Our movements are restricted, our offices are closed – save for a few essential staff for whom working from home is not an option – and all meetings have moved online once more.
We are able to continue work on our construction sites and are, in many ways, in a fortunate position compared to many other industries such as tourism and leisure.
There is, however, no question that it makes things more challenging.
Starting new jobs is incredibly hard as there is so much information that has to be passed on. Then there are factors such as how you induct new staff members and the list goes on and on.
It is like walking through treacle, everything is harder and everything requires more effort.
But we fully understand why the lockdown was re-introduced after the loosening of restrictions brought the much-anticipated second wave and we know we have to slow the spread of the virus and allow the NHS to be able to cope.
However, to then read that the Government are planning a temporary U-turn over Christmas for a period of around five days with multiple households mixing, really does get me quite upset and angry.
That could, according to reports, mean another lockdown of 20 days. The Government are measuring things in terms of lockdown days rather than the cost both in human terms and also damage to the economy – an economy which is already in a highly precarious state.
The explanations seem almost nonchalant – “Oh, we will have another 20 days of lockdown.” It is as if they haven’t assessed the impacts of those five days of fun
We have seen numbers rising in terms of suicide rates and most people will be able to tell you a story of someone they know, or a friend of a friend who has committed suicide this year which is devastating.
The idea that it is worth being locked down for a month for the sake of just five days, just seems absurd.
It also seems rather right wing that the Government is prepared to sacrifice lives, the future of some businesses, many jobs and the health of the economy for an element of society to celebrate Christmas when Eid was cancelled with a day’s notice and Diwali severely restrict.
It doesn’t seem appropriate to say that this one Christian celebration is worth all of this damage – you start to wonder if that is a very Christian thing to do.
The motive just seems to be to placate the population by saying we can celebrate Christmas without explaining the factual consequences. I cannot decide whether the Government feels that the population is incapable of digesting the implications or whether they have not assessed what the implication of Festive fun would be for the nation both economically and for the NHS.
People are working so hard to keep business and families afloat and the idea you can just abandon the rules with no logical and explainable reason is total nonsense, and actually goes totally against the mantra the Government have been preaching as vital for so long.
It smacks totally of populism – but it is populism with a deathly consequence.
By Eleanor Deeley
The accolade, for best practice in health and safety, was presented to Deeley Construction by BSG at the company’s George House headquarters in Coventry.
Keith Galletly, Health and Safety Manager at Deeley Construction, said: “We are naturally very proud to have won a BSG Award for best practice in health and safety for our region. I would like to congratulate every member of our team who contributed to this renowned achievement.”
Stephen Bell, Managing Director at BSG added: “BSG would like to commend Deeley Construction for its outstanding contribution to health and safety by introducing measures that have helped to keep their employees and workplaces free of injury and ill health. This was an exceptional achievement.”
The BSG Awards is a national celebration of businesses’ dedicated commitment to Health and Safety in construction. Over 800 members from across the UK, were considered for a BSG award. To view the fill list of winners please view the following page online: BSG Health & Safety Awards 2020.
PHOTO CAPTION: From left to right – Mick Byrne (BSG), Keith Galletly (Deeley Construction) and Steve Turner (Deeley Construction).
Coventry-based Deeley Construction has started improvement works at Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, which will see the addition of a new gallery and refurbishment of the existing exhibition spaces.
The work will be complete in time for the Herbert to play a major role in 2021 – including hosting the internationally renowned Turner Prize.
The exhibition will run from September 29, 2021 through to January 12, 2022 with the announcement of the winner taking place on December 1, 2021. It is the first time in its near 40-year history that it has been staged in the West Midlands.
Following completion of the works, the Herbert will also be able to attract other nationally significant exhibitions and work with a broader range of partners as the new galleries will offer greater flexibility in the way work is presented, utilising new technology and other infrastructures within the space.
The work is being funded by Coventry City Council and Arts Council England, and Deeley Construction will be completing the project on behalf of Culture Coventry, the charity which runs the Herbert.
Paul Breed, Chief Executive of Culture Coventry – which operates The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said: “We are looking forward with great excitement to Coventry 2021 and Herbert Art Gallery & Museum will have a big part to play in that.
“It was announced recently that we will be hosting the Turner Prize in 2021, which is incredible for the Herbert and Coventry.
“We are going to attract visitors from across the region and the country, so it’s vitally important that we are ready for that.
“This work will improve our gallery space and provide a step-change in the kind of exhibitions and events we can offer during the year of UK City of Culture and beyond.”
Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of Deeley Construction, said: “This is an exciting project to improve an iconic city centre attraction ahead of Coventry 2021. The gallery will remain open while our team completes the works, observing strict social distancing measures in the process.
“As a company, we have been big supporters of UK City of Culture in Coventry as we understand the massive benefits it will bring to the city and its communities.
“So we are delighted to be able to play a role in improving such an important cultural asset in the city.”
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “The Herbert is one of the modern jewels in the crown of Coventry and it is wonderful this work will improve this multi-purpose facility still further.
“The venue will play a pivotal role in our year as UK City of Culture as the city is placed in the national and international spotlight. But this work will also provide a lasting legacy for the residents of our city beyond that year as well.”
Pictured (left to right): Paul Breed, Francis Ranford (both Culture Coventry) and Martin Gallagher (Deeley Construction)
Whitnash’s new £2.2 million community hub is expected to be completed by summer 2021 and will include a multi-use sports hall, library, community café, meeting room and offices for the Town Council.
The scheme is being funded through a £1million grant and further contributions of £900k from Warwick District Council, a £150k Sport England grant with the library receiving £154k from Warwickshire Country Council. An additional £20k for external elements such as landscaping, parking, electric vehicle charging points and bike racks was raised through a local crowdfunding campaign with the remaining costs covered by a public works loan of £250k taken by the Town Council.
Martin Gallagher, Managing Director of the Deeley Group, said: “While we have worked across the Midlands, our roots are very firmly in Coventry and Warwickshire. Therefore as a local contractor we are delighted to be working on this project.
“We have worked closely with Whitnash Town Council and their partners during the pandemic to help bring this scheme forward.
“For more than 80 years we have delivered developments and engaged with community groups in Warwick District and we’re very happy to be able to continue this here.”
District and Town Councillor for Whitnash, Councillor Tony Heath commented: “A Civic Centre and Library on Acre Close has been a priority for our local community since it was identified by public consultation in our Neighbourhood Plan. I am therefore very pleased that thanks to support from Warwick District Council, Warwickshire County Council and the efforts of local businesses and residents, this vital multi-functional facility will soon be up and running for the benefit of everyone in our town.”
The Leader of Warwick District Council, Cllr Andrew Day commented: “The great town of Whitnash deserves nothing less than a strong community hub. Today, as work begins on this historic project, we also celebrate what can be achieved when we come together and focus on the needs of our community. This major investment is built on years of hard work to create a modern Civic Centre and Library fit for the future of this growing and changing town. When completed next year, the Centre will I’m sure, not only bring benefits to local residents, but provide new jobs and confidence at a critical time for our district.”
Councillor Kam Kaur, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Customer & Transformation, commented: “We have worked closely with our Town and District Council partners to fund and develop this project, so it is wonderful to see that work has now started. We are looking forward to our library service becoming a key part of a vibrant hub of activity for the community, bringing together a number of local services in a central location in Whitnash.”
Pictured from left to right Martin Gallagher (Managing Director Deeley Construction), Councillor Judy Falp (Whitnash Town Council), Councillor Tony Heath (Whitnash Town Council), Councillor Pam Redford (Vice-Chairman Warwick District Council), Councillor Andrew Day (Leader, Warwick District Council).
Deeley Construction has an excellent reputation with clients and sub-contractors alike but we thought there was a better way of working with those businesses we employ and on whom our reputation relies.
We spoke to our contracts managers, site managers, surveyors and estimators and asked them which companies we worked well with and, also, to identify where there had been any issues. As I mentioned previously, they were open discussions and it was the right time to find a new way of working.
Initially, we sent a questionnaire to several sub-contractors and asked for complete honesty. We wanted to know what businesses thought about working with Deeley – from health and safety through to settling accounts. The feedback was very positive.
It also gave us some really useful information on the different businesses – if a sub-contractor was performing well, we didn’t want to overload them with work that would have been too much and, equally, we don’t want to be under-using them if they had proved they could meet demands without compromising on quality.
We then invited several sub-contractors, from a variety of trades, in for meetings and said we wanted to look at the relationship as more of a partnership with them. Just merely holding the meetings was a great start. You could tell that they all liked the fact we were talking to them on level terms and that began the process of building towards partnership working.
Following that process, we now have several partners from all of the major trades that we tap into and we can bring them in to discuss projects at the tendering stage of the process. They can give objective views on how quickly and how costly certain elements of a contract will be and it means we can often save our client money and, also, be much more accurate with our timescales. Everybody wins.
That’s not to say that we don’t want to hear from other sub-contractors. We do, 100 per cent, but this process has just allowed us to develop those partnerships with businesses rather than starting from scratch whenever we start to tender for a job.
This all took place prior to the Covid-19 crisis but, in my view, it has really stood us in good stead since the pandemic hit.
There were those first few weeks when the advice for the construction sector was, at best, ambiguous but we were very quick to get back on site in a safe and socially distanced way as soon as we could.
And, having had those conversations and meetings with our sub-contractor partners, it meant we had great buy-in from them and it meant we lost much less time on sites than could have otherwise been the case.
Companies such as M&T, Nedlon and Drywall – to name but a few (and there were certainly plenty of others) – meant our work on everything from care homes through to a new high-tech car park at HORIBA MIRA could continue at a pace.
So, there’s no doubt that partnership working has helped us during the crisis but I believe it is going to produce even better results for all of us when we finally get back to normal.
Deeley Group has started work on a fourth development in the area – after already building a school, church and church hall since the 1950s.
The latest project, which is being delivered in partnership with housing provider Stonewater, will see the construction of 39 affordable new homes at a redundant brownfield site on Tiverton Road.
It is being led by Eleanor Deeley, deputy managing director at the Deeley Group, who follows in the footsteps of her father and grandfather in leading developments in Wyken.
George W. Deeley, who founded the company in 1936, was on-site for the building of nearby St John Fisher School in the mid-1950s.
The school was one of the first built in post-war Coventry and was the first school built by the company.
A 12-year-old Peter Deeley, now managing director, learned to drive a dumper truck for the first time on the development as he got his first taste of the world of construction.
He returned 20 years later to build the St John Fisher Church, providing a church for the parish that was formed in the 1960s.
And, 20 years on, Deeley were back in Wyken again, with current Deeley Construction managing director Martin Gallagher working as a quantity surveyor on the construction of the church’s parish hall in 1991.
Peter Deeley, managing director of the Deeley Group, said: “We have a long history of developments in the area and are now adding new housing to the numerous benefits we have brought to Wyken.
“My career in construction started on site in the area in the 1950s. But it’s safe to say health and safety regulations have come a long way since then, as I was given the chance to drive a dumper as a young boy!
“At the time, our yard was based just up the road in Stoke and the completion of St John Fisher School was the first school the firm built.
“The church was an interesting project and has been of huge value to the community, with the addition of the parish hall giving more space for people to come together.
“We have committed almost seven decades to improving lives for people living in Wyken and the new housing development at Tiverton Road is the next step in our development in the area.”
Eleanor Deeley, deputy managing director of the Deeley Group, added: “To be following in the family footsteps by bringing more important resources to this community is a great honour.
“As a child I recall going into the company offices on a Saturday, the family values are ingrained into me, and over the last 20 years I’ve seen the firm complete a wide range projects to improve the lives of people in communities around Coventry.
“By taking a short walk around the area you can see the positive impact the firm has had through the years and the housing project will bring further benefit to the people of Wyken.”
Matthew Crucefix, director of development (West) for Stonewater said: “We’re delighted to once again be working with Deeley Group on this project.
“It is important to Stonewater to work with partner organisations who know, understand and respect the local community in which we work.
“Over the years we’ve established a great working relationship with Deeley Group both as Stonewater during the last five years and with legacy organisation, Jephson Housing Association, prior Stonewater’s creation.
“We are delighted to be building much needed new affordable homes back in Warwickshire so soon after the completion of our joint scheme at Feather Lane in Nuneaton.
“Our work locally really demonstrates our joint commitment to help tackle the housing crisis and do what we can to ensure everyone has the opportunity to have a place to call home.”
Pictured: Matthew Crucefix (Stonewater), Eleanor Deeley (Deeley Group) and Peter Deeley. (Deeley Group).