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The housing industry has to balance safety and the timing of the resumption of key housebuilding activity as the pandemic continues and partnership working has a critical role to play.


How much activity is going on building sites at present? Since the 23 March 2020 lockdown, most sites operations were initially suspended for three weeks with continuation works on around 10% of sites but the picture is changing rapidly with remobilisation.

Key elements that builders have to get right with the supply chain have critically been access and transport; here partnership approaches have been shown to bring a unanimous focus in achieving a responsible response.

Practical examples of collaboration to help overcome time, cash and labour issues are occurring – e.g. clients agreeing to waive damages, move start dates without penalties and retentions paid early have shown how well and proactively the industry can respond.

But as these responses are neither universal nor consistent, the potential collective advantage is under-powered. The industry generally would see a much greater impact if the best examples were applied across the board

Re-opening sites will have an impact on cost and time, requiring the contract to be revisited. Collaborative meetings should have a framework allowing a way of moving forward for all which avoids getting into dispute.

Key questions examined include:

  • What critical key on site and in factory works are continuing to be undertaken?
  • What are clients planning as next responses to site suspension works?
  • What are the key contractual issues to consider?
  • How should the industry approach recovery and how do we shape a remobilisation strategy together?
Featured image: Longhurst Group, Ellison Place, Lincolnshire

Stephen Teagle, Chair, The Housing Forum

Chief Executive, Vistry Partnerships

Caroline Compton-James, Deputy-Chair, The Housing Forum

Director, Strategy & Communications, Osborne

Jamie Ratcliff, Deputy Chair, The Housing Forum

Executive Director, Network Homes

Stephen Nash, Housing Development & Regeneration Manager

London Borough of Islington

Bob Heapy, Chief Executive

Town and Country Housing

Ian Lock, Business Development Director

Baxi Heating UK

Katie Saunders, Partner

Trowers & Hamlins

Roger Arnold, Managing Director

Martin Arnold

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