The advice previously circulated remains sound. However, within this bulletin, we have covered off in a little more detail with reminders and clarification of three topics: site meetings, restrictions around vaccination etc. centres, and resources to administer and undertake works.
In order to minimise the chance of spreading the virus, joint site meetings should be avoided whilst the current strict Covid-19 restrictions are in place. Instead, consider using logged telephone calls, CCTV and/or video footage, street images and Street Manager as an alternate means to understand and resolve “on site” issues.
All SROH defects assessed as “Non-Dangerous” should be served on Street Manager as normal BUT stating that “NO JSM is needed and no rectifications required at this point as all non-urgent works are to be put on hold until social restrictions are lifted and a reasonable time given to resume business as usual; no further inspections to be carried out until this time”
Utilities should acknowledge and provide feedback upon agreeing the defect and monitor its condition and, if deterioration occurs, contact the HA to advise of any essential remedial works. Please ensure photographic evidence of the defect is attached or e-mailed and use existing Utility/HA contact lists as appropriate. The defect can then be discussed over the phone rather than a JSM, and the shortcomings noted on the failed inspection. It is vital that the works promoter acknowledges acceptance or rejection of the defect.
Vaccination and other essential logistic centres/locations
Particular regard needs to be applied to locations and routes, such as those to vaccine centres, testing facilities, to and between hospitals, and medical supply distribution depots. These locations may not all be obvious. All of these are very significant in the part they play in fighting the Covid-19 virus and its consequences. At these locations, and on the major transport routes that service them, restrictions may need to be strengthened, enhanced planning and co-ordination efforts carried out, and/or the execution of works may need to be postponed or re-scheduled to help with traffic management. However, where possible, works of supply and repair should be allowed to continue.
Resources to administer and complete works
With the high transmissibility of the current predominant strain of the virus, sickness and self-isolation of admin, planning and on site staff may severely impact the ability of both authorities and works promotors to administer or complete works. Therefore, careful consideration needs to be given on the resources available and adequate resilience. These are matters for both the promoter and the authorities to consider so that permits, the works and the network are managed and, if necessary, provision made to prioritise permits and works on category 0, 1, 2 and traffic sensitive streets.
There may be difficulties encountered and a practical and considerate view needs to be taken with the application of Section 74 charges. Where best endeavours are taken to complete works despite work crews’ sickness, and where, for similar reasons, routine permit transactions for promotors and authorities become difficult, communication and co-operation between the parties is essential. Duration extension requests and authority imposed variations, in these types of circumstances, should be considered and applied reasonably.
Good communication and cooperation are essential. However, where established requirements are disregarded or abused, promotors and authorities may find themselves subject to review and sanction.
Peter Loft and David Latham
Joint Chairs HAUC England
Agreed by all parties including the DfT, HAUC UK, JAG, Street Works UK,
Current Bulletins during Covid-19, 001.2 essential works, 002 defects, 004 Section 81 defective apparatus, 005.4 Streetworks ticket, 006 charges and permits, 007.1 Green Transport Restart, 008.3 Good practice during the Covid-19 recovery, 010 Working in local Covid-19 Hotspots, 011 Working in the third set of National restrictions.