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Gloucestershire Business News

Work paused on building 300,000 homes

Coronavirus has shut down work on more than 2,000 building sites nationally.

New figures show that nearly three quarters of residential projects are currently on hold due to the pandemic, with work on nearly 300,000 homes affected, as reported by Building.

Analysis by construction data firm Barbour ABI has thrown light on how the construction industry has been affected by covid-19, despite the government saying sites should remain open wherever possible.

The findings show that of 3,120 residential schemes recorded as under construction, work has now halted on 2,231 of them, equivalent to 72 per cent. These schemes were due to provide over 420,000 homes, with those that have paused due to deliver 289,000 homes - 69 per cent of the total.

While all publicly listed housebuilders have announced that they have stopped work on most or all sites, it has not previously been clear to what extent this has been mirrored by privately-owned and SME builders.

The new data shows that the residential sector is much more likely than the wider construction industry to have put work on hold. Residential schemes make up more than half of the value of all schemes where work has stopped, but account for less than a third of construction output.

A spokesperson for Vistry Group, based in Bishops Cleeve, said: "We remain open for business on a virtual basis and our sales and customer care teams are available to help potential and existing customers. The situation is obviously a fluid one and we will continue to adopt an agile and flexible approach as we strive to keep delivering for our customers and safeguard the jobs of our people, including those in our supply chain. The level of furloughing varies in different parts of the business and those who have been furloughed have been encouraged to join, or step up their participation in, the national volunteering effort."

A potential lockdown of three months, followed by an immediate return to full production, would see 2020 housing supply down by 18 per cent on what would otherwise have been produced. A longer lockdown would hit housing supply harder. It is also unlikely that the industry will be able to return to full production immediately, if social distancing restrictions are still in place.

Barbour ABI holds a database detailing the progress of all UK construction schemes over £100,000 in value.

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