It has been a chaotic, confusing and worrying few months across the planet. The team here at Horizon Offsite are grateful for the strong leadership shown by the Irish Government in terms of protecting public health, ensuring citizens are kept fully informed in a timely, transparent manner, and by taking unprecedented steps to protect businesses and workers.
We welcome the early announcement that the “construction sector is likely to be first in line to return to work”, as reported in the Irish Times. While the restriction dates are understandably subject to change, if any part of these are to be gradually lifted after the May bank holiday weekend (which is currently the plan), it is likely that construction projects will be included among the first phase of economic activities to resume. It has been suggested that major FDI building projects will take priority, followed closely by social housing projects that are at a stage nearing completion. General house building is expected to follow in a later phase of economic resumption. This return to sites as soon as it is safe to do so is important given that the coronavirus pandemic has temporarily halted the building of an estimated 60,000 (https://www.irishtimes.com/business/construction/coronavirus-halts-building-of-60-000-homes-in-ireland-1.4230460) homes around the country and an estimated 150,000 construction employees have either been laid off or put on income support in recent weeks. And we know that this return to sites will only be made possible by the adoption of new measures to combat Covid-19 spread, as introduced by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) this week. The CIF has drawn up a new standard operating procedure (SOP) for the sector setting out guidelines for traditional building sites, including travelling to work. These strict protocols go beyond current HSE guidelines. The representative body has warned that these new safety measures will inevitably increase costs and delay the project delivery programme.
Last week, the Limerick Leader newspaper reported that ‘Work begins on major hospital projects in Limerick to add capacity in response to pandemic’ You can read the full article here: https://www.limerickleader.ie/news/home/532716/workbegins-on-major-hospital-projects-in-limerick-to-add-capacity-in-response-topandemic.html
The report refers to major hospital projects in Limerick to add capacity in response to the coronavirus pandemic; the design and build of two new blocks, one at University Hospital Limerick and one at Croom Orthopaedic Hospital. Each of the new blocks consist of 24-bed single, en-suite rooms. “Both projects involve a [Horizon Offsite structural] rapid build steel frame system that facilitates an earlier start to construction work, a more streamlined process than would be possible on traditional builds [and a considerable reduction in programme], so there will be fewer truck movements to and from the hospitals during construction. Both facilities are permanent structures, with scope for expansion vertically at a later stage.”
Speaking to the Limerick Leader, UL Hospitals Group CEO, Colette Cowan expressed her gratitude for the site team: “On the UHL site, foundations for the new 24-bed block were poured last Thursday, and since then, the building has been rising rapidly out of the ground. Construction personnel from the various contractors at UHL and Croom have been working long hours to help us add capacity in response to the pandemic…I’ve been so impressed by the manner in which this vital work is being undertaken. Two shifts are being worked each day, with physical distancing being observed in order to protect the workforce. It has been quite extraordinary to witness, and I thank all these workers for their professionalism and dedication”.
Both of these essential projects are on track for a rapid delivery by July 2020. Horizon Offsite is proud to support Clancy Construction (clancy.ie) in the rapid delivery of these projects, alongside Reddy Architecture (reddyarchitecture.com ) and Evolusion Innovation (evolusioninnovation.com).
About Horizon Offsite Ltd:
Established in 2017, the team at Horizon Offsite have decades of combined experience pioneering non-traditional or modern methods of construction (MMC). The company currently employs 22 people at a 35,000 sq ft. facility in Cahir, County Tipperary and is involved in projects across the private rented sector (PRS) in Ireland and the UK.