Our Contracts team in Portsmouth are nearing completion on a £320,000 car park reconstruction contract for Hampshire County Council and Test Valley Borough Council, which aims to transform the town centre into a more attractive area for pedestrians and cyclists and at the same time help to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
With construction of a new access to the Town Mills car park starting at the beginning of February, the works were soon stopped by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country-wide lockdown. With the Council giving clearance to start again at the beginning of July and following a revised risk assessment and the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures, we resumed work on the contract, only to discover the presence of asbestos during excavation works. This then culminated in a further two-week delay with analysis and then the safe removal of the contaminated material being undertaken by a specialist third party sub-contractor.
With the asbestos issue resolved, our team quickly brought the contract back on track, and phase one of the Council’s two phase Town Mill improvement works programme, which will enhance the existing pedestrian corridor and provide greater access and connectivity to key locations in the town, is progressing well with completion planned for October.
Commenting on the completion of the contract, Pierre Feuerstein, Director of Regional Operations, South, said: “Despite the significantly challenging circumstances, our strong relationship with the Council has meant that we’ve been able to reschedule the works effectively and we’re looking to complete the contract over the coming weeks.”
Andrew McDuff - 50 years Service
This week our Portsmouth colleague, Andrew McDuff, celebrated his 50th year Anniversary at Colas UK. Having started working for the City of Portsmouth in the City Engineer’s Department as a Trainee Civil Engineering Technician on 14 September 1970, fifty years later Andrew is currently a Licensing Engineer within our PFI business. ONE online travelled virtually to the South Coast, and asked Andrew some questions about his life over the last fifty years. You can also view a timeline of Andrew's career highlights HERE
Manchester Film Stars!
Two of our bright young stars, Quantity Surveyor, Phillipa Hunt and Engineer Will Harrison, are to be featured in a new careers in construction film, being produced by the careers awareness specialist production company, Spark.
The new programme, which will also include interviews with Colas Contracts Manager, Ian Armitage, Manchester City Council’s Project Control Officer, Jess Conley, and Pronin Trainee Engineer, Ben Rogers, will be streamed live into schools in October, giving career guidance and enabling children all over the country to make informed decisions about their future.
The filming, which took place this week at two of our Manchester projects - Princess Road and Great Ancoats Street - was organised by our recently appointed Social Value Lead, Rachel Atkin. Explaining the reason behind Colas’ involvement, Rachael said: “It’s a great initiative and one that we wholeheartedly support. According to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the shortfall in the number of skilled construction workers in the UK is the highest point since 2007, so naturally we’ll do anything we can do to help improve this stark statistic.”
Jade Tonge, Programme Lead - Highways PMO for Manchester City Council was impressed with the way that Spark had quickly adapted to a digital delivery format from their previous face-to-face business model. Jade said: “It’s great to see our suppliers proactively finding ways to continue to inspire young people and we are very happy to include a member of our team in this careers event. COVID-19 has and will continue to make accessing schools and colleges to deliver traditional careers events really difficult, and right now young people need to know they still have positive futures to be excited about. Can’t wait to see the end result!”
Return to offices
For all our colleagues in Bubble A, their two-week return to working in the office is complete and our COVID-19 Supervisors are now preparing for Bubble B colleagues long-awaited return.
Speaking to Return to Work Group Project Manager, Tony Delaney, he thought that Bubble A colleagues had made a smooth transition to the new normal. Tony said: “We haven’t had any issues, it’s all gone very well in all our offices. The two weeks have gone according to plan and I think the only comments I’ve received have been to do with the one-way system, but that’s only been frustrations over it taking longer to walk to your destination. I think the changes do take a little time to get used to, but everyone has adapted well and it’s just simply become the new normal.”
Rowfant COVID-19 Supervisor, Darius Modiri agreed. He said “I think everything has gone well. We had a few initial issues with moving people around but everyone settled in after the first couple of days and they all seem happy now!”
Having returned to the Rowfant office herself only a week before Bubble A’s return, Lead Receptionist Jan Baker had previously explained how she was looking forward to the first set of colleagues returning as she would be “able to speak to people face to face, albeit two metres apart and behind her reception screen.” So what does she think now? Jan said: “Even though a little weird with what seems to be so few people, I think the way the office was all set up for us to come back to, the supply of face masks etc, has meant the return to work has been very easy and safe. Personally, once I got into the swing of taking temperatures, it quickly became ‘the norm’ and I really can’t think how anything can be improved. It’s been lovely to see friends and colleagues and I’m looking forward to seeing ‘Bubble B’ folks next week.”
So, in anticipation of all our Bubble B colleagues imminent return, here’s a reminder of our Return to Work video, our Returning to a Fixed Location Guide, and our Top 10 Tips for returning to the office.
According to Alan Hicks, Projects Director (North), on our Humber Bank Link Road (HBLR) project, there have been some excellent progress made by the project team in the last ten weeks with the second phase imminently due for completion.
For colleagues not aware of the project, the HBLR is the construction of a 2.5 km link road between Moody Lane in Grimsby, through to Hobson Way in Stallingborough. The project is part of the £42m South Humber Industrial Investment Programme (SHIIP), which aims to create 4,000 new jobs and generate £200 million within the local community over the next 25 years.
We’ve been working with our partners, Southern Ireland Asphalt Company (SIAC) and for our client North East Lincolnshire Council, since March 2019.
Since returning to work following the COVID-19 lockdown our team have picked up the pace and the second phase, which includes large-scale culvert construction works, new carriageway construction and access upgrades to existing business premises, as well as the development of a woodland creation and a water vole ditch, is now very close to completion.
Commenting on the significant progress, Executive Director UKP, Sean Jeffery said: “It’s been a huge team effort so well done to everyone who has been working so diligently since the return to work in June.”
Cycling September, Safely!
As you are aware, September is the dedicated month for cycling, with the Cycle September competition now in it’s third week, whilst the Tour de France competitors will be preparing themselves for tomorrow’s 36.2km time trial, after a particularly brutal week in the Pyrenees.
After each stage of the tour each teams’ maintenance specialists conduct a thorough check on the bikes to make sure they are pristine for the next day’s race and bike maintenance is a particularly important aspect for all cyclists. Indeed, keeping your bike roadworthy doesn't need to be complicated and our SHEQ team have put together the following tips and tricks, which will help to keep everything in shape and prevent certain problems developing in the long term. Check out this video to find out more and read our Easy Maintenance Tips HERE.
However, if you don't fancy taking your bike apart or don't know where to start when it comes to maintenance, head into your local bike shop where bike experts will do it for you for a small fee. Also, Halfords have many video tutorials on YouTube. And finally when you’re out and about and need to repair your bike, many towns have bike repair stations with pumps, tools and information. Maintaining your bike doesn’t need to be difficult.
Attend a briefing
Global Safety Week - Monday 28 September to Friday 2 October - is fast approaching. Make sure you attend a briefing during the week, these have all now been scheduled and it is important that everyone attends.
Don't leave keys in vehicles
In this week’s Health & Safety update there was a report of an incident where a driver left the keys in the vehicle with the engine running. Teams have been reminded of the rules around this issue and have also been asked to review the risk assessment for working near vehicles, plant and equipment to ensure they are suitable and sufficient for the relevant hazards.
Hoima update video
Construction is progressing well on our Hoima International Airport project in Uganda and for all those colleagues who would like to know what has changed over recent weeks, please view this VIDEO report.
Paul Acock – Products
Kierin Mahoney – Regional Operations North
Muhammad Alkhatib – Ensign
Week 8 Results
Congratulations to everyone who made it onto this week’s Leaderboard, there were some impressive step counts. However, Derek Rees has continued his excellent form, notching up nearly 235,000 steps this week. With an strong 200,000 steps Ken Charlston still found himself in second place and managing over 120,000 steps was Steve Hoddinott in third place.
Our People Benefits
This week's special offer gives colleagues up to 25% off on beauty, hair and spa treatments. Alternatively, if you're looking to perfect your at home self-care routine, you can get up to 8% cashback on organic skin care, aromatherapy oils and more. To login or to find out more about the service simply click here.
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