New site manager predicts safer future for construction following time in pandemic

Jeanette MacIntyre with Andrew and Steven Dunn

THE newly appointed site manager of Indeglas has revealed his belief that a number of positive outcomes will emerge in the construction sector as a result of what has been learnt during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Steven Dunn has 14 operatives under his supervision in his new role at the glass interior specialists, having been appointed following years of sub-contractor work for the firm’s owner, Jeanette MacIntyre.

Jeanette staged a management buyout of Deko Scotland and, in 2017, rebranded it to Indeglas – Danish for ‘internal glass’ – Steven, alongside his business partner, Harry Bedborough, were part of Jeanette’s journey and became ‘increasingly’ integrated in the partnership as they collaborated in installing the company’s internal glass screens.

Today, Indeglas is the sole distributor in the UK and Ireland for the product range of award-winning glass manufacturer DEKO of Denmark, and continues to be engaged in a range of high-profile buildings throughout Scotland and beyond.

Steven is responsible for the site management of an internal glass screen work package with value in excess of £1.4 million in his new role, which will involve responsibilities ranging from man management, technicalities relating to the installation of glass screens as well as logistics and health and safety.

Moving forward, Steven  believes that construction’s time in operation during the Covid-19 pandemic will bring about positive changes to the industry. He said, “One-way systems on construction sites, introduced to limit the risks of Covid-19 infection have created much safer, clearer routes for loading of tools, plant and materials and must surely be here to stay. We constantly look for ways to improve efficiencies and work safer and being able to plan access routes in the knowledge that there will be clear thoroughfares makes a massive difference.

“Previously, passageways and stairways on site could be heavily congested with operatives going in one direction manoeuvring complex equipment or heavy panels of glass confronting other trades and operatives coming in the opposite direction, usually with resulting in lost time while priorities and methodologies were revised. The new protocols, whilst created for an entirely different reason have clearly demonstrated how efficient and much safer one-way systems on construction sites are.

“The improved cleanliness and hygiene procedures resulting from the need to reduce risk of infection due to Covid-19 has created much improved construction site washroom, toilet and mess facilities, a move which has been long overdue and welcomed by every single person working or visiting project locations.

“During my career I have witnessed canteens, rest areas and toilet facilities on sites ranging from squeaky clean to squalid. Formerly this would have been a welfare or procedural issue but in my opinion it should always have featured as a significant health and safety issue and I really hope that following the enforced hygiene measures introduced to reduce risk that finding facilities which are not possible to use are firmly a thing of the past.

“I for one have been pleased with the improvements and I’m sure I’m not alone in hoping they are here to stay.”

He added on his new role, “I’m enjoying it; it’s so different from the role of sub-contacting joiner, but I’m well supported as I’m learning a massive amount. No two projects are the same, and long experience in the industry helps, though working constantly with an iPad takes a bit of getting used to.

“Fortunately, I’m a fast learner and I have been helped by Tom Russell, former Indeglas site manager, who retired recently. He has been a valuable mentor to me ever since I worked for him a couple of years ago on Indeglas’s Forth Valley College, Falkirk Campus glass screen installation project.

“When Tom decided it was time for him to retire, I asked his advice about my suitability for applying for his job. He was very encouraging, and he is still there for me at the end of a phone if there is an element on a project that needs talked through.

“Andrew (Steven’s son) is also employed by Indeglas and has thrived. I have seen a big difference in him. He is now a confident young qualified joiner, still accumulating experience and, like me, looking forward to getting beyond these Covid restrictions.”

Because they lived in the same “bubble”, both Steven and Andrew got back to working together in June last year, earlier than most, since they had been in the same ‘family bubble’.

“I hope we can all come out of this period stronger than when we went in. Lessons have certainly been learned and I hope we can profit from them.”