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- By Andy Smith
Housebuilder Bellway has now restarted work on 230 construction sites, albeit with reduced productivity.
In a trading update, the firm said that work is still limited
to those homes which are nearing completion.
However, over the coming weeks, it aims to introduce further
social distancing working practices that should enable more than one
tradesperson to work in a home at the same time, on separate floors.
Bellway closed its sites on 23 March in response to the
coronavirus pandemic and furloughed around 75% of its workforce, which most
directly affected its employed site tradespeople, site managers and sales
advisers. The employees have been paid a full basic salary throughout
April and May, while Bellway has not applied for the government’s Coronavirus
Job Retention Scheme.
The company added that its balance sheet was “strong”, with £157
million of net debt at 31 May and committed bank facilities of £545
million. It has also been confirmed as an eligible issuer for the government’s
Covid Corporate Financing Facility (‘CCFF’), with an issuer limit of £300m, although
these funds have not been drawn.
Bellway has an order book comprising 6,038 homes and a value
Jason Honeyman, chief executive, said: “Our priority
remains the health, safety and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and
subcontractor workers. With this in mind and following updated government
guidance with regards to restarting the housing market, we have carefully and
gradually recommenced onsite construction and sales activity in England and
Wales, whilst introducing strict social distancing requirements. This
measured approach has enabled us to continue serving our customers and has facilitated
the safe return to work for many of our employees.”