CPA discusses the recovery
29 June 2020
The type of economic revival that we might expect following the pandemic was amongst topics discussed in a webinar organised by the CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association) on 26 June, under the topic ‘Plant-hire and the road to recovery’.
Participants included Andy Wright, Chief Executive of Sunbelt Rentals UK, Brian Stead, Director of Compliance with Nationwide Platforms, and Andy Burrows, UK Operations Manager of Lynch Plant Hire.
The consensus was that a V-shaped recovery - a sharp decline followed by an equally rapid bounce back - was less likely than a ‘W’ or tick-shaped one. A tick (also known as a ‘swoosh’) reflects a slower recovery phase, while a W-shape could come about if there were a significant second wave of the coronavirus.
The panel believed that the W-style revival would be challenging but the country would be reasonably expected to cope given its raised level of preparedness, with the new NHS Nightingale Hospitals, greater ICU ventilator capacity and a better test-and-trace capability.
The panellists also answered a question - submitted by this blog - about whether any positive factors had emerged from responding to the pandemic, despite the difficulties. Andy Wright said he had been struck by how people from all divisions of Sunbelt Rental’s business had pulled together with a strong sense of teamwork when supplying equipment for the emergency drive-through coronavirus testing centres across the country (pictured above). This had united the organisation when it was also undergoing a major re-branding from its former A-Plant identity.
For Brian Stead the pandemic had similarly highlighted efforts made by people working on essential projects. There was also now a “step change in wellness” and consideration of workers’ well-being, accelerating measures that the construction industry had already been adopting. Companies were now placing more emphasis on communicating with personnel, both furloughed and non-furloughed, and prioritising people’s mental health.
Andy Burrows had also been impressed by people’s resilience and adaptability in these unprecedented times. Employees had embraced the challenge of working away from the office and communicating over the internet, and Lynch had organised online competitions for all personnel to get involved in as a team. “In one sense, the pandemic has brought people together,” he said.
Photo: Louis Rayner, Sunbelt Rentals