As the Premier League returns to action, football's 'Project Restart' is a familiar story for those planning the safe resumption of work on London's super sewer.
This week sees the much-anticipated restart of top-flight English football after a little over three months since its suspension in March as the country came to grips with the COVID-19 crisis.
The scale of the task now facing the Premier League isn’t lost on Tideway’s Head of Safety and Assurance (and lifelong Liverpool fan) Paul Breslin – having recently played a key role in helping Tideway resume construction.
As the country, and indeed the world, awaits the return of the beautiful game, Paul notes the similarities between restarting a construction project the size of Tideway, and the challenges the Premier League faces in restarting, and hopefully finishing, its season.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of similarities,” says Paul. “Firstly, I think having that bit of down time to prepare a plan for reopening has been an advantage for both.”
Tideway planned extensively for the safe resumption of construction, creating individual site safety plans for each of the sites.
Likewise, the Premier League has been in the process of putting together similar strategies for each matchday, as they get ready to play the remaining 92 games at 20 stadiums across the country.
“There’ll have been extensive assessment and understanding of medical advice, then trying to put that into practice through risk assessment and implementing control measures like social distancing,” Paul explains.
In order for clubs to resume training safely, they'll have had to draw up guidelines for the day-to-day working environment – much like Tideway.
“Football clubs are training in two different groups to minimise the direct contact between players,” Paul added. “We’re seeing the same thing on site – we’re having to implement staggered shift starts.
“I think also a prolific testing regime is going to be taking place within football,” Paul continues, “Obviously the Premier League has huge resources and the best medical advice on hand, but similarly we have excellent medical advice on hand from our Duradiamond contractors.”
A die-hard Liverpool fan, Paul’s eagerly awaiting the league’s return, albeit if only to see Liverpool, who are an almost unassailable 22 points ahead of their nearest rivals, clinch their first ever Premier League title. Ideally, the sooner the better.
“From my perspective, this sounds really bad but all I want is two games, two Liverpool wins and then job done, the season can finish after that.”
Meanwhile, teams across the Tideway project continue working towards the ultimate goal of a cleaner River Thames.