Main contractor for the construction of the new Compton and Edrich stands is ISG, which was one of the first contractors to declare that it was closing sites last month. However, it has decided that it can get its Lord’s team to site safely and keep them two metres apart while at work, in according with the new Site Operating Procedures.
Lord’s cricket ground is owned by the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), whose chief executive Guy Lavender has confirmed to members that work has not stopped on the new stands. “At present, ISG wish to continue to work as do their subcontractors," he said. "We have discussed and supported their plans to enable safe working and adherence to government advice. This includes two-metre distancing, additional parking and vehicle transportation, enlarged rest areas to maintain separation, proactive management and on-site monitoring.”
He added: "This phase of construction is entirely open plan and does not involve enclosed working. Should the government issue instruction for construction to stop, ISG will adhere to this immediately."
The new stands will increase capacity by 2,500 seats to 31,000, with better facilities and better sightlines in the new stands. Seats were due to be ready for use during the 2020 season. Fully fitted-out facilities are scheduled to be completed for summer 2021.
ISG issued an apparently decisive statement on 24th March, the first morning of the lockdown, just after the prime minister’s television address to the nation.
ISG chief executive Paul Cossell said: “Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our people, our customers, supply chain partners and the people in the communities where we work. We are in unprecedented times and I have decided to take decisive action to help ensure people are protected against Covid-19. Government advice continues to shift in the countries where we operate. What we know is that social distancing is absolutely key to safety – when travelling to site, entering and leaving site and also within sites themselves.
“Looking at the global picture, I’ve decided that it is time for ISG to act ahead of government advice. In line with this, by close of play today we will suspend activity across sites which cannot meet an enhanced risk profile test…. We must act now and do so decisively to protect the welfare of people across the industry. I believe that by taking this decisive action we will keep our people, customers, supply chain and the general public safe. Nothing is more important.”
Most sites in London have found it difficult to observe Public Health England guidelines, especially the bit about avoiding public transport getting to work, and have thus suspended all but urgent or critical works. But at Lord’s, at least, ISG's ‘enhanced risk profile test’ has been passed.