Persimmon said: “The Government has issued clear guidance that it sees construction as a vital element of the UK economy and that where sites can comply with the Construction Leadership Council’s Standard Operating Procedures, then they should continue to operate.
“Persimmon is keen to support the Government in meeting this objective but the health, safety and wellbeing of the public and everyone who works on our sites and in our offices remains our top priority, and we will not recommence construction operations until we are satisfied that it is safe to do so.
“In the period since 25 March 2020, working closely with our colleagues, sub-contractors and suppliers, we have therefore developed and tested a range of new site protocols to enable work to recommence, while ensuring that the necessary social distancing restrictions are strictly enforced.
“These new measures are fully compliant with UK Government and Construction Leadership Council guidance.
“The Group is therefore announcing today that it will begin a phased re-opening of its construction sites from the morning of Monday 27 April 2020 which will allow us to support our customers by completing the construction of the new homes they have purchased in a safe and responsible manner.”
Persimmon has sold 820 homes in the last five weeks with sales staff working from home using virtual viewings.
The company added: “Colleagues working from home have continued to progress planning permissions, technical drawings, procurement, liaison with our sub-contractors, and all other work required to prepare sites for the restart of activity, to ensure this can be achieved swiftly.
“The Group has continued to offer its full support to its suppliers, including making forward funding available where necessary, to help them manage through the crisis and to ensure they are able to recommence supply immediately, once conditions allow.
“The Group continues to pay all supplier invoices in a timely manner, with 95% of invoices being settled within 60 days, in compliance with the requirements of the Prompt Payment Code, which Persimmon fully supports.”
Persimmon has not furloughed any staff during the crisis or used any of the Government’s Covid-19 funding programmes.
David Jenkinson, CEO, said: “The UK Government has been very clear on the importance of the construction sector to the UK economy and its desire to see activity continue through the current period of crisis, provided appropriate public health measures are adopted.
“Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and wellbeing of the public, our colleagues, sub-contractors and suppliers.
“Having spent the last month developing and testing new site protocols that incorporate the necessary social distancing and protective measures, we believe that we are now able to return to site safely and support the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic.
“These new measures are fully compliant with Government public health guidance and will be strictly enforced by a specialist team, with any individual failing to uphold standards being subject to disciplinary action and removal from site.
“Persimmon’s strong financial liquidity has enabled us to maintain our operational capability through this period by supporting all our colleagues on full pay, which will allow us to reopen sites swiftly, and emerge from the shutdown well-prepared and ready to deliver the new homes the country needs, aided by our strong work in progress position.
“The commitment from our colleagues throughout this most challenging period, both to the business and to the wider communities in which we work, has been exceptional and I would like to thank them all for their unstinting support.”