Galliard Homes has decided to remove all 160+ operatives from New Capital Quay, Greenwich.
Galliard announced the closure of all its building sites in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown, announced by the prime minister on 23rd March.
Government advice remains that all construction work should continue but only if Public Health England guidance can be observed.
Despite cladding replacement being widely considered to be urgent works – and replacing hazardous cladding has been urgent for nearly three years now, since the Grenfell Tower fire – Galliard said that at New Capital Quay it was not possible to provide adequate welfare arrangements and keep to site workers two metres apart at all times, as per the guidance.
New Capital Quay, comprising 11 blocks on the Thames riverside, is reportedly the biggest UK development to have used a Grenfell-style aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding system.
Part of the problem with the replacement cladding works is that Galliard opted to do the job using mobile elevators, mast climbers and other powered access equipment, rather than scaffolding. This means that small teams must work together on these platforms, making appropriate distancing impossible
Another consideration is that with the imposition of the lockdown, New Capital Quay residents are, like everyone else, now working from home. The noise generated by the re-cladding machinery and operations would be disruptive to them. The daytime occupancy of the development has risen from less than 150 people normally to almost 2,500 during the lockdown.
Galliard said that as soon as the guidance from Public Health England changes then the works at New Capital Quay will re-start.
Galliard said: “We confirm we have taken this appropriate action to protect our workforce, respect our residents and support our NHS.”