Housebuilder prepares to re-open construction sites next month

North West housebuilder Redrow said today it will begin to re-open its construction sites from May 11.

It said a phased return to construction would follow on May 18.

Work on all sites would involve robust social distancing protocols and physical measures.

Redrow announced the orderly and safe closure of all of its sites on March 27, and decided not to reopen until it was safe to return to work and it could rely on a functioning supply chain.

It said, in a trading update today, since then, the Government have made it clear they would like to see construction sites operating provided they can do so safely with stringent social distancing measures in place.

“Redrow is now satisfied these conditions can be met over the next two weeks and therefore intends to commence mobilising sites,” it said.

The group said it will have an e-learning module for all Redrow employees, induction videos for contractors, it has appointed Covid Supervisors for each site and enhanced signage and PPE.

The group, based in Ewloe, near Chester, said: “Throughout the past month, we have been working closely with our material suppliers to understand their production plans and liaising with our sub-contractors to ensure all the resources we need will be available to match our phased return to construction.”

Redrow also revealed that net reservations have been running at very low levels since the lockdown was imposed.

It said that, important to a return to more normal trading conditions, will be a relaxation of the Government’s advice about moving home, which currently recommends deferring any move unless there is no alternative, and the reopening of sales complexes that remain closed under lockdown restrictions.

The group said today: “We will be guided by our customers to judge if it is safe for them to move.”

Overall, the group said it has a strong balance sheet.

“In the month of April, the business generated £62m of cash from legal completions.

“In addition, as part of our measures to protect our cash flow, a number of land payments have been successfully deferred into 2021 and later.

“As a result, net debt at the end of June is now expected to be c.£200m.”

Redrow has also recently extended its revolving credit facility to £350m and has been accepted as an issuer under the Government’s CCFF with an issuer limit of £300m.

The group an order book of more than £1.3bn, of which £900m is contracted.

Executive chairman John Tutte said: “The safety and welfare of our workforce and customers is our main priority.

“I am grateful to my colleagues and our supply chain partners for the exceptional work they continue to undertake to ensure we can make a measured, responsible and safe return to work next month.”