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Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties
27 October 2020
It is true to say that throughout this year we have all experienced difficulties. The pandemic has been a huge challenge for the nation, for our families and for ourselves. Adapting to the ‘new normal’ was in itself a difficult task, changing behaviours that are so natural to us felt alien and awkward both socially and in a work setting.
At the start of the lockdown period, the situation gathered pace and was changing very quickly. Like many of you, at Tideway our usual working system changed overnight. It then became a matter of utilising our resilience to adapt and find new ways of working. In line with Government advice we reduced activities across the Tideway project with only safety-critical and essential work continuing. All those who could work from home did so and for those working on site, we implemented extra measures to ensure safety.
Resilience is not just about the ability to recover quickly, it is also about taking stock and looking at ways to come back stronger and in a better position than before. The pause in construction activities gave us that opportunity. A chance to really review our working practices and look at ways they could be improved. For instance, when we decided that we had the procedures in place to resume work, we didn’t just pick up where we left off. We conducted a series of readiness reviews for our 24 site. These reviews looked at every aspect of construction activity to ensure we had the right health and safety measures in place that not only complied with Public Health England Guidance and the Construction Leadership Council Guidance, but also complied with our own Right Way of doing things – safely or not at all.
As a result, we have now resumed work on all of our sites, but much more than this, we have been able to achieve a series of important project milestones. From the delivery of the final digging machine to Bermondsey, to the completion of tunnelling in west London. We have also been able to carry out amazing feats of engineering in already tricky circumstances. The team at our Blackfriars site did a fantastic job of floating in a 3,700-tonne section of concrete culvert under Blackfriars Bridge and connecting it to the existing sewer system. All this whilst maintaining social distancing measures.
In many ways resilience is built into the very core of Tideway. The ultimate goal of the project is to ensure London’s over-stretched sewer system is resilient to the needs of the 21st century city. Indeed, the pandemic has been a test of our resilience, but it has been a challenge we have risen to and come out stronger than before.
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