At the start of the year, very few of us would have predicted that we would be spending much of March and nearly all of April indoors.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape right across the world. Of course, the knock-on effect of the necessary shutdown is that industries of all types are thrown for a loop. Surveying is no different.
As you would know if you have explored this website at all, surveying is a job with a lot of variety. Part of that variety includes the variety of working environments – surveyors may find themselves working on a construction site one day or in the office on another. That means that a lot of surveying work environments are off-limits for the time being, in order for surveying professionals to properly obey social distancing regulations.
Read on to see how Australian surveyors are adjusting to working during the age of COVID-19.
A few commonsense ideas
Surveying continues to be essential to the economy, the construction sector and the property sector, so the work continues. Better still, surveying firms across the nation are implementing safe work practices in line with the government’s regulations.
Staggering shifts is another way that surveyors are dealing with these changed conditions. By dividing staff into two groups – an A group and a B group – it is easy to ensure that surveying staff in an office environment can continue to observe 1.5m distancing from their colleagues. It also means that if someone in one group gets sick, those in the second group is more likely to avoid contracting any illness. For workers that may need to visit the office, it’s also reassuring to know that the management team is thinking ahead and taking every precaution.
Out in the field, it is easier to avoid close interactions. Some surveyors can work by themselves; where feasible, that is taking place.
What are some real-life Australian companies doing?
raSmith is a firm in New South Wales that continues to operate, and they explain the changes to their work practices as follows:
“Our surveyors are practicing social distancing to the greatest extent possible. All surveyors are driving in separate work vehicles to job sites. We have divided our crews and have them working as far apart as possible. We are maximizing our use of one-person crews whenever possible. All communication is limited to phone or has been rescheduled to limit the number of staff meeting with project managers.”
National surveying company LandSurveys has a similar approach. Their national offices remain open while 85% of their staff are successfully working remotely. For those out in the field completing necessary survey work, LandSurveys has implemented a safety management plan as well as an Emergency and Critical Response team to offer additional support.
Downtime to upskill
While it is not the case for every surveyor, COVID-19 has seen many with a little more work time on their hands. This has proved a prime opportunity for upskilling – and making use of digital and online technology.
Spatial Source reports that surveying and spatial businesses are using webinars and online conferencing to keep their staff connected, and to train them up for the future. 1Spatial’s marketing manager Emma Yates notes, “Key events that we would typically need to travel to can now be accessed with far greater ease, and in fact – now hold potential for increased attendance by delivering these conferences and seminars online.”
There are numerous outlets for surveyors looking to learn more during quarantine. The Surveying and Spatial Sciences Institute has organised a week webinar unpacking a range of industry-specific topics. Companies are getting the chance to show their colleagues some of the projects they have been working on. And with big ticket surveying conferences like Locate20 being postponed due to the pandemic, the conversation is going online with elements of the Locate event plan being hosted online instead of in person in a conference hall.
You can read more about some of these initiatives at Spatial Source here.
In addtion to webinars and learning experiences, surveyors are turning to these types of technologies to work safely from home, ensuring that communication is maintained during a time of great difficulty.
A return to normalcy
The surveying industry is well-prepared to withstand the difficulties this pandemic throws at it. As restrictions as relaxed in the weeks or months to come, we’ll be seeing more and more surveyors return to the work they love so much.
To read more about surveying – including a rundown on the tertiary study information you’ll need to know if you want to study it in the future – explore our website.
COVID-19 UPDATE | WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER. LandSurveys.
Full steam ahead: industry pivots to webinars. Spatial Source.