‘This is a Herculean task for any government’
Chris Godek, president, US National Demolition Association
In many ways, demolition is better prepared for Coronavirus than some other industries. A lot of our employees already wear respirators and PPE, they are already mandated to wear gloves, because of the hazards they face every day. And even in the pretty good times we sometimes get laid off in the winter.
In terms of mental health, we don’t know the full impact yet, but it’s going to be major.
We won’t know how effective our lobbying of the government has been until further down the road, but this is a Herculean task for any government. It’s a cliche, but I think we are all going to be redefining a mnew normal. My desire is for NDA members to be leading that charge.
‘We check every single employee’
Brian Hyungrok Do, vice president, Sungdo Construction
The Korean government has tried to stop the spread of infection of Coronavirus and testing has been quite severe. These intensive measures have been successful but it is not easy to operate demolition sites with them in place.
Most of the sites are open and working normally, but we have had to control movements of workers in and out. Security checks the temperature of every single worker, in front of the gates, before they enter the site. If it is more than 38°C, they do not come in. Every Monday, we have a survey of every worker to check for symptoms of Coronavirus during. There are three questions and again if he answers “yes” they do not come in.
Wearing a mask is a must. If someone does not wear a mask, they are not allowed into the site. If they are on site and working without a mask, they are expelled directly.
’Demolition needs a code of conduct’
James Howard, industry professional, (speaking personally)
Demolition has some exceptional people with a demonstrable capacity to innovate, find solutions and adapt to change and recognising that strength we need to harness that to ensure we are recovery ready.
But the two things business needs right now are liquidity and confidence. There is still a lot of uncertainty.
However, I think we have a moment in time now for all stakeholders to demonstrate their commitment to corporate and social responsibility values by considering a voluntary code of conduct with three key commitments to set aside liquidated and general damages arising from delay or disruption caused by Covid-19, guarantee a fair and reasonable entitlement to an extension of time, and cap the additional increased cost of working that any company can reasonably be expected to incur before being allowed to be released from its’ contractual obligations, without detriment.’Thi
‘It’s a waiting game…it’s surreal’
Jacqueline O’Donovan, managing director, O’Donovan Waste Disposal
Working in a family-run business, my biggest task in these uncertain times has been managing and balancing my team’s reactions to the coronavirus pandemic.
At a time like this, as a managing director, you can feel like a goldfish in a bowl.
After three years of uncertainty due to Brexit, the black cloud had lifted in January. I had hoped that downturns and unpredictable times would be in the past.
But sadly not. Little did I expect that a few months later, we would be experiencing a worldwide pandemic. It is all so surreal.
However, it is important I feel, that businesses are not lulled into a false sense of security. It is in the months after normality is back that the tax and VAT deferrals and loans will need to be repaid, the financial breaks will come to an end and businesses will need to factor this into their fiscal models.
Unfortunately, for business owners, we have no control over when that time will come.
‘Our company would never put health at risk’
John, Tom and Pat Carey, founders, Carey Group (owner of Scudder Demolition)
We started the group 50 years ago and believed then as we do today, that we would never ask another person to do anything that we would not do ourselves.
The second generation of our family, along with other leaders in our business, made a collective decision on to close our site operations, a decision that we fully supported.
To ask our people to continue using public transport, working on crowded sites and sharing welfare and canteen areas, was something we would not be willing to do ourselves. To expect others to do this would be in direct conflict of the values our business is built on.
At Careys we will never ask our people to put their health, or that of their loved ones, at risk in the name of work.
‘We are entering a tough period’
Melker Jernberg, president, Volvo Construction Equipment
The measures to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic began affecting our operations in China in February, and had a severe impact in mid-March, when our global supply chain was disrupted and production halted in most parts of our operations.
It is clear we are now entering a tough period, with both production stoppages and low demand having a negative impact on our profitability.
That said, we take confidence in the fact that our customers are active in businesses that are important to society, and that our products and services are vital in building sustainable infrastructure for the future.
- This is part of a feature on demolition and Coronavirus in the April-May issue of Demolition & Recycling International, published today. You can listen to extended interviews with Chris Godek, Brian Hyungrok Do and James Howard in the digital issue of the magazine (please see below for download details)