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The COVID-19 response

The COVID-19 response

Supporting the profession through the pandemic was critical during such unprecedented and uncertain times. Navigating through lockdowns and beyond, RICS has provided:

  • The ‘Beyond COVID-19’ guide series supporting the profession in returning to key activities, including the reopening of commercial buildings, physical inspections through COVID-19 and guidance on valuing in an uncertain time.   
  • Continually updating guidance and addressing queries through a dedicated COVID-19 hub and email inbox, covering key issues such as valuation and client visits, specific concerns for small and medium-sized businesses, and updates from government engagements. 
  • Moving key services like RICS Dispute Resolution Service online in order to support trust in regulatory continuity. 
  • Reducing the cost of low-value UK contract dispute-resolution for SMEs by chairing a working-party set up by the Construction Industry Council.

Stories of resilience from the pandemic

Professionals in the built and natural environment have held firm on their singular purpose of delivering to the public advantage by showing great resilience during the challenging months of COVID-19 and producing some outstanding achievements where they are. Here are stories from some of our professionals

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The industry will need to keep adapting to artificial intelligence, the internet of things, smart living and more – as managers we have to be quick on our feet and nimble.

Adejumoke Akure MRICS

Facilities Management in Nigeria

On the frontline of the COVID-19 response in Lagos, Nigeria, facilities management specialist and entrepreneur, Adejumoke Akure MRICS stepped in with her expertise to support people to isolate and recover from the disease, while the city was in lockdown. 

I worked with teams in Lagos state to set up an isolation and treatment centre, offering strategic facilities and operations management advice. Cleaning and infection control protocols are key as are a strategic mandate in effective healthcare-centre management” she commented.  

Adejumoke believes the lessons learned during the pandemic will reshape facilities management in the future. Not least, the wider adoption of integrated systems used to fight COVID-19.

Cost optimization and increased flexibility will become major areas of concern for all businesses, driving even the most conventional players to shared workspaces to enable them to upsize or downsize in an agile manner. ‘Work near home’ will become a key trend and companies will adopt models to facilitate de-densification.

AWFIS founder and CEO Amit Ramani MRICS

Adapting to serve users of co-working offices in India

India based co-working space provider AWFIS adapted to continue serving clients through the disruption, by providing at-home support and keeping their co-working spaces operational throughout the lockdown for essential services clients. 

Many firms and start-ups in India rely on the use of flexible co-working spaces, with the market growing over the past five years. AWFIS, extended infrastructural and technology support – such as audio and video conferencing and other collaboration tools – so that people could seamlessly work from home. They also helped organisations to evaluate their work from home readiness, provided smart desks, ergonomic chairs, data security, and IT troubleshooting. To enable their essential services clients to work safely during lockdown, AWFIS redesigned its workspaces to be further apart.

Users can sometimes take months to adopt new functionality in the application,” explains Georgia Bergers MRICS, US partnership and field marketing lead, HammerTech. “Take-up of the coronavirus update was almost universal within days. That is how essential it was.

Georgia Bergers MRICS

Leveraging technology to keep essential workers safe in the US

With construction identified as an essential business in most states of the US, many sites remained open and operational through lockdowns. This potentially exposed workers to contracting the virus, so there was a need to manage this risk. HammerTech, a collaborative Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for safety and quality operations, innovated their cloud-based platform to help reduce transmission risks among construction workers. 

The firm developed new contact tracing and touchless sign-on functionality, adding this new technology to its platform within two weeks. Workers could use it to complete digital orientations, submit forms and paperwork electronically, and sign-in to reach their workstations. Site managers also used the app to divide sites into zones to avoid overcrowding. Innovating to transfer these tasks to a digital platform helped to promote social distancing and reduce transmission risks. 

Over 50 general contractors are using the functionality and since its introduction over 100,000 workers have used the touchless features to gain access to their jobsites, confirm meeting attendance and/or complete their digital orientation.

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