Last week, the UK government announced it would relax some lockdown rules, allowing a handful of professions to return to work. Construction workers are among those who can go to work under certain conditions, but how will these changes affect site security?
Not all areas of the UK have recommended that construction workers come back to sites. In London, where there has been a high concentration of coronavirus cases, the Mayor Sadiq Khan has strongly advised all construction sites to stop work, unless the work is for safety purposes - in which case, it is critical and should continue.
In other areas of the UK, government guidance states that work may continue, provided that recommended safety measures are in place. These measures include maintaining social distancing of 2 metres on-site, and screening working areas off from each other. Other recommendations include staggered site hours, regular hand-washing, and working on limited tasks each day to avoid spreading the virus via tools.
These changes will also have an effect on the security firms who monitor construction sites. In our Calipsa webinar series, we spoke with several remote monitoring professionals who saw an immediate request for 24-hour site security in response to the lockdown, which had forced many sites to become suddenly unoccupied.
Over the past few weeks, monitoring stations have had to re-adjust their monitoring schedules to cover the additional monitoring hours that their customers have requested. Operators have also had to adapt, often working on shifts that they are less familiar with - for example, day operators and night operators have been monitoring at different times in order to manage the extra workload.
As with many new or updated site set-ups, there was a period where unwanted alarms increased dramatically. Our customers reported that Calipsa’s False Alarm Filtering Platform helped their operators handle the sudden influx of false alarms, until the schedules and cameras were fully calibrated to the new, extended monitoring hours. Ed Essad, Security Services Manager at Cougar Monitoring, said that Calipsa “had been instrumental in managing the sudden increase in alarms” during lockdown.
Now that these lockdown measures are easing, will monitoring stations’ workload follow suit? It seems likely. Once construction workers return to sites in growing numbers, monitoring stations can set their schedules back to similar monitoring hours as before. This means a drastic reduction in alarm monitoring during the day, when it is normal to expect people on-site.
When asked for his thoughts on these changes, Carl Meason of Fenix Monitoring commented: “Fenix monitors a large amount of construction sites, we’re going to see some significant changes as back to work processes develop. We’ve been supporting our clients more over the COVID-19 period to ensure their sites are always secure and are positively interacting with our partners in assisting them back to normal working hours. Fenix is working with its customers to ensure we’re there if they need us!”
It’s still an uncertain time and businesses are doing everything they can to minimise the spread of coronavirus; however for monitoring stations, these changes are positive. Many remote monitoring businesses were supporting their customers with extended monitoring free of charge, so the return to normal hours is sure to relieve the strain. What’s more, as we head into summer - when we generally see more alarms - this increase will hopefully be easier to manage.
Calipsa is here to support our customers during the coronavirus pandemic, helping to reduce the burden of false alarms and maintain site security. Click here to find out more.