Taylor Wimpey to reopen construction sites from May
Having closed sites, show homes and sales centres on 24 March 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, housebuilder Taylor Wimpey will introduce a phased return to construction in May, subject to government guidance and medical advice.
For the majority of Taylor Wimpey sites across England and Wales, remobilisation will start on 4 May with a phased process based on detailed new operating protocols in compliance with social distancing rules.
Sales centres, show homes and regional offices will remain closed, and services will continue to be provided remotely and digitally.
The first sub-contractors will return on the week commencing 11 May.
Revised site protocols include modified operational practices, revised risk assessments and inductions, changes to site format and the provision of bespoke personal protective equipment (PPE).
Taylor Wimpey has also created a code of conduct based on the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) guidance, centred on delivering a safe working environment, which it will require staff, sub-contractors and suppliers to sign up to in advance of starting on site.
Pete Redfern, chief executive at Taylor Wimpey, said: “Our first priority is always the health and safety of our customers, employees, subcontractors and suppliers.
“We took an early decision at the end of March to close our sites while we assessed in detail how to build homes without compromising on health and safety or quality.
“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.
“In the period while our sites have been closed, trading has inevitably been impacted.
“However, we are still seeing continued demand for our homes and our sales teams have been selling homes remotely, and digitally, week to week.
“Cancellations represent less than 1% of our current order book.
“We have a strong balance sheet and have managed the business conservatively and are as well positioned as we can be in the very difficult circumstances.
“The past few weeks have been unlike anything we have seen before, presenting huge challenges for businesses and individuals, 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.
“I would like to thank each and every one of our people for their outstanding efforts and commitment, and the way in which they have come together, working extremely hard not only to support the business and its performance, but to provide invaluable help to their local communities.”
Commenting on this and the news that Vistry Partnerships also plans a controlled reopening of sites, James Tucker, CEO at mortgage technology provider Twenty7Tec, said: “It’s good news that some of the housebuilders are beginning to open sites again.
“The knock-on effects further down the supply chain will be reduced as the pool of new build houses begins to increase again.
“New builds are capable of being valued from desktop, and of course are vacant possession, so we’ve seen that part of the market fare better than some others over recent weeks.
“Hopefully, we can begin to manage a safe return across the whole range of the market from housebuilders to estate agents, and mortgage providers to removals companies.”