Major house builder Taylor Wimpey’s shares rose over 6% after it announced plans for a phased return to construction in May; subject to the latest Government guidance and medical advice.
Pete Redfern, Chief Executive, 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 4th 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.”
Taylor Wimpey’s plan will see remobilisation start on 4th May, with a phased process based on detailed new site operating protocols developed in compliance with strict social distancing requirements, on the majority of its sites in England and Wales.
Sales centres, show homes, and regional offices will remain closed while the housebuilder monitors latest guidance around social distancing.
Taylor Wimpey’s site management teams will use the week commencing 4th May to prepare sites for a new method of operating with the first subcontractors returning on the week commencing 11th May.
Since closing its sites on 24 March, Taylor Wimpey said that it has worked closely with its partners, reviewing guidance issued by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and taken advice from the Health and Safety Executive, to assess each and every aspect of its site activities and address the changes that need to be made to comply with the restrictions imposed by social distancing requirements.
“We are now confident that we have a clear set of detailed protocols and revised guidelines which we can operate safely, and on a sustainable basis for as long as is necessary. These protocols include a fully revised set of working practices and additional precautionary measures including modified site operational practices, revised Risk Assessments, inductions, and changes to site format, including bespoke PPE for two person tasks which we have designed in-house.”
“In addition, we have created the Taylor Wimpey COVID-19 Code of Conduct setting out our commitment to deliver a safe working environment for our employees and subcontractors working on site, while stating our very clear expectations of behaviours of all those visiting our sites to work.”
“We are a cautiously run business and have come into this crisis with a strong balance sheet and net cash position. We have continued to engage with our key stakeholders, including our employees, suppliers and subcontractors and these strong relationships leave us well positioned as we plan for the resumption of operations.”
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