005 40 25PC13 MC1.2×1.2
MD185-h10 2002 60 75LVF25 MD1.6X1.6
MD125A 1999 55 45RCS15 MD1.6X1.6
MD125A 2000 50 RCS MD1.6X1.6
MD150 1996 45 33LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MD175A 1992, 1998, 1999, 2000 45 to 55 33LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MD175B 2002 50 50LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MD208 2002 50 50LVF25 MD1.6×1.6
MD238 – 10T 2002, 2008 55 to 65 50LVF25 MD1.6X1.6 & MD 2×2
MD238 – 10T 2002 60 33LVF25 MD1.6X1.6
MD238 – 12 T 2008 65 100LVF30 MD2X2
MD238 – 12 T 2008 55 to 65 75LVF30 MD1.6X1.6 & MD2X2
MD238-12T 2003, 2004 60 to 65 50LVF30 MD1.6×1.6 & MD2x2
MD220 G12 1993 60 LVF MC2x2
MD235 1999, 2000 45 to 50 50LVF25
MD235A 12T 1999, 2000 60 50RCS30 MD2X2
MD235 1996, 1997 55 to 60 55RCS25 MD1.6X1.6
MD250J12 1993 60 to 65 55LTV 30 MD2X2
MD250J12 1993 45 70RCS30 MC2x2
MC265 1998 65 70RCS30 MC2x2
MD265B1 2006 50 50LVF30 MD2x2
MD265B 1999, 2008 30 to 65 75LVF30 MD2x2
MD265 1997, 1998 45 70RCS30 MD2x2
MD265A 1997, 1999 55 to 60 55RCS30D MD2x2
MD265 J12 1996 65 RCS MD2x2
MD265 2007 55 100LVF30 MD2X2
MD285 2000, 2004, 2005, 2006 2007 50 to 70 75LVF30 MD2X2
MD285A 12T 2000 60 50LVF30 MD2x2
MD305B 2000 60 75LVF30 MD 2X2
MD310 L12 2006 45 50 LVF 30 MD2x2
MD345B L12 2009 65 100LVF30 MD2x2
MD345B L12 1998 60 75LVF30 MD2x2
MD345B L12 2009 55 50LVF30 MD2X2
MD345B 16T 2000, 2001 75 75LVF40 MD2x2
MD365 L16 2007 55 75LVF30 MD2x2
MD485-25 2005 70 150LCC63 MD2.45×2.45
MD500 1993 70 55RCS40 K2.5×2.5
MD550 2003 80 150LCC63
MD550 2008 80 100LVF50 MD
MD900 1987 50 120LMD80 MD4X4
MD1100 2018 80 270LVF100 R98A
MD1100 2010 80 250LCC100 R98A
MD1100 2008 80 250LCC100 K4X4
ASIA HAMMERHEAD RANGE
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCI 85A 2013 50 25PC13 MC1.2×1.2
MC115B 2005, 2010 50 33PC15 MC1.6X1.6
MC125B 1997, 2014, 2015 60 33PC15 MC1.6X1.6
MC125 2018 60 40LVF15 MC1.6×1.6
MC175B 2007, 2008 60 45RCS25 MC1.6×1.6
MC175B 2008 60 50LVF20 MC1.6×1.6
MC175C 2018 60 60LVF20 MC1.6×1.6
MC180-2C 1997 55 70RCS25 MC1.6X1.6
MC180-2C 1997 50 55RCS25 MC2x2
MC180-2C 1996 45 55RCS MC1.6X1.6
MC205B 2011 60 55RCS25 MC2X2
MC235A 1998 65 55RCS30 MC2x2
MC235 2006, 2005 65 50LVF25 MC2x2
MC235BJ10 2011 65 75LVF25 MC2X2
MC235BJ10 2014 65 55RCS25 MC2X2
MC235BJ10 1998 65 33LVF25 M2X2
MC235C 2016, 2017 65 60LVF25 MC2X2
MC300L12 1998 60 70 RCS30 MC2X2
MC310 K12 2010 70 50LVF30 MC2x2
MC310 K12 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2019 70 70RCS30 MC2x2
MC310 K12 2006, 2009,  2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 40 75LVF30 MC2x2
MC310 K16 2014, 2015 70 75LVF40 M2X2
MC465 2018 80 100LVF63 M619
MC475 2017 80 100LVF63 R87
EUROPEAN FLAT TOP RANGE
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCT88 2007 52 LVF MC1.2×1.2
MDT178 2005, 2006, 2007 50 to 60 33LVF20 MD1.6X1.6
MDT268 J12 2009 65 100LVF30 MD2x2
MDT368 L12 2009 60 to 75 75LVF30 MD2X2
MDT368 L16 2009 75 100LVF40 MD2x2
MDT368 L16 2009 50 to 75 75LVF30 MD2x2

 

 

ASIA FLAT TOP RANGE
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCT85-F5 2015 52m 25PC15 MC1.2×1.2
MCT205-10 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019 65 60LVF25 MC2X2
MCT325 L12 2019 75 75LVF30 MC2X2
MCT385B-14T 2016, 2017 75 75LVF35 M619A
MCT385 2C 2019 75 75LVF35 L69B2
MCT385 2C 2019 75 75LVF35 M619
MCT385 2C 2019 75 75LVF35 MC2x2
MCT385-20 2014 30 to 75 100LVF50 M2x2

 

EUROPEAN LUFFING RANGE
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MR160B 2004 50 50LVF25 MD1.6X1.6
MR160C 2008 50 100LVF25 MD1.6×1.6
MR160C 2008 50 75LVF25 MD1.6×1.6
MR220B 2003 150LCC30 MD2x2
MR225A 2006, 2010 55 100LVF35 MD2X2
MR295 2010 60 150LVF63GH MD2x2
MR415 2010 60 180LBR120 MD2.45×2.45
MR418 2016 60 150LVF120 MD2.45×2.45
MR418SP 2016 60 270LVF120 2.45X2.45
MR608 2018 60 270LVF80 MD2.45×2.45
ASIA LUFFING RANGE
Type Y.O.M Jib (m) Hoist winch Mast type (m)
MCR160 2017 50 60LVF25 MC1.6X1.6 & MC2x2
MCR225 2008, 2009, 2017 55 75LVF35 MC2X2
MCR225 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2018, 2019 55 100LVF35 MC2x2
MCR295-20 2018 60 100LVF50 M619
MCR295-20 2018 60 150LVF50 M619

End.

Sources:

http://www.construction-today.com/editor-s-blog/2514-the-advantages-of-buying-used-construction-equipmenthttps://national-lift-equipment.nleq.com/why-used-construction-equipment-is-a-better-buyhttps://www.plantandequipment.com/blog/advantages-of-buying-used-construction-equipmenthttps://www.rbauction.com/blog/5-advantages-to-buying-used-vs-new-heavy-equipment-trucks-https://blog.ringpower.com/post/Used-Construction-Equipment-Value-Guide.aspx#:~:text=The%20most%20obvious%20benefit%20to%20buying%20used%20construction,greater%20fuel%20efficiency%20and%20lower%20operating%20costs%20overallhttps://www.hklaw.com/en/insights/publications/2020/05/a-look-at-covid19-impacts-on-the-construction-industry

The rise of PPVC and Precast Construction

The construction industry witnessed the rise in concern to change existing designs, construction processes and enhance construction productivity. In an attempt to reach efficient solutions, the industry embraced the concept of Design for Manufacturing Assembly.

DFMA is a new approach that has made its way in the industry. This concept allows for planning work to be done off-site, due to which there is reduced wastage of time and labour to complete construction projects. It ensures a safe work environment and reduces the negative impact on the living environment. Prefabrication methods are now intensively used to improve construction production in the labour-intensive industry.

Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction is a new technology that supports the approach of DFMA. It focuses on speeding the construction process and productivity.  PPVC is a construction method where volumetric modules are manufactured and assembled in a fabricated facility according to the ascribed fabrication methods, and then the modules, including ceiling, floor, finishes for walls, are installed in a building under building works.

The rise in importance of PPVC is due to the benefits it provides as follows:

  • Improved Productivity: PPVC allows for a reduction in on-site construction activities. It speeds up the construction process as the fabrication process can be performed off-site at the same time, while other construction activities are taking place on-site. It has a significant role in improving productivity effectively. It can increase 40% productivity in terms of the labour available on-site and saves time up to 20%.
  • Reduce Labour Force On-Site: Improving worksite safety, PPVC is a game-changing technology. It allows for better working conditions for labour as most of the construction is performed off-site due to which less workforce is required on-site, which can save a lot of time in on-site installation. It significantly reduces construction, workforce, and installation activities on the site. Most operations are performed outside- in a controlled manufacturing environment- due to which there are fewer chances for any accidents occurring on work sites. It significantly reduces the chances of on-site injuries which the workers could face otherwise.
  • Better On-site Environment: PPVC affects our environmental footprint as well. With most operations performed off-site, the method allows for a significant reduction in noise and environment pollution. Project site construction causes severe disturbances for the surrounding neighbourhood; PPVC plays a remarkable role in reducing that. Off-site activities also mean less water spreading which leads to cleaner environments.
  • Quality Control: The quality and reliability of the final product are far more enhanced with operations taking place off-site. Planning of tasks and logistics cooperations can efficiently take place. PPVC can also be used for many multi-room constructions, including hotels, nursing homes, hostels, institutions, dormitories, and residences with a certain amount of ease.

PPVC has become prevalent due to its proprietary system of manufacturing PPVC modules. Incorporating PPVC in the design stage can be very useful in providing technical solutions and enhancing productivity.

Precast Concrete Construction is another construction product where the concrete cast is moulded into a reusable product in a controlled environment. The method takes place at another location; it can either be a factory or a building site. It is then transported to the construction site where it is fixed properly. Precast concrete buildings are made by combining different component pieces.

Precast Construction is ideal for the construction of identical components. It is perfect for constructing low cost, identical apartments. There has been a rapid increase in Precast Concrete Construction because of its following advantages:

  • Versatile: Precast Concrete can be moulded into any shape, colour, or size and allows for a broader range for the designs that can be produced. It, therefore, allows for versatile designs to be made.
  • Climate Control Structure: Any factor that could result in the delay of projects, such as rain, cold, storm, dust, heat, is eliminated since the tasks are performed in climate-controlled structures.
  • Environmental Resistant: The structure of precast concrete is resistant to disasters, insects, fires, and moulds. It also provides low maintenance cost as it is resistant to rain, earthquake, damage, termites, and wind. Its material is far better than other building materials.
  • Low Cost: Precast concrete components are manufactured off-site and transported when they are required. This allows for saving time, ensuring safety for people on-site, reduce on-site disruption, which will reduce the overall cost of the project as there will be fewer trades and people on the site. Along with this, they can make as many identical components as they want by making specialised reusable moulds, which can further help them in cost reduction as they can save material cost while producing parts in large quantities.
  • Easy Construction: The process of Precast Concrete Construction makes operations easier as it is done on the floor rather than on height. Moreover, as the components are manufactured beforehand, construction projects can be completed swiftly.

Precast Concrete Construction is highly in demand because of its strength, durability, and affordability. It is a highly effective and practical method of concrete construction. Both PPVC and Precast Construction have made their way in the construction industry of the UAE due to their efficiency in improving construction productivity. The significance of these methods has drastically increased over the past few years. They are both now being used actively in construction processes.

Statistics reveal that depending on the complexity of the project PPVC can potentially achieve productivity improvements of up to 50%. The terms depend on the capability of man and time-saving. Pollution from dust and noise are also significantly reduced with this method. The brunt of construction work and the personnel required to do it are often shifted offsite to a regulated area, which may theoretically improve health.

After careful considerations, Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) has emerged as the smart go-to construction strategy. With improvements in productivity to up to 40%, efficiency in time reserves, and better construction environments, experts say it could be the future of the construction industry. However, there are specific design considerations to be made while wanting to utilise PPVC in projects. Here are a few:

  • Involvement of contractors: Developers need to acquire contributions from the PPVC provider or producer just as the Main Contractor at the design stage. This helps in creating robust specialised solutions for the undertaking. For instance, the decision of material will direct the size and number of modules in the design as weight is a significant thought for the lifting of the modules.
  • Site/venture the executives: The state of the streets encompassing the task must have the option to oblige the weight and size of the PPVC module transportation. Access to and inside the site must have the option to accommodate stacked trailers. It may not be reasonable to store numerous enormous PPVC modules on location, and a Just in Time (JIT) establishment would prevent unimportant double stacking of material. The crane sent nearby should have the option to deal with the heaviness of the PPVC modules and its area ought to be appropriately arranged so it can arrive at blocks for the establishment of modules.
  • Support, substitution and redesign: It is a reasonable practice for designers/manufacturers to give a user manual to the homeowner for the design of PPVC projects. For any remodel works, it is prescribed for homeowners to hire a redesign contractual worker, who might utilise the suitable apparatuses and adhere to the directions given in the user manual of the property.

Regulations to be Followed

  •  Prerequisites by respective agencies: The design, construction and establishment of the proposed PPVC framework for building construction will conform to the necessities by respective agencies, for example, BCA, Land Transport Authority (LTA), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Environment Agency (NEA), PUB, The National Water Agency, Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Housing and Development Board (HDB) and JTC Corporation.
  • PPVC Acceptance Framework: To guarantee that the distinctive PPVC frameworks being utilised are durable and sturdy, BCA has set up a PPVC Acceptance Framework comprising of building administrative offices just as industry specialists to assess the design and materials utilised. PPVC providers and producers need to get approval from these authorities.
  • Sites with PPVC need: The utilisation of PPVC is required for chosen private non-landed Government Land Sale (GLS) destinations from 1 November 2014 onwards. Details of these destinations and the compulsory PPVC prerequisites are listed in the Building Control (Buildability and Productivity) Regulations and the Code of Practice on Buildability 2017.

Case Study: The Lincoln Showroom built by Fujeirah National Construction where NFT had erected two Potain MD 1100.

The Potain MD 1100 and MD 900 are ideal for projects in PPCV and PPC thanks to their high lighting capacity at tip load and their maximum lifting capacity. Most car park projects and mall structures are using these tower cranes:

Case study:  the Clement Canopy in Singapore.  It is a residential condominium located along Clementi Avenue 1 and in the vicinity of three schools and other residential blocks. The project combines both traditional construction methods and the PPVC. Conventional construction methods took place on the basement floor, multi-storey car park and first floor of the blocks, whereas, the 2nd to 40th floors adopted PPVC. The Clement Canopy is currently the tallest PPVC concrete building in the world.

Reasons to Apply PPVC in these case studies:

  • Heightened productivity: Depending on the scope of projects, PPCV increases efficiency by 40%.
  • Improved and healthier environment: Projects that apply PPVC in installation activities will see reduced pollution that is produced by dust and noise while decreasing the efforts of man.

To conclude, while considering to work with PPVC Projects, one must take care of four basic things. Design of the PPVC module, manufacturing the module, logistics of the module and lastly the legal regulations.Ultimately the use of PPCV helps all project stakeholders achieve shorter building times, better quality workmanship, cleaner construction sites and less damage to surrounding buildings.

End.

https://www1.bca.gov.sg/buildsg/productivity/design-for-manufacturing-and-assembly-dfma/prefabricated-prefinished-volumetric-construction-ppvchttps://www1.bca.gov.sg/buildsg/productivity/design-for-manufacturing-and-assembly-dfma/prefabricated-prefinished-volumetric-construction-ppvc/prefabricated-prefinished-volumetric-construction-case-study-the-clement-canopyhttps://www.concreteconstruction.net/projects/residential/the-clement-canopy-singapore_o

http://quicksmarttechnology.com/what-we-do/processhttps://www.polyu.edu.hk/cnerc-steel/images/research/resources/technical-seminar-on-mic/05.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325397934_COMPARATIVE_STUDY_OF_IPS_PPVC_PRECAST_SYSTEM-_A_CASE_STUDY_OF_PUBLIC_HOUSING_BUILDINGS_PROJECT_IN_SINGAPOREhttps://www.wellsconcrete.com/benefits-of-precast/https://mea.ramboll.com/news/rme/ppvc_construction_the_dawn_of_a_new_erahttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/332487925_Prefabricated_Prefinished_Volumetric_Construction_Joining_Tech-niques_Review

Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 by OSHA & the CDC

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It has spread from China to many other countries around the world. To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions on businesses, workers, customers, and the public, it is important for all employers to plan now for COVID-19.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so.

How COVID-19 Spreads

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person- to-person, including:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has SARS-CoV-2 on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the primary way the virus spreads. People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (i.e., experiencing fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath). Some spread might be possible before people  show symptoms; there have been reports of this type of asymptomatic transmission with this new coronavirus, but this is also not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Classifying Worker Exposure to SARS-CoV-2

Worker risk of occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the  virus that causes COVID-19, during an outbreak may vary from very high to high, medium, or lower (caution) risk. The level of risk depends in part on the industry type, need for contact within 6 feet of people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2, or requirement for repeated or extended contact with persons known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2. To help employers determine appropriate precautions, OSHA has divided job tasks into four risk exposure levels: very high, high, medium, and lower risk. The Occupational Risk Pyramid shows the four exposure risk levels in the shape of a pyramid to represent probable distribution of risk:

Considering the nature of work and taking a conservative approach, we took the liberty in considering the construction industry as a Medium Exposure Risk level.  Medium exposure risk jobs include those that require frequent and/or close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) people who may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, but who are not known or suspected COVID-19 patients. In areas without ongoing community transmission, workers in this risk group may have frequent contact with travelers who may return from international locations with widespread COVID-19 transmission. In areas where there is ongoing community transmission, workers in this category may have contact with the general public (e.g., schools, high-population-density work environments, some high-volume retail settings).

What to Do to Protect Workers – Pre-requisite

The CDC has developed a Resuming Business Toolkit to assist employers in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and lowering the impact in their workplace when reintegrating employees into non-healthcare business settings. One of the resources in this toolkit is the Restart Readiness Checklist

1) Develop an Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan

If one does not already exist, develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan that can help guide protective actions against COVID-19.

Stay abreast of guidance from federal, state, local, tribal, and/or territorial health agencies, and consider how to incorporate those recommendations and resources into workplace-specific plans.

Plans should consider and address the level(s) of risk associated with various worksites and job tasks workers perform at those sites. Such considerations may include:

  • Where, how, and to what sources of SARS-CoV-2 might workers be exposed, including: The general public, customers, and coworkers; and  Sick individuals or those at particularly high risk of infection (e.g., international travelers who have visited locations with widespread sustained (ongoing) COVID-19 transmission, healthcare workers who have had unprotected exposures to people known to have, or suspected of having, COVID-19).
  • Non-occupational risk factors at home and in community settings.
  • Workers’ individual risk factors (e.g., older age; presence of chronic medical conditions, including immuno-compromising conditions; pregnancy).
  • The need for social distancing, staggered work shifts, downsizing operations, delivering services remotely, and other exposure-reducing
  • Options for conducting essential operations with a reduced workforce, including cross-training workers across different jobs in order to continue operations or deliver surge

2) Prepare to Implement Basic Infection Prevention Measures

For most employers, protecting workers will depend on emphasizing basic infection prevention measures. As appropriate, all employers should implement good hygiene and infection control practices, including:

  • Improving the building ventilation system
  • Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, including by providing workers, customers, and worksite visitors with a place to wash their hands. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60%
  • Encourage workers to stay home if they are sick.
  • Encourage respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and
  • Provide customers and the public with tissues and trash receptacles.
  • Employers should explore whether they can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing
  • Discourage workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when
  • Maintain regular housekeeping practices, including routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, equipment, and other elements of the work environment. When choosing cleaning chemicals, employers should consult information on your local Environmental Agency -approved disinfectant labels with claims against emerging viral pathogens. Products with approved emerging viral pathogens claims are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 based on data for harder to kill viruses. F

3) Develop Policies and Procedures for Prompt Identification and Isolation of Sick People, if Appropriate

  • Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, customers, visitors, and others at a
  • Employers should inform and encourage employees to self-monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 if they suspect possible exposure.
  • Employers should develop policies and procedures for employees to report when they are sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Where appropriate, employers should develop policies and procedures for immediately isolating people who have signs and/or symptoms of COVID-19, and train workers to implement them. Move potentially infectious people to a location away from workers, customers, and other visitors. Although most worksites do not have specific isolation rooms, designated areas with closable doors may serve as isolation rooms until potentially sick people can be removed from the worksite.
  • Take steps to limit spread of the respiratory secretions of a person who may have COVID-19. Provide a face mask, if feasible and available, and ask the person to wear it, if tolerated. Note: A face mask (also called a surgical mask, procedure mask, or other similar terms) on a patient or other sick person should not be confused with PPE for a worker; the mask acts to contain potentially infectious respiratory secretions at the source (i.e., the person’s nose and mouth).
  • If possible, isolate people suspected of having COVID-19 separately from those with confirmed cases of the virus to prevent further transmission—particularly in worksites where medical screening, triage, or healthcare activities occur, using either permanent (e.g., wall/different room) or temporary barrier (e.g., plastic sheeting).
  • Restrict the number of personnel entering isolation
  • Protect workers in close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) a sick person or who have prolonged/repeated contact with such persons by using additional engineering and administrative controls, safe work practices, and PPE. Workers whose activities involve close or prolonged/ repeated contact with sick people are addressed further in later sections covering workplaces classified at medium and very high or high exposure risk.

4) Develop, Implement, and Communicate about Workplace Flexibilities and Protections

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay in isolation
  • Ensure that sick leave policies are  consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these
  • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave
  • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely
  • Provide adequate, usable, and appropriate training, education, and informational material about business-essential job functions and worker health and safety, including proper hygiene practices and the use of any workplace controls (including PPE).

“Informed workers who feel safe at work are less likely to be unnecessarily absent.”

Implement Workplace Controls 

During a COVID-19 outbreak, when it may not be possible to eliminate the hazard, the most effective protection measures are (listed from most effective to least effective): engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices (a type of administrative control), and PPE. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of control measure when considering the ease of implementation, effectiveness, and cost. In most cases, a combination of control measures will be necessary to protect workers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

In addition to the types of workplace controls discussed below, CDC guidance for businesses provides employers and workers with recommended SARS-CoV-2 infection prevention strategies to implement in workplaces: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/specific-groups/guidance-business-response.html.

1) Engineering Controls

Engineering controls involve isolating employees from work- related hazards. In workplaces where they are appropriate, these types of controls reduce exposure to hazards without relying on worker behavior and can be the most cost-effective solution to implement. Engineering controls for SARS-CoV-2 include:

  • Installing high-efficiency air
  • Increasing ventilation rates in the work
  • Installing physical barriers, such as clear plastic sneeze
  • Specialized negative pressure ventilation in some settings, such as for aerosol generating procedures (e.g., airborne infection isolation rooms in healthcare settings and specialized autopsy suites in mortuary settings).
  • Alter the workspace to maintain social distancing.  Examples include: arrange partitions as a barrier shield, move electronic payment reader away from cashier, use verbal announcements, signs, and visual cues to promote social distancing. remove/rearrange furniture, provide remote delivery alternatives.

2) Administrative Controls

Administrative controls require action by the worker or employer. Typically,  administrative controls are changes in work policy  or procedures to reduce or minimize exposure to a hazard. Examples of administrative controls for SARS-CoV-2 include:

  • Encouraging sick workers to stay at home
  • Consider conducting daily in-person or virtual health checks  (e.g., symptom and/or temperature screening) before employees enter the facility.
  • Minimizing contact among workers, clients, and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications and implementing telework
  • Establishing alternating days or extra shifts that reduce the total number of employees in a facility at a given time, allowing them to maintain distance from one another while maintaining a full onsite work week.
  • Restrict access to reduce the number of workers in enclosed and confined areas at one time. Confined and enclosed areas (e.g., trailers, small rooms in buildings under construction) should be identified and access should be restricted to essential personnel only. Enclosed spaces (e.g., toilets, break areas) are potential transmission areas and should be treated accordingly. Time spent in these areas should be minimized.
  • Remove or rearrange chairs and tables or add visual cue marks in break areas to support social distancing practices between workers. Identify alternative areas to accommodate overflow volume.
  • Discontinuing nonessential travel to locations with ongoing COVID-19 Regularly check CDC travel warning levels
  • Replace high-touch communal items, such as coffee pots, water coolers, and bulk snacks, with alternatives such as pre-packaged, single-serving items.
  • Developing emergency communications plans, including a forum for answering workers’ concerns and internet-based communications
  • Providing workers with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and protective behaviors (e.g., cough etiquette and care of PPE).
  • Training workers who need to use protecting clothing and equipment how to put it on, use/wear it, and take it off correctly, including in the context of their current and potential duties. Training material should be easy to understand and available in the appropriate language and literacy level for all workers.
  • Consider offering face masks and event of a shortage of masks, a reusable face shield that can be decontaminated may be an acceptable method of protecting against droplet transmission.
  • Where appropriate, limit customers’ and the public’s access to the worksite, or restrict access to only certain workplace
  • Consider strategies to minimize face-to-face contact (e.g., drive- through windows, phone-based communication, telework).
  • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, keyboards, telephones, handrails, printer/copiers, drinking fountains, and doorknobs.
  • Provide adequate PPE: Workers with medium exposure risk may need to wear some combination of gloves, a gown, a face mask, and/or a face shield
    or goggles. Read 4) below.

3) Safe Work Practices

Safe work practices are types of administrative controls that include procedures for safe and proper work used to reduce the duration, frequency, or intensity of exposure to a hazard. Examples of safe work practices for SARS-CoV-2 include:

  • Designate a safety and health officer to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns at every jobsite. Workers should know who this person is and how to contact them.
  • Providing resources and a work environment that promotes personal hygiene. For example, provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfectants, and disposable towels for workers to clean their work
  • Requiring regular hand washing or using of alcohol-based hand rubs. Workers should always wash hands when they are visibly soiled and after removing any
  • Post handwashing signs in bathrooms and pantries, cafeterias.
  • Limit tool sharing if possible.
  • Practice proper hand hygiene. This is an important infection control measure. With appropriate hand hygiene, you do not need gloves to protect you from COVID-19. When possible, wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Key times to clean hands include:
    • Before and after work shifts and breaks
    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    • After using the restroom
    • Before eating and before and after preparing food
    • After touching objects which have been handled by coworkers, such as tools and equipment
    • Before putting on and after taking off work gloves
    • After putting on, touching, or removing cloth face coverings
    • Before donning or doffing eye or face protection (safety glasses, goggles, etc.)
    • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
    • Use tissues when you cough, sneeze, or touch your face. Throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol if a sink to wash your hands is not available.
    • Provide a large (5+ gallon) bucket with a lid and tap that can be used to provide water for handwashing. If this method is used, the water tap should be regularly cleaned and disinfected, and the contaminated wastewater must be collected and treated in accordance with local laws and environmental regulations. Provide fresh clean water daily.
    • Depending on the size or configuration of the job site, there may need to be multiple handwashing stations available to accommodate the workforce while maintaining social distancing, and stations may need to be restocked during the course of the day to maintain adequate handwashing supplies.

4) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

While engineering and administrative controls are considered more effective in minimizing exposure to SARS-CoV-2, employers are obligated to provide their workers with PPE. While correctly using PPE can help prevent some exposures, it should not take the place of other prevention strategies.

Examples of PPE include: gloves, goggles, face shields, face masks, and respiratory protection, when appropriate. During an outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, recommendations for PPE specific to occupations or job tasks may change depending on geographic location, updated risk assessments for workers, and information on PPE effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID-19.  All types of PPE must be:

  • Selected based upon the hazard to the worker.
  • Properly fitted and periodically refitted, as applicable (e.g., respirators).
  • Consistently and properly worn when required.
  • Regularly inspected, maintained, and replaced, as necessary.
  • Properly removed, cleaned, and stored or disposed of, as applicable, to avoid contamination of self, others, or the environment.

How to Contact OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov 

 

End.

Sources:

www.osha.gov/covid-19

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/ 

How do we move forward from here?

The global construction industry has been under intense stress in recent months amid the COVID-19 crisis and associated containments measures to prevent the continued spread of the virus. Even in countries where the construction industry has been permitted to continue, being exempt from restrictions on general business activity, there has still been widespread disruption and temporary shutdowns of construction sites. Reflecting the severe impact on the industry, provisional data for some major markets in Europe reveal that construction output plummeted in April during the peak of the pandemic in the region, with Italy recording a 68% year-on-year drop, and France a 60% decline. Such unprecedented declines are expected in other markets that have seen construction work grind to a halt.

General Global Business Sentiment according to GlobalData

The Plight of Construction and Real Estate Industries 

The construction and real estate industries are certainly not exempted from the global and regional economic disruptions. Due to existing inventory levels, short term impacts on ongoing construction activities have been minimal. With threats to employment and economic growth, there is deteriorating confidence in investments which can leave adverse effects in the long term.

Experts point out how China and Italy largely contribute to the hospitality, residential, and commercial projects in terms of supplying luxury interior materials. However, as businesses rethink their procurement strategies due to changing consumer trends, there will be an inevitable slowdown in factory operations and a larger focus to source locally. To add to that, countries such as India have closed a large number of steel plants. There will be a global surge in demand when these factories open for normal functioning. This will most likely add pressure to these industries and therefore, leading to long term impacts.

The question at hand remains, are all long-term ramifications on the regional construction and real estate industry at a disadvantage?

Concerning the real estate demand in the UAE, it is safe to say it is a valued and robust industry. It offers excellent value across select developments. Investors will be able to take advantage of projects by offering discounted prices, leaseback options, and other incentives during this time. The Abu Dhabi government has also waived off real estate registration fee of 2%. This might increase transaction activity as residents currently renting will find it more affordable and lucrative to purchase their property.

Post COVID-19 Strategies for Real Estate Projects 

 As the world adjusts the new normal, some strategies will shape the real estate industry post-COVID-19. New methods such as integrating improved artificial intelligence and carefully analyzing infrastructure qualities will help this industry grow.

Although industries have taken a massive hit from the monetary downfalls due to economic standstills, certain government’s efforts are starting to pay off as several

Post COVID-19 Strategies for Real Estate Projects 

 As the world adjusts the new normal, some strategies will shape the real estate industry post-COVID-19. New methods such as integrating improved artificial intelligence and carefully analyzing infrastructure qualities will help this industry grow.   Although industries have taken a massive hit from the monetary downfalls due to economic standstills, certain government’s efforts are starting to pay off as several  industries are now on a path to fast-track recovery. The real estate industry, in particular, is heading towards a new direction in terms of market demand.

  • Post COVID-19 periods will also see a rise in demand for lower-density properties and locations. Rethinking design to maintain social distancing standards will become top priorities for developers.
  • Building layouts will see major revamping by the allocation of extra spaces and designs that adhere to safety aspects to add value.
  • In addition to new design standards, builders also need to focus on the quality of infrastructure. Industry leaders need to commit to high-grade materials and carefully assess conditions that will stand out to their stakeholders.
  • An aspect that was becoming prominent much before the dawn of COVID-19 was the concept of artificial intelligence. With time it has gained traction and has enabled buyers to experience properties without physical visits. An example of this is Smart Investment Map (SIM) which the Real Estate Investment Management and Promotion Center, the investment arm of Dubai Land Department has launched to attract major investors for off-plan available projects. SIM is an online portal serving Dubai Real Estate Market; specially designed for real estate professionals to list their properties for sale and rent in Dubai. SIM provides public with a number of e-services allowing them to search for properties listed for sale or rent, communicate with property owners, brokers and management companies and complete sale transactions online without the need for multiple visits to Dubai Land Department. Another example is the DubaiNow application which offers access to over 85 city services that include bill payments, NOL, fuel top-ups, property finding and much more. This app has a rating of 3.7 on Apple iStore.

If companies and developers focus on following these strategies, both them and the industry will recover from the hit it has taken because of the COVID-19 crises within no time. As the new normal are here to stay, all industries need to start opting to the new normal planning strategies as well.

Zooming in on the Construction Industry

With economies crashing and projects coming to a halt amidst the COVID-19 lockdowns, let us take a closer look at the impact on the construction sector.

The outbreak and subsequent spread of COVID-19 has drastically changed the course of construction projects all around the world, including the Middle East. Different projects will experience delays, disruptions, and cost escalation.

Construction Industry and in particular projects schedules have seen dramatic changes in last couple of months. From the beginning of March, the construction industry began to experience much higher levels of project delays and cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with widespread restrictions on the movement of people and enforcement of complete or partial lockdowns from mid-March. The impact during the month of April and beginning of May was at its peak with approximately 15-20% of projects were either cancelled or delayed; however, since mid-May the overall situation has improved. The share of delayed projects out of all projects updated fell to around 2% by mid-June. In the USA for example, the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC)’s latest survey found that nearly one fourth of contractors reported a project that was scheduled to start in June or later had been canceled.

Keeping in mind the brutal blow economies all across the globe are facing, measures had to be in place to ensure project delays did not inflict widespread damages. In the light of the dramatic fall in oil prices in the UAE, it is yet to be seen what economic effects we will be facing due to the novel coronavirus. The fall in the market may have repercussions on liquidity and cash flow throughout the construction sector. It is particularly prevalent in this region where ‘pay when paid’ clauses are permitted and often seen in subcontractors.

The smooth flow of funds in the construction sector is going to be taken up by banks, which will allow contractors and companies to dodge the constant problems of delayed payments. With banks being open to extending repayment terms, liquidity is less of an issue to contractors.

As a response to the current situations owing to the COVID-19 virus, banks in the UAE will ease construction sectors’ payment issues. UAE banks’ exposure to the construction industry is estimated at 15% plus.  The UAE Central Bank is also required to be more lenient on payments due from clients. Banks have received orders to give more flexibility on loan paybacks, and any transactions clients have with the banks and easing pay for contractors become a top priority by banks.

With many industries being vulnerable to the impacts of the virus outbreaks, construction projects are some of the most vulnerable sectors. The UAE has about $710 billion of building and civil engineering projects currently planned or underway. There would be revisions once the full impact of the COVID-19 impact is understood.  All the issues of the construction industry have been brought forward with the pandemic. We need to be thoughtful about the problems every sector is facing. The mobility of labour is not the only hindrance. Delays in exporting or importing goods, materials, plants, and equipment owing to travel bans and lockdown may consequently impact the progress of construction projects everywhere. Delay in projects is bound to happen. There are no two ways to it. We need contracts that allow the smooth functioning of the industry without anyone getting into disputes. This is why banks need to step up and further ease their procedures as their plan of action during these trying times will be reflected deeply in future provisions.

Investment and Adaptability to Digital Transformation

The construction industry has evolved over the years in the way they design, plan, and build structures. Technology makes construction projects more efficient and safer. It also makes room for more innovation. Adopting artificial intelligence can help optimize work schedules, improve workplace safety, and keep a watch on facilities.  From small scale projects to multi-year and large scale projects, machine learning is excelling at finding patterns in data. With the help of pattern recognition and historical data, artificial intelligence has time and again proven to help better manage schedules. It can help prevent costly delays amongst suppliers, vendors, and everyone involved in the process.

The same pattern detection deployed to schedule time can be used to look for common trends in projects. Many sites use artificial intelligence to run through contingency plans. The technology can assess what might happen if a permit is delayed or an accident occurs, forecast outcomes of multiple scenarios and even anticipate breakdown. This exercise can help develop contingency plans to tackle unexpected situations.

The use of autonomous devices, drones, and robotic construction workers is also on the rise. Drones help in surveying and taking overhead images of construction projects. Robots help with various mundane tasks such as bricklaying, concrete pouring, or installing drywall. Such devices help cut labour costs and keep the project on track with regards to time.

Advanced data intelligence also increases safety. Construction is not without hazards. Potential on-site risks such as dangerous structures and moving equipment that poses a danger to humans exist in every construction project. Artificial intelligence helps contain or completely eradicate the possibility of these hazards to occur. Sites are also equipped by cameras and sensors that monitor several aspects of construction operations. Advanced systems are capable of detecting unsafe behaviour and alerting teams of potential hazards. They not only reduce liability but can also help save lives and increase efficiency.

Surveillance systems are not new to workplace environments. Keeping an eye over the projects and sites is an added level of security. Investing in expensive equipment can help companies monitor footage and spot suspicious activities.

Enabling and adopting artificial intelligence has delivered incredible results and is being deployed by more and more construction companies with each passing day. Assessment of the results shows artificial intelligence can help in cost savings, time savings, and overall improvements in construction projects.

An example of a country that is putting digital transformation at the forefront of the construction industry is Australia where a collaboration between 30 partners including universities and the CRC (Australian government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program). The scheme, called Building 4.0 CRC, is focused on cutting delays, emissions and waste from building projects has received a grant of 28 million Australian dollars ($16.40 million) from the country’s government. The objectives include harnessing digital technology and off-site manufacturing to cut project costs by 30%; reducing construction waste by 80%; and lowering carbon dioxide emissions by 50%. “Our vision is to create a world where people can visualize and realize buildings in real time. The purpose is to transform the way that consumers and builders design and buy buildings by providing easy-to-use browsing-based software that allows them to custom-design, visualize and price buildings in an engineering compliant way,” said  Gavin Tonn who is Australian CEO of the Donovan Group, said in a statement.

The Dubai Development Authority (DDA) has also taken a number of steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the construction sector. These have included:

  • The announcement of a Planning and Development Stimulus Initiative.3Under this initiative: (i) the payment of Final Building Permit Fees are split into four instalments4; (ii) the payment dates of fines issued by the Planning and Development Department are postponed for three months; (iii) zoning exception fees are now payable within 12 months rather than six months; (iv) additional or modified built up area fees are now due within three months instead of one month; (v) the issuance of Conditional Completion Certificates (undertaking letter) will be free of charge for three months from the date of the initiative; and (v) the validity period for any Building Permit, Fit-out Permit, Temporary Construction Permit, or Permit to Work within a “right of way” will be extended by an additional three months without charge.
  • The introduction of virtual inspections of construction sites.5 Sites can now be inspected at various stages of a project by way of either a Zoom or Microsoft Teams video call, without inspectors having to be physically present on site.

Investment needed for Health & Safety

In most cases, lockdowns may have caused a delay in project completion, not complete shutdowns. Projects that continue their work at sites now have to take extra precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the workers.

Employers may need to review their health and safety policies and protocols and adhere to Government regulations in the context of COVID-19. Safety measures such as maintaining social distancing, sanitation, and providing protective equipment such as masks need to be kept in check by employers for those at the construction sites. Other measures, such as providing remote working facilities to office staff and improving the delivery of information about disease prevention on-site, have also been implemented.

Employers need to focus on medical screening to satisfy care and combating the spread of the virus at these stages. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Department has updated its guidance to supplement the general terms to accommodate the interim guidance for all workers and employers of workers with potential occupational exposures to SARS-CoV-2. For complete review of the guidance for preparing workplaces for COVID-19, please read our blog: OSHAD & COVID-19.

 

Guidelines around Construction Workers

The demonstrations of precautionary actions such as restrictions imposed on travel bans in most regions are now posing a significant problem to the construction industry. On the one hand, companies are unable to get their migrant workers back due to these restrictions, therefore causing severe delays. On the other hand, we have the strict rules of self-isolation and quarantine that need to be followed to flatten the curve.  Also, labor shortages are resulting in contractors having to pay workers on leave.

 Specific guidelines have been issued by the municipality to ensure the health and safety of construction workers at projects sites amidst the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

The construction sector is one of those industries that has been identified as a vital industry and is exempted from strict movement restrictions in the UAE.

While ensuring normal operations, practicing on-site precautionary measures is crucial for all companies. It is for this reason that the Dubai Municipality’s Health and Safety Department has issued specific guidelines highlighting all the precautions to be adhered to by construction workers across the emirate which we anticipate will continue even post COVID-19 to avoid the spread and risk of infection:

In the UAE, the government announced that construction companies are now permitted to set up or construct labour accommodation on site. This will result in workers not being required to be transported to and from site and will assist in ensuring that social distancing precautions are maintained in existing labour accommodation. It is a requirement that on-site accommodations have enough space to ensure social distancing guidelines are adhered to.

Within Labor Accommodations: The precautionary measures to be followed by construction workers within labur accommodations include frequent disinfection and cleaning, limited gatherings, and social and physical distancing of 2 metres within specific areas. Body temperatures of workers must also be checked before entering and after exiting the premises. If a worker is found to have a high temperature, it is imperative that the worker is placed in isolation and checked for symptoms regularly. In Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health has undertaken a complete sanitation of industrial areas such as Musaffah and Al Ain Industrial area by testing all residents and isolating infected labors.

All construction workers must practice safe physical distancing within buses. Sanitation must be of top priority, and large on-site gatherings must be avoided. Buses must also undergo frequent, and deep cleaning with government approved products.

The Impact of Changing Consumer Trends on other Industries 

The impacts of the current lockdowns and restrictions have caused a significant effect on the functioning of majority industries. Disruptions in one sector have a ripple effect on other areas as well.  As restrictions are easing in several places, businesses are planning a comeback into the physical working environment. However, there has been a fundamental shift in the way consumers are living, buying, and thinking amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Even with restrictions lifting entirely or partially, going back to old behaviors and choices will take place over a long period.

Where the Consumer Preferences Lie 

As consumers strive to adapt to new normals, they are also trying to contemplate what these changes will mean for themselves, their families, and society altogether. These concerns are both economic and health-related. Where priorities for hygienic and cleaning staples are increasing, non-essential goods are taking a slump.

These times call in for basic necessities of life taking precedence. There is no surprise that personal health is the top priority for the majority of consumers right now. Other industries like food, financial security and personal safety follow.

A study, based on Google Trends data, showed that searches in the online grocery shopping category reached a peak between March and May 2020 in the UAE. There was a 316% growth in online card payments for this sector in April. Distance learning was another sector that dominated the online search industry. The same study uncovered the surge in online searches for courses online as residents looked to improve their skills and knowledge, making the most of the lockdowns.

Lockdowns and remote working protocols also resulted in a sudden interest in telecommuting. The number of searches for “work from home in Dubai” surged before gradually declining once users became more familiar with remote working processes and tools. The shift to flexible working is one of the main factors driving a higher frequency of online searches for furniture as a need for home office workspaces emerged among residents.

Commuting and travelling

The Abu Dhabi Airport is one infrastructure which has demonstrated how technology can help transform safety measures. Be it touchless sensors, voice-activated technologies, or hands-free switches; every business needs to invest in digital transformation to gain the trust of its stakeholders.

Looking at Abu Dhabi International Airport as an example where many additional safety measures have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of passengers and staff:

  • Introduction of strict social distancing rules between passengers and staff and the mandatory use of face masks and gloves
  • Airport internal staff have been trained to monitor and ensure all additional health and safety rules are being followed by passengers
  • With swab tests, rapid blood testing and temperature checks carried out on site, the airport has also employed external personnel to help man the testing stations each day, including 13 administration staff and nine nurses.
  • 53 elevators located within the terminals have been upgraded with contact-less technology, meaning passengers do not have to touch any buttons when calling for a lift.
  • Three vending machines containing medical protection kits, including face masks and gloves, have also been placed throughout the airport as well as more than 400 hand sanitizer stations.
  • In total, 143 shield partitions have been placed on 71 check-in and immigration counters and several self-sanitizing hand rails have been positioned on escalators in the arrivals and departures terminals.

To conclude the situation of the construction and real estate industry, experts say that the proactive efforts of governments for these industries will ensure business continuity. These measures have also helped contain the damage of the pandemic on investors and agents. Companies and developers can combat losses as long as they start risk planning and implementing improved strategies and technologies. Even though governments are working relentlessly to flatten the curve and contain the spread of the virus, the effects of the pandemic will follow us in the coming months and some changes are here to stay. This is a time for contractors to proactively make decisions that would help in the smooth running of construction projects.

End.

Sources:

https://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/coronavirus-35-000-passengers-pass-through-abu-dhabi-airport-on-limited-flights-1.1030565https://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/en-me/knowledge/publications/0abd48ed/uae-construction-during-covid19-the-impact-of-government-measureshttps://blog.zoomproperty.com/how-smart-dubai-initiative-will-help-uae-real-estate-to-flourish/https://eres.ae/SIM.aspxhttps://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/18/millions-in-funding-for-scheme-looking-to-transform-construction.htmlhttps://www.khl.com/international-cranes-and-specialized-transport/us-construction-jobs-rebound-in-may/144634.article?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Construction+and+Coronavirus+-+18th+June+2020&utm_term=C%26Chttps://construction.globaldata.com/Analysis/details/analyst-briefing-impact-of-covid-19-on-construction-project-progress-updated-103442https://www.cbnme.com/analysis/lootah-ceo-outlines-top-5-trends-that-will-transform-uaes-real-estate-sector-in-post-covid-19-era/https://www.cbnme.com/logistics-news/dubai-chamber-analysis-examines-changing-consumer-behaviours-in-covid-19-era/https://www.arabianbusiness.com/comment/446623-how-covid-19-will-change-the-way-we-rent-buy-real-estatehttps://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2020/04/27/how-is-the-business-world-changing-today/#2e663d3e3972https://www.accenture.com/ae-en/about/company/coronavirus-business-economic-impacthttps://meconstructionnews.com/41879/coronavirus-the-waiting-gamehttps://constructionexec.com/article/four-ways-technology-can-help-the-construction-and-freight-industries-labor-shortagehttps://constructionexec.com/article/what-are-the-top-lessons-your-company-has-learned-since-covid-19-has-struck

Construction’s back to the ‘new normal’

Almost all countries and industries are seeing the undeniable impacts of the new coronavirus today. With economic activities at a halt due to quarantine and social distancing laws set by governments, new financial strains are developing every day. The construction industry is not exempted from these impacts. Some of the biggest infrastructure projects have been affected and have been put on hold. The future of the pandemic remains uncertain. The current situation in the construction sector has raised questions over the effectiveness and the validity of contractors’ insurance policies in the time of coronavirus. However, with all the uncertainty, some countries have loosened the restrictions on the industry which has allowed site to re-open following a new standard of normalcy: 86% of sites now open in England and Wales and Singapore is set to re-open its sites on June 2nd as long as sites are labeled: ‘Covid-Safe and restart ready’

Following Rules: Following rules is particularly important for regions and projects where work has not entirely halted, like the UAE. Strict social distancing regulations need to be followed by workers. Taking place in more open areas as compared to enclosed spaces, it becomes relatively easier to follow these rules on project sites.  Along with ensuring workers wear masks and constant workplace sterilization, social distancing rules need to be communicated to the workers. It would be ideal to maintain 1.5 metres distance between every worker at all times. To make site social distancing successful, one needs to ensure that limited workers are working in one area, and a well-structured work schedule is followed so that there are not too many workers on-site at the same time.  A bonus to all this would be planting sanitisation areas on job sites and encouraging workers to wash their hands frequently. It becomes the employers’ responsibility to provide its workers with ample safety gear as well as make sure the frequency of sharing equipment between workers is reduced.

 

Up safety measures: In the UAE for example, the Municipality has intensified monitoring and inspection of construction sites to ensure all preventive and precautionary guidelines are implemented and instructions in circulars are followed. A total of 50,000 inspection visits were conducted in 12,331 under-construction buildings in the last two months, apart from visits conducted in response to emergency reports in Dubai. Mandatory precautionary measures in construction sites include: wearing protective masks and gloves, providing sterilisation equipment in multiple locations at the site, measuring the temperature of workers before entering the site, maintaining physical distancing and avoiding gatherings, ensuring workers keep a safe distance between each other while travelling in and disembarking from buses, conducting continuous sterilisation of work sites and project extensions, avoiding overcrowding in temporary and permanent elevators, providing dedicated waste containers on site, providing protective clothing for workers in project warehouses, distributing timings for workers’ breaks to ensure physical distancing, ensuring office workers at the site maintain physical distancing, and providing disposable plates and cups. The civic body has issued a set of circulars and guidelines for preventive steps and intensified cleaning and disinfection procedures in construction sites and workers’ accommodations. The Municipality stressed the need to abide by the circulars to ensure the highest security and safety for all construction workers and members of the community. The circulars also include guidelines on transport and movement controls to and from construction sites and the procedures to be followed inside workers’ buses. They also outline the protocols related to the prohibition of workers’ movement outside the project site and the categories within the construction sector that are exempt from movement restrictions

Communication is key: Whether or not your construction projects are continuing during this period, make sure you keep your clients, stakeholders, and staff up to date with the status of the projects. It is not just them who need to be up to date. Construction companies always need to keep updated with policies that are being introduced by their respective governments. Governments are continually working on lessening the impact on industries and reviving the economy.

Being a vital sector, you can rest assured that the construction industries will be presented with policies that could work in their favor and stay up to date.

Risk aversion and a conservative approach: A number one priority for contractors’ would be to preserve liquidity by ensuring the number of unnecessary expenditures is limited. You can limit cash flow in areas ranging from corporate costs to petty cash on projects. The uncertainty from a regulatory and business perspective has prompted companies to make decisions in the short term which has booted the focus on Rental.

Flexible Business Models: Businesses need to adopt agile operating models in the medium term if they want to be resilient. Companies need to replace fixed costs with variable costs for all operations. They can lower base salaries and push variable costs aligned to performance. Regularly revisit decisions over which capabilities should be retained internally and which should be outsourced. Ideally, businesses should retain core activities like project management and control internally but can outsource activities such as secondary support to reduce fixed costs.  

Digital transformation is a necessity: There could be no better time to invest in digital technologies to remain agile and better understand market fluctuations. Advanced technologies can make tasks such as workforce deployment, scheduling, and overall logistics processes faster and easier. They can also play a helping hand in reducing workforce costs. This helps contractors’ become efficient, productive, and less dependent on manual labour.

Fully embracing digital tech in the construction industry seem to be the options contractors and construction agencies will be turning to post COVID-19. This industry is one of the few sectors which have lagged in adopting modern technology. The new coronavirus outbreak has made opting digital technology is now a necessity and less of an option for the construction industry. Traditional construction methods are no longer viable in today’s day and age. The United Nations predicts that the world’s population would jump up to almost 10 billion by the year 2050. This means that the need for housing and upscale construction projects will increase. To reduce the manual workforce, pressure on essential labour, and increase efficiency, the industry needs to keep up with technological developments.

As time passes, both development and innovation are inevitable.

Digital technology has now allowed architects to become more imaginative and creative in designing their buildings. With the increase in the complexity of projects, it would not be viable for the industry to continue with their current methods. It is only by implementing digital technologies will the construction sector be able to complete future projects. Fortunately, increasing numbers of companies recognise the importance of digitisation and how it can transform the industry for the better.  An example of such companies is Italy-based tracked platform manufacturer Palazzani who has called for a greater focus on digital infrastructure, including 5G telecommunications to help stabilise the economy, as it delivers a 52m platform suited for this type of work.  Serena Mingardi, sales and marketing at Palazzani, said, ”The fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic will be severe for the economy of the most developed countries and, consequently, for the whole world. The magnitude of the global recession that lies ahead derives above all from the duration of the infection and from the way in which the financial authorities will respond to the health and social disaster. Mingardi, adds, ”The most direct and effective way to fight the economic downturn remains the construction and maintenance of infrastructures and this is the only solution to stabilize growth, employment, unlock the potential growth and improve long-term competitiveness; the construction of infrastructure increases GDP and creates jobs, while their availability can increase productivity and promote both competition and cooperation.” Mingardi, continued that in particular, infrastructure investments should be directed towards 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence, ’industrial Internet’, smart cities, education and health care. Di Primio’s Palazzani XTJ52C in Abruzzo model has an outreach of 19.5m, which is being increasingly required in Italy. The main applications are for the installation of 5G masts. The model’s Can Bus system automatically controls movements, leading to time and fuel savings of more than 20%, said the company. 

In addition to using digital for product development, entities such as the CECE – the Committee for European Construction Equipment are using the internet to continue scheduled events and conference. For the first time ever, the CECE will hold a virtual version of its annual congress. In association with the Swedish association, SACE, CECE will livestream its 2020 congress to remote delegates on 8 October, from a TV studio in Stockholm.

New emerging opportunities are increasing in the construction industry with some start ups capitalizing on the need to be online. An example of that is the MENA region’s first electronic store: Rafeeg Store. Rafeeg App founder, Mr.Khamis Al-Sheryani opened this store that specialises in construction, maintenance and decoration projects in the UAE. Through Rafeeg Store, customers can browse the designs of the best international engineers and decorations. They can also easily compare the rates of local contractors who are willing to design their homes. This opening aligns perfectly with the UAE government’s vision to follow through the best environmental practices in various fields, including contracting, maintenance, and design. The online store is now expanding its services in cooperation with a series of trusted international brands to help the market more sustainably in light of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Technology is also being used to improve existing business processes. Indeed, some contractors in Europe as using GoPro technology to film progress on site, which is uploaded to Microsoft Teams to show latest developments, pause and ask questions. In addition, Motion activated voiceover systems are being used to remind people to abide by social distancing on site

 

Hopefully, the ongoing epidemic will end soon. However, the massive disruption caused by the COVID-19 will push companies to adapt into the “new normal” way of business and only those who can adapt will survive.

End.

 

Sources

https://www.cbnme.com/news/dubai-municipality-enforces-building-control-measures-to-boost-precautionary-protocols-against-covid-19/

https://www.khl.com/access-international/palazzani-focuses-on-digital-infrastructure/144255.article

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https://www.khl.com/construction-europe/cece-announces-dates-for-virtual-2020-congress/144166.article?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Construction+and+Coronavirus+-+21st+May+2020&utm_term=C%26C

https://www.khl.com/international-construction/construction-to-resume-in-singapore/144106.article?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Construction+and+Coronavirus+-+21st+May+2020&utm_term=C%26Chttps://www.khl.com/construction-europe/86-of-sites-now-open-in-england-and wales/144207.article?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Construction+and+Coronavirus+-+21st+May+2020&utm_term=C%26C