Interview: John Blake, Site Manager Designer Group - Construction Network Ireland - Construction Network Ireland

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Published in Construction on 23/11/2020

Interview: John Blake, Site Manager Designer Group

CNI Editor reports

**First published in Sunday Business Post**

What’s your name and what position do you hold?

My name is John Blake and I am an Electrical Site Manager with Designer Group, an International building services and engineering Group.

What are your day to day responsibilities?

At Designer Group my day to day responsibilities include ensuring we are meeting project deadlines, whilst working safely and maintaining a high quality of delivery. Having just helped the team receive PC at Grangegorman East Quad, Dublin, I am now based at our Haddington Road office refurbishment project. In this role, I have to demonstrate strong management, communication and planning skills and keep my training and knowledge up to date in electrical, mechanical, BMS and HVAC systems.

What is your professional background?

With 18 years industry experience, including the running of my own electrical contracting business for over 7 years, my knowledge spans a wide range of sectors including data centres, industrial, commercial, and hospitality. I am continually focused on quality, health and safety standards, overseeing my team to ensure compliance, and reporting on construction progress to stakeholders. I have experience managing large teams and fully understand the design and construction process, communicating with ease at all levels.

How has the Covid19 pandemic impacted safety and health in construction?

If our industry can learn just one thing in the throes of a pandemic; it is that health, safety and wellbeing will forever be the most critical topic. Never before has everything we know about how to stay safe and healthy been needed so much and by so many. The extra level of care which has been brought into the construction industry, in particular around site hygiene standards, has been commendable and this can only be a long-term benefit to us and our families within the construction industry.

What lasting impact do you see?

I believe the new regulations which include the use of masks and face coverings will take some time for people to adapt to, but in the long term I really feel the extra measures brought in will keep our staff and other members of the site team safe and well. Now, more than ever, the industry will be under the spotlight to ensure we maintain the highest standards and effective precautions in order to reduce the possibility of infection in the workplace.

How do you see tech innovation transforming health and safety in construction? What do you think will be the major breakthroughs over the next 5–10 years?

Recently, we have seen a lot of new technology in the EHS department and this helps us to streamline paperwork requirements and gives us all personal access to past paperwork, at just the click of a button, helping every project become more efficient. In the coming years, and with lessons from Covid-19, I’d like to think that software packages for the construction world, and in particular the EHS departments, will evolve with the lessons learnt and we can have a solid tech system in place that is user friendly and fit for purpose.