Barratt, Bellway and Higgins Homes have joined the growing number of major housebuilders to begin reopening some of their construction sites “where it is safe to do so.”
Bellway initially closed its sites in late March as the UK first went into lockdown, but has now resumed operations on a number of their sites.
Barratt also closed all their sites by 27 March and now plan to reopen some of their sites on 11 May, initially to implement the changes required under new working practices and protocols. The company will then start a phased return to construction, with 180 sites – around 50% of their total - in the first phase.
Higgins paused construction work across the majority of their sites in late March, but maintained activity on a small number of sites while adhering to social distancing guidelines. They have now decided to reopen a number of their sites with effect from today. (4/5/20).
All three companies say they are constantly reviewing advice and guidance from the government, public health authorities and the Construction Leadership Council to ensure they can reopen their construction sites safely.
David Thomas, chief executive of Barratt Developments PLC, said: “Our first priority is the health and safety of our employees, sub-contractors and customers. We have created a detailed set of working practices and protocols for employees and sub-contractors to ensure that we can reopen our construction sites safely, in a phased and measured way, which minimises risk.
“I would also like to thank our employees who have been fantastic during this challenging time, both those who have worked hard to get us ready to restart and our employees who are not currently working, many of whom have been inspirational as volunteers in their local communities.”
Jason Honeyman, CEO of Bellway Homes, said: “The health and safety of our customers and colleagues is of utmost importance to us and we are continuing to monitor the developing situation closely while following all government and public health guidelines.
“We have implemented social distancing safety measures and strict guidelines for workers on our sites which will maintain a safe working environment and as a result we have started to resume limited construction work on a number of our sites.”
Richard Higgins, chairman of Higgins Homes, said: “The wellbeing of our team, contractors and of the wider communities in which we work is of the utmost importance to us and we will be applying a number of additional health and safety measures to make sure we are following social distancing guidelines. We are doing everything we can to minimise delay and disruption to the development of our customers’ new homes while keeping everyone safe.”