As a Project Engineer for Legrand based in the South West, my team and I have continued to work throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic and have had to adapt very quickly. Since lockdown, instead of going straight to site to conduct initial meetings we’re doing this over Microsoft Teams or Sykpe video calls. And because of the crisis there are extra risk assessments that must be completed by both myself and the customer prior to anyone stepping foot on site. I am also responsible for ensuring our contractors are adapting and adhering to new health and safety guidelines that have been put in place during this crisis.
A recent project that I was proud to be part of was installing Aid Call Nurse Call systems into the Dragon’s Heart Field Hospital at the Principality Stadium in Wales.
Medical first, work second
Getting on to site for the first day of the install was simply crazy! Walking onto site, we had to stand in line and get our temperature checked, wash our hands and fill in an online H&S survey and on-site induction before we were able to enter and begin work.
The site was a football stadium that was being converted into a Covid-19 Field Hospital and all the corporate boxes were being converted into anything from two to 30 bed hospital wards. It really was a surreal experience as this was my first taste of working in the new Covid-19 environment and a far cry from my normal daily life and the usual jobs we do at Legrand.
My first day consisted of preparation to start the project. I discussed with the clients to understand their needs and detailed how best to configure the system and then set about arranging the required kit for delivery, because of the short time scales it was difficult to get up to date site drawings/plans but once this was all agreed I set about ordering the equipment needed and then planned the logistics of how to get all of the required kit onto site.
Then it was full steam ahead to install 750 call points in 8 days….
I arranged for different trades to assist, like electricians to get our Aid Call system up and running. And the following days was all about installing the Aid Call system with the Legrand crack team who really deserve to be named….(sorry lads) Pete Mitchell, Martin Dobb, Doug Allen, Simon Gregory and Dean.
Things you take for granted
Some of the challenges we came up against were things like accessing food and drink and finding accommodation for colleagues who couldn’t commute to the site. The constant handwashing and the need to ensure all staff and contractors were always safe and socially distanced. The hours were long and unsocial, and each member of our team clocked up walking an average of 12 miles a day (so we felt like we were walking like John Wayne by the end of day !!). And every evening when I left site the surreal feeling continued as when I got home to avoid any possible contamination of the Covid-19 virus I had to take my clothes off at the door and shower before being able to spend time with my family. Although this all sounds like a normal day for a Project Engineer the timescale on this project were very short and the urgency to get it complete on time was felt by us all.
We needed a last push to get completed on time and we did it! The whole lot installed, commissioned and signed off with just a little time to spare. I walked away from the job with a great sense of pride and satisfaction, and felt we as a team had helped some way towards the support needed for our nation but also hoped that the new Field hospital would never have to be used either.