Housebuilders begin ‘controlled’ restart of sites
Housebuilders Taylor Wimpey and Vistry are to restart construction on sites after adapting their health and safety procedures to take account of the covid-19 pandemic.
Taylor Wimpey will resume work on most of its sites in England and Wales “in a controlled and managed way” from 4 May. The firm stopped work on its sites as well as in its show homes and sales centres from 24 March while it investigated modifying its working practices to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Site restarts will be phased to give time to make adjustments to site safety and to train employees, suppliers and subcontractors in the new ways of working.
The company said: “We are now confident that we have clear plans and processes in place so we can safely start back on site in a phased way beginning on 4 May.
“Our first priority is always the health and safety of our customers, employees, subcontractors and suppliers and we support the measures put in place by the government to reduce the spread of the virus and safeguard the NHS and public health.
“We have worked closely with our partners, reviewing guidance issued by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and taken advice from the Health and Safety Executive, to assess each and every aspect of our site activities and address the changes that need to be made to fully comply with the restrictions imposed by social distancing requirements.”
Meanwhile Vistry Group, renamed after the merger between Bovis Homes and Linden Homes, said it would start work on around 90% of its partnership sites and “a significant number” of its housing sites from 27 April. Vistry furloughed the majority of its staff on full pay until at least the end of May 2020.
Chief executive Greg Fitzgerald, said: “I would like to thank all our colleagues and subcontractors for their remarkable resilience and commitment during these times and am pleased to announce that we will be recommencing activity levels across the majority of our developments on Monday 27th.
“Health & safety remains our top priority and a huge amount or work has gone into making sure our people can return to work with confidence in safe and well-planned operating procedures. This first step represents a positive move for the group, as well as the wider economy, and the critically important delivery of new homes.”
The news came after brick manufacturer Michelmersh Brick Holdings announced that it would restart operations this week, having closed its plants on 25 March. The group said it had realigned its operations to “meet and exceed” government guidelines.