House building sites allowed to work longer hours

Aaron Morby 2 months ago
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The Government has granted house builders the all-clear to keep building sites open later to stagger workers arrival times.

Initiative to help thousands of self-employed trade contractor workers get back on the job
Initiative to help thousands of self-employed trade contractor workers get back on the job

The move is one of a raft of measures to get the housing market back up to speed, including re-opening show homes, estate agents and letting removal firms get back up and running.

A Safe Working Charter similar to that in use on major construction sites has been unveiled by the Government and the Home Builders Federation, enabling home builders to return to work safely.

The house building sector was the hardest hit in construction by the lockdown with thousands of self-employed trade workers laid off overnight.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick said: “This critical industry can now safely move forward, and those waiting patiently to move can now do so.”

Builders now have Whitehall backing to approach local councils to agree more flexible construction site working hours to ease pressure on public transport.

Smaller house builders will also be allowed to defer payments to local councils, helping those struggling with their cash flow while ensuring communities will ultimately receive funding towards local infrastructure in the longer term.

Developers pressing ahead with fresh schemes will also be allowed to publicise planning applications through social media instead of using posters and leaflets.

Stewart Baseley, Executive Chairman of the Home Builders Federation, said: “Over the past week or so many house builders have commenced a gradual return to work, in a structured way that ensures the safety of its workforce and the general public.

“A resumption of work will play a major part in helping the economy recover as well as delivering the homes the country needs.

“It should also provide the supply chain with the confidence it needs to accelerate its own restart.”

Taylor Wimpey this morning welcomed the move and committed to bring sales staff off furlough to reopen show homes for pre-booked appointments from Friday 22 May.

Chief executive Pete Redfern said: “Last week our site management teams returned to the majority of our sites in England and Wales to put in place a series of additional health and safety and social distancing measures to prepare for the gradual return of our subcontractors to sites and the controlled resumption of construction.

“This is now well underway, with construction activity on over 90% of our sites in England and Wales.

He added that Taylor Wimpey also planned to launch a new 5% discount scheme for NHS staff and care workers on all homes reserved this year.

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