As the scale and consequences of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Global pandemic evolve and its impact on the construction industry unfolds, Burtenshaw Scoufis Architecture would like to reassure our valued clients, building contractors, suppliers and fellow consultants that we are committed to continuing to administer and provide our architectural consultancy services without any undue or avoidable disruptions. Our daily operations and architectural practice project teams remain unaltered at present and all obligations and milestones that we are committed to will be achieved.
With the safety and wellbeing of our staff, clients, subconsultants, suppliers and contractors being paramount we are mindful of the guidance being given by the World Health Organisation, our Government, State and Local Authorities and statuary Health Departments. We are actively incorporating the advice applicable to our work environments and enforcing appropriate safety protocols. The following actions and precautionary measures are being taken or implemented: –
- Our office in Alexandria will remain open unless circumstances dictate otherwise however staff are generally working remotely from home where doing so is practicable and are providing full digital support for them.
- We have enhanced our office cleaning protocol and increased the frequency. All staff are required to use the hand sanitisers provided and to maintain strict personal hygiene if office attendance is necessary.
- We will continue to communicate with our clients, subconsultants and contractors by conventional electronic means or otherwise collaborate using available online tools such as Skype, Teams
- Site inspections pose risks for all involved including our staff and site personnel. Consequently we will seek client and building contractor directions and approval before attending project sites when essential.
- When site inspections are required attendance will be limited to two people at a time.
- Observance of the social distancing recommendations of health authorities will be strictly adhered to and we have temporally halted the hosting of meetings in our office unless by video conferencing.
- Long distance travel had been curtailed as recommended by the authorities and staff travel will be significantly reduced to that deemed necessary to satisfy critical needs and only with Director and client approval.
- Staff members will be required to self-isolate if they display potential signs or symptoms of the virus however, there have as yet been no internal cases reported.
More specifically, the action we have taken to facilitate the efficient continuation of our architectural consultancy services includes, but is not limited, to: –
We have engaged and worked with an expert and experienced electronics/computer backup organisation for over ten years. This company has installed fail safe back up procedures including multiple remote storage facilities which they constantly monitor and administer. They provide ongoing informed services to our company and we communicate with them daily.
Power Supply Security
We have recently upgraded and enhanced our power supply mains and installed a new main switch board to provide future flexibility and to guarantee continuity of power supply.
Remote Video Conferencing
Our office is equipped with a Microsoft Teams based video conferencing facility, which allows us to organise a meeting as administrator, share remote content and present with good quality audio. All our staff are also equipped with laptops and webcams to participate in meetings remotely when required. We have successfully migrated to remote meetings with our University and commercial clients and have continued to operate efficiently on this basis without project delays. We have also been able to display digital content in a clear and concise manner through the Teams platform.
Remote Access for Staff Working from Home
All staff are equipped with laptop computers with appropriate capacity and all necessary software. Their home personal computers have been specifically set up with remote desktop functionality by our IT service provider to facilitate direct access to our office servers and to ensure their effective and efficient operation from home.
We believe the above to be a platform for survival in these troubled times and are confident that we will emerge on the other side in better shape to move forward again.
In conclusion, our practice principles and Directors have had a significant number of years supplying architectural services to the industry and our many Institutional, and other, clients will attest to our expertise, design excellence, professional ability, integrity and reliability. We will continue to carefully monitor prevailing conditions and, if circumstances change, update this policy where and as appropriate. All of our valued clients will be kept informed.
George Scoufis & Danny Burtenshaw – Directors