As the world continues to struggle with COVID-19, how is it affecting our projects overseas?

We decided to interview our site managers supervising the building of our cryogenic flat-bottom tanks the world over. What were their impressions and reactions as they carried out their work in their respective countries?

1. How are you? Where are you right now?

Juanfran, S.M. | Singapore: I’m doing great, thanks. I’m still in Singapore.

Inass, S.M. | Arizona: In Spain.

Rubén, S.M. | Uzbekistan: I’m in Madrid and feeling fine. So I’m guessing I don’t have the coronavirus!

2. What stage of the project did work stop at?

Juanfran, S.M. | Singapore: We had totally finished the concrete slab above the foam glass. As for the tank, we were able to complete the following:

  • Outer tank bottom
  • First outer tank shell course
  • Concrete slab on external tank bottom
  • The 7 layers of foam glass
  • The concrete slab above the foam glass

Inass, S.M. | Arizona: We haven’t stopped the cryogenic flat-bottom tanks project here, as the Arizona area doesn’t have a lot of cases in comparison to other states.

Rubén, S.M. | Uzbekistan: We haven’t stopped here either, the workforce is still out there and we’re just finishing the foam glass.

3. What protective measures were taken in your project?

Juanfran, S.M. | Singapore: From mid-February or in some cases even earlier, we got masks to all site workers, and had their temperature taken on arrival at work in the morning and when heading home.

After that, in mid-March, we had to impose a minimum separation of a meter in the construction site offices and in the common areas, where workers rest and eat.

On March 30, we had a reported case and had to shut the project down. We were able to return on April 2nd, 3rd and 4th, before the government brought in measures to stop all non-essential activities.

Inass, S.M. | Arizona: We keep daily record of the workers’ health status, including taking their body temperature before they enter the plant…

Rubén, S.M. | Uzbekistan: We had issues when people came to the site from other parts of the country, because authorities wanted to limit people exiting the site.

4. So, what were the first measures taken in your project’s country?

Juanfran, S.M. | Singapore: Distribution of masks, recommendations to avoid crowded places, recommendations to start using masks, taking people’s temperature in workplaces and public buildings…

Then from mid-March on, they made it obligatory to maintain a minimum distance in workplaces and public places too.

And from April 7th onwards, they stopped all non-essential activities as well and told people to stay home and only go out if necessary. If they did go out, then it had to be with a mask”.

Inass, S.M. | Arizona: There are some states in the US closing down construction sites, but not in Arizona. That said, shops and offices have had to close.

Rubén, S.M. | Uzbekistan: When I came here it was because they cut off the airspace, there were practically no planes in or out. No one could enter the country without doing a 15-day quarantine. At that time there were between 100 and 500 cases of contagion in the country.

5. Which international organisations collaborated in getting you home to Spain?

Juanfran, S.M. | Singapore: I’m still in Singapore!

Inass, S.M. | Arizona: None. The embassy recommended I leave the US immediately by my own means.

Rubén, S.M. | Uzbekistan: The German embassy organised a charter flight for European expats or Europeans who wanted to return and we, through contacting the Russian embassy, organised the plane. Otherwise it would have been impossible to leave.

6. When can we expect the project to start up again?

Juanfran, S.M. | Singapore: May 5th, although they are trying to get back to work earlier by requesting exceptions…

Inass, S.M. | Arizona: As I said in the previous question, we haven’t had to stop the flat-bottom tank project at all here. Cases are still low in Arizona.

Rubén, S.M. | Uzbekistan: We haven’t received an estimated date yet.

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