Bovis Homes said: “Following the government’s statement yesterday we have commenced decommissioning activity at all of our sites. There will be teams going on-site in the short term for the essential work of making the sites safe and secure.
“During this period we will be rigorously reinforcing to our people and subcontractors the need to follow government guidelines, especially those around hygiene and social distancing. We will be constantly reviewing this situation in line with the government’s position.
“For those customers who expect and wish to move in over the coming days, we will look to do the right thing and facilitate this if it is at all practical.”
Barratt Developments said: “We have taken the decision to temporarily close our 400 offices and sites across the country. We are in the process of doing this safely and securely, as quickly as possible.”
Taylor Wimpey said: "Today, we have taken the decision to close our show homes, sales centres, and construction sites across the UK to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. Although the latest government guidance has not ordered the closure of construction sites, we are taking action because we believe it is the right thing to do. As we need to make sure that we close down our construction sites in a responsible manner, it is necessary for a small amount of work to continue to ensure we leave our sites safe and secure. Please be assured that we will be sending our employees and subcontractors home as soon as is practically possible and that all employees and subcontractors have received guidance on appropriate social distancing on site."
Speller Metcalfe said: “With government advice currently unclear, we have agreed that the morally responsible course of action is to suspend site operations as soon as is possible, in order to reduce risk to our staff and our supply chain and in the national interest of preserving life.
“Our site teams are currently working hard to ensure that sites are shut down safely and securely, as well as making preparations for safe and prompt continuation of works as soon as we are able to do so.
“The only sites which will remain open are those where we are delivering critical works for the NHS – ensuring the well-being of those who continue to work on these sites will be our number one priority and we will be working closely with our clients and supply chain to ensure all possible measures are in place to ensure social distancing and enhanced hygiene regimes are adhered to at all times.
“Speller Metcalfe’s office functions will continue to operate as usual, with staff working from home and available via email and mobile.
“As a competent and socially-responsible contractor we firmly believe that this is the best thing to do to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all. We hope that other contractors continue to follow suit, and call on the government to officially close all sites as far as is possible in this time of national emergency.”
Knight Build Ltd, a £60m turnover contractor based in Essex, is another deciding to pull offsite. HSEQ manager Dominick Gallagher explained: We at KBL, have made the decision to reluctantly close all of our sites for the next three weeks. Once again, the government have issued an unclear message to the construction industry, which is in turn contributing massively to overcrowded Tubes and construction environments, such as welfare facilities, where social distancing is clearly not being followed."
He added: “We believe the risk is too great and we have a duty of care to ensure that we do not risk contributing to the pandemic and we certainly do not wish to put any of our staff, labour resources, subcontractors or supply chain in any way of harm. Hopefully the government will address the issue with the self-employed in a time when they are preaching about the importance of looking after the vulnerable.”
Earlier this morning we reported that ISG and Galliard had also decided to close down their sites until the health crisis is resolved.
The decisions to close sites come depsite Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, saying that it was fine to keep construciton sites open. He said just last night: “Advice for the housing, construction & building maintenance industries: If you can work from home, do so. If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing.”