On the front line against COVID-19   

The recent letter from Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to UK construction was a welcome note in what has been an extremely challenging time for everyone.

The Secretary of State rightly paid credit to those working tirelessly within the industry throughout this period – from operatives to those producing materials and mineral products – to support the critical infrastructure society needs to function, stay safe and keep healthy.

And a shining example of this is the completion of the new NHS Nightingale Hospital at the Excel Centre in East London which has been completed in a fortnight.  

When news broke in January that an entire hospital was being constructed in a week in the Chinese city of Wuhan to treat those who had contracted coronavirus, many were sceptical that a similar feat could ever be achieved in the UK.  Nor did we ever think a facility like this would be needed. 

The delivery of the Nightingale is testament to all those involved – and great credit should be paid to the armed forces, the NHS, contractors and suppliers of materials for being able to deliver with such speed and efficiency at such a critical time. 

Concrete is essential for constructing all hospitals and the material has played its own vital role at the Nightingale. A supply of specialist concrete was provided quickly for the creation of plinths which will support large oxygen tanks for the hospital's 4,000 patients.

As the Secretary of State rightly noted, mineral product production and manufacturing plays an essential role within the construction and other strategic supply chains, and is necessary to support the maintain infrastructure, utilities and public services.    

Chris Leese, UK Concrete Director

Image, courtesy of Tarmac