Portal Security chief discusses why his firm will be watching the construction sector with interest in the post-Covid world

Published by Scott Challinor on August 19th 2020, 7:00am

New working procedures brought about by necessity because of the Covid-19 pandemic have yielded significant changes in the security industry. The lockdown has seen supply chains run down, the temporary closure of offices has seen demand for property management security services decrease, and the challenging landscape has seen Cumbernauld security firm Portal Security have little alternative but to turn to the government’s furlough scheme. However, while there have been adverse impacts, the firm’s managing director Michael Goldie has noted a significant upturn in demand in the construction industry.

Speaking on the Leaders Council podcast, Goldie revealed that the movement of the construction industry over the next few months will be critical for his firm, which specialises in security personnel provision, manufacture and installation of CCTV systems, and property management.

Goldie said: “Initially, we saw a surge in demand in the construction sector because sites needed extra security as they shut down. This spike helped keep us going because the property management side of our work significantly dropped off and we had to furlough staff and out supply chain was running down.

“We were busier than ever in terms of managing the day-to-day challenges that each individual building site, building and client posed. We had to consider the safety of staff and how we’d get them into sites and buildings, maintaining the social distancing, and making sure they were safe if they had to travel in on public transport.”

Elaborating on why the business had seen an increased demand from construction clients, Goldie explained: “After the lockdown forced public refuse sites to close, there was an increase of fly tipping offences in construction sites, so there needed to be a security presence there for those sorts of reasons.

“We worked long hours to ensure all of our staff were safe carrying out their duties and everyone provided an exemplary service. I cannot thank our workforce enough in that they have always endeavoured to do their job to the best of their ability. For us as a management team, it was challenging being unable to travel from Scotland to visit those staff members on jobs in London, for example, as we normally would do. As soon as we were able, we made visits in accordance with safety requirements to make sure our staff were alright, particularly mentally.”

While lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted across the UK and businesses and communities adjust to what has been called the “new normal” way of life, Goldie said that his firm would be keeping a very close eye on the construction sector and how it changes, since it will have some ramifications for the security industry and how it will need to innovate.

“I think we will see a change with construction and house-building sites in terms of how one manages the number of people such as contractors coming on site. There will be health and safety rules on the numbers of people working in certain areas, and changes in how you get staff on and off site.

“Existing entry points such as using a common thumbprint pad or shared key-cards are likely to go for health and hygiene reasons, and temperature checks could come into play so we will need to make sure that we are in a position to provide some of the technology that will be required for new health security checks. I am not sure at this stage how the change to health and safety on sites will be costed or managed at this stage, but I can see a change on the horizon.”

However, Goldie was pleased to reiterate that he had a dependable workforce to call upon to help Portal Security adjust to any industry alterations, including experts in the field of technology.

Goldie said: “We are lucky to have good technology partners and in-house staff who work for us, so they will help us get things such as temperature cameras in place on sites and in buildings to help with new safety procedures.

“We will have to come up with new ways of bringing this technology onto sites and I can see the shift toward this being a huge advantage for us in the construction sector side of our work. We will have to be careful with budgeting, because we do not know how long it will take to carry out certain jobs under new procedures and with new technology needing to come in, and we need to weigh-up investment in new technology against what the demand for it is likely to be.

“A lot for us will, therefore, depend on how the construction sector moves on over the next year or so.”

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
August 19th 2020, 7:00am

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