The Site Manager
Adam Camilleri is a site manager working on the new Roffey Homes Bayside Apartments complex in Worthing. He manages the brickwork façade, organises materials and scaffolding.
Building started on the site of the old Aquarena swimming pool in 2018. The site is the highest in Worthing, a complex containing 141 seafront apartments, a seafront café, office space and an underground public car park.
“I always enjoy seeing the finished job – it gives me a sense of accomplishment to see a job completed from start to finish. This project is on a bigger scale than we’re used to.”
The construction industry was spared the restrictions requiring staff to work from home during the pandemic that crippled other sectors like the arts, hospitality and sports. Construction sites were allowed to remain open, with social distancing measures following the prime minister’s announcement of the first lockdown on 23 March 2020.
Despite being exempt from the ‘stay at home’ order, the pandemic had a significant impact on the construction industry.
Personal safety was a big concern for many who worked on site when the country first went into lockdown. “To start with I was very worried, we didn’t know how it would play out. It was a scary feeling to start with, people tried to avoid each other. Everyone wore masks, kept distance and washed their hands – people were wary and we carried on where we could.”
180 people were working full time building the Bayside Apartments before the national lockdown was announced. But despite the exemption, some construction workers didn’t want to risk catching Coronavirus on busy sites, while others weren’t able to come and work for accommodation reasons.
“The biggest difficulty was the loss of external contractors from outside of the area. They weren’t allowed to stay in the hotels and B&B’s anymore, so some aspects of work on site couldn’t progress, we could only get so far.”
Getting hold of materials became extremely difficult. Many builders’ merchants closed and some manufacturers shut some, or all of their factories.
Other aspects of work continued readily with greater distance between team members. “Reduced workers on site allowed others to spread out. We were allowed to work where we liked – I worked outside in the elements with no one around me, I was happy and it made me feel a lot better. People did what they needed to on site. Everyone adapted to regulations, wore PPE and have done their best to stay as safe as possible.”
The team felt very lucky to carry on in limited ways inside the building. “We were able to put finishing trades such as, carpenters, plumbers, tilers and decorators into individual flats quite safely. No one else was able to go in while they worked. It started like that and then it became a movable feast, almost like pigeon holing.”
Despite the challenges of three national lockdowns, work continued throughout to finish the project. In March 2021, almost a year after the Coronavirus first took hold in the UK, new owners started moving in.