Construction News

Thu July 02 2020

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Builders' merchants close their doors

24 Mar Travis Perkins, Jewson, Howdens and Huws Gray Ridgeons are among builders’ merchants deciding to close their doors in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown

They're shut
They're shut

Grafton Group, which includes Selco and BuildBase has also closed all of its branches and manufacturing sites for othree weeks.

The prime minister has made it clear that only key workers should leave home to go to work. Controversially, construction workers are currently classed as key workers, but if they cannot obtain the tools and materials they need to do the job, the issue may rapidly become moot.

Jewson managing director Mike Newnham said: “There are many changes happening at incredible speed that are affecting business and everyday life. We have been working very hard to keep up with the pace of the changes and, above all, protect our people, our customers and their livelihoods and our business.

“Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday evening [23rd March] we have taken the decision to close all our branches and offices.

“This closure will be in effect for 24 hours on Tuesday 24th March while we seek urgent clarification from the UK government about how we can operate our business within the government guidelines.

“We want to play our part in helping the country overcome this crisis. We have been doing this by taking steps to protect our people from the risk of the virus. We also do this by helping our customers provide essential maintenance of homes and public buildings, helping self-employed customers stay in business and by providing essential livelihoods for all our colleagues.

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“As you will appreciate this is a very difficult decision. Above all safety, wellbeing and health has to come first.  We apologise sincerely for any disruption this causes to you.”

Travis Perkins said:  “Following the prime minister's statement we can confirm that our branches are temporarily closed and we have stopped taking online orders. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during these extraordinary times but the wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and suppliers is our absolute priority. We will be seeking to work with the government over the coming days as to how we can fulfil the essential services that we provide to our country's social infrastructure.”

Terry Owen, chief executive of Huws Gray Ridgeons, said: “In order to protect our people and help limit the deadly spread of the Covid-19 virus, and following the prime minister’s speech on Monday evening, we have decided to temporarily close all Huws Gray, Ridgeons, ATC, RFP, Plumbstock, Qualplas and AC Roof Trusses branches with immediate effect. 

 “We have not taken such a decision lightly, but we do believe that in emergency situations, we need to do our bit as individuals, as a company and as a construction community to protect each other.”

Grafton Group chief executive Gavin Slark said: “Our primary concern at this time is the health and wellbeing of our colleagues, customers and the communities where we operate.  Grafton is in a strong financial position with excellent liquidity and I am confident that the group will emerge from this period of uncertainty in a position of strength.”

Screwfix remains open for click & collect and home delivery. It said: "Following the government announcement we are reviewing our service. Hardware stores have been nominated as essential retailers during this time and therefore we are implementing a number of measures today. This is to ensure, first and foremost the safety of our colleagues and customers, whilst enabling us to provide the essential materials to our customers, many of whom play a critical role in keeping homes in our communities across the UK and Ireland warm, safe and with power."

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