As we hopefully begin to emerge into a post Covid-19 world it is worth considering the new landscape for construction designers, both contractors and consultants
The rules for designing buildings are going to change, be this British Standards, sector specifications such as the British Council of Offices, and other institutional standards used and recognised by investors. Over and above changes in regulations, Client expectations will also be affected by the new social interaction.
Design areas for consideration will include occupational density of buildings, size of circulation spaces, lifts capacity, staff amenity facilities and accommodations for any future pandemics.
Designers will be working on projects which variously have completed, are in the process of construction and in the process of being designed. They will have a duty to their employers on these projects to both:
- advise on the potential design impact of Covid-19.
- equally importantly notify their employers that the design services already/being provided are on the basis of pre-Covid-19 standards and that the Designers cannot be held accountable if post Covid-19 design changes are required either due to a change in standards or the employer reaction changing the project facility requirements.
There will also be existing obligations on designers and project managers/cost consultants/health & safety consultants such as advising where programme or cost budget are likely to be exceeded and safe methods of working, which Covid-19 will impact upon.
As the responsibility for the cost of the delays to construction projects is assessed it is important designers manage any possibility of their design being considered as a contributing factor.