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Work resumes on Commonwealth Games aquatics centre after coronavirus safety measures put in place

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Coronavirus | Published:

Construction work has resumed on Sandwell's Commonwealth Games aquatics centre following a 24-hour pause caused by the coronavirus lockdown.

Work is progressing on the aquatics centre

Council bosses said work on the centre, which will host swimming and diving competitions at Birmingham Games, was halted by contractor Wates.

It came as bosses ensured teams could work safely after Prime Minister Boris Johnson enforced the lockdown on Monday night.

It comes amid criticism of the Government that construction work has been allowed to continue despite complaints team will not be able to keep a safe distance from each other.

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Sandwell Council, however, said workers had been put into split shifts to ensure they are separated.

Officials will be keen to ensure the coronavirus outbreak does not lead to delays on completing the aquatics centre, which was already facing a tight schedule as it needs to be completed next year to undergo safety tests to ensure it is ready for the Games.

The venue, on Londonderry Lane, Smethwick, then become a leisure centre for the public

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Council deputy leader Maria Crompton, said: “Following the Government’s announcement on Monday that construction sites are to remain open, our construction partner Wates Construction suspended work on the aquatics centre on Wednesday for 24 hours to double check that the necessary measures are in place to enable staff to continue to work safely in response to the recent Covid-19 outbreak.

“While a robust action plan was already in place, Wates wanted to make sure the health and safety of staff and wider society is not compromised in any way and that the measures are compliant with Public Health England guidance.

Work at the site last month

"The precautions Wates have in place include additional cleaners on site, with regular deep cleansing of site accommodation, and workers being organised into split shifts, rotas and that they are separated appropriately.

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An artist's impression of how the new centre would look. Image: Sandwell Council

"The welfare facilities on site and access arrangements to these in order to comply with guidance has also been reviewed, for example imposing canteen capacity limits. On this basis, and in line with Government guidelines, Wates recommenced work on site this morning and will continue accordingly.

“Along with our partners, we are committed to delivering this project in line with the current timelines. However, a strong response to the Covid-19 crisis and the safety of our workforce is paramount for Sandwell Council and we will follow any new guidelines announced by Government or any health and safety recommendation made by our construction partner, Wates.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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