Bellway uncovers concrete frame defects in Greenwich flats

Aaron Morby 6 months ago
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Bellway has uncovered structural defects in the concrete frame of a block of apartments built in London 12 years ago.

This morning the house builder revealed it had aside around £31m to remediate what was described as an isolated design issue with the unnamed Greenwich building’s reinforced concrete frame.

The firm said it intended to seek recoveries from the firms involved in the scheme.

Bellway said it was carrying out a review of other buildings constructed by the same third parties responsible for the design of the frame. 

And to date, no other similar design issues with reinforced concrete frames have been unearthed. 

The latest problem building takes the amount Bellway has set aside for legacy buildings in England, Scotland and Wales since 2017 to £613m.

On this sum, there is still a remaining provision of £508m to be drawn down.

The firm is now ramping up legacy building retrofit works after signing the Government’s self-remediation contract.

In the present year ahead, Bellway expects to spend up to £80m on building safety works compared with £33m in 2022.

Bellway’s dedicated Building Safety division has so far completed nine developments.

Further works are underway on a dozen other schemes and works are due to commence on a further two developments before the end of this year.

The latest legacy job problem was revealed as the volume house builder revealed underlying pre-tax profit for the year to July 2023 had slipped 18% to £533m on revenue down just 4% to £3.4bn.

Despite the present market challenges, Bellway remained resilient with completions sliding by just 2% to 10,945 homes.

Underlying operating margin dipped to 16% (2022 – 18.5%), with the reduction mainly reflecting the effect of build cost and overhead inflation, extended site durations because of slower reservation rates and the increased use of targeted selling incentives.

The firm said it would now be delivering more timber frame homes going forward at it sought to contain cost inflation.

Despite the resilient performance Bellway finance director Keith Adey confirmed a round of job cuts with 150 roles going from the 3,000 strong workforce.

Adey said: “Given the uncertain outlook, we have conducted a review of overheads during the year and continued with a freeze on recruitment. 

“Two operating divisions have also been closed as part of our wider workforce planning, and it is anticipated that this difficult decision will result in a headcount reduction across the group of around 5%.”

 

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