Inspiring construction initiatives during lockdown
Unprecedented times result in unprecedented responses. Across the country, civil engineers and construction professionals have been stepping up with initiatives to support frontline workers during the coronavirus crisis.
One of the biggest stories emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic is the scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS workers treating patients infected with Covid-19. Construction companies are stepping up to donate unneeded PPE from building sites to their local doctor's surgery. Others are donating PPE direct to the NHS, with no donation too big or too small.
Network Rail commits to immediate supplier payments
From 30 March, Network Rail has committed to immediate payment of its suppliers. These payments could be up to 7 days faster for SMEs and up to 28 days for other suppliers. The railway industry has been working hard throughout the crisis to support businesses and key workers, driving the economy at this difficult time. This initiative will also help to save jobs in civil engineering going forward.
Network Rail workers also drove through the night to ensure the delivery of thousands of masks direct to the NHS. The 370km journey was part of an army logistics operation and delivered 22 pallets of face masks.
Free remote working
With building sites and jobs in civil engineering on lockdown, Sensat has stepped up with an offer of a free 6 months trial of its Mapp technology. This is designed to take a snapshot of a closed site and monitor it until the project reopens.
Industry analysts are predicting the digital revolution could be here to stay as the civil engineering and construction sector realises the potential advantages of technology.
Fast action at the Nightingales
Civil engineers worked around the clock to create a car park for NHS workers seconded to the new Nightingale hospital created in the Excel Centre in just 9 days.
The 2,000 space car park was created in just a week and the site was equipped with new welfare units. These featured larger internal space to assist with social distancing and 50% larger water and waste facilities to optimise on-site hygiene.
Supporting the next generation of engineers
Some of the most interesting initiatives have been targeted at children and young people to support homeschooling parents. Network Rail has created a range of educational materials focused on different aspects of the railways, while the #GetCrafty competition urged future engineers to build something out of items from the home.
The Royal Academy of Engineering, The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 and Big Ideas have come together to launch The Great Exhibition at Home Challenge. There's a range of STEM-related activities taking place in bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms across the country with £500 worth of STEM equipment to be won.
This year's challenge is titled "How can engineering help protect the planet?" As the world begins to emerge from lockdown, looks towards the future of the global economy and re-engages with the challenges of climate change, engineers are needed more than ever.