The 'new normal' for the housebuilding industry

The 'new normal' for the housebuilding industry

The entire construction industry has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, with the construction purchasing managers index (PMI), revealing the sharpest reduction within the construction sector since 2008.

However, Oxford Economics have forecasted that the post-recession recovery could be much shorter than the crises of 2008, suggesting that the economic damage caused by coronavirus may not have such long-lasting effects.

In order to make the impact less damaging, the construction industry requires full government support in order to stabilise such an essential part of our economy.

How can the housing sector recover from the impact of coronavirus?

The housebuilding sector was off to a promising start in 2020, with investments such as the National Infrastructure Strategy encouraging a wide surge in housebuilding.

The outbreak of coronavirus caused housebuilding sites to come to a complete standstill. All projects were left derelict and deserted, with the future of the industry becoming uncertain territory.

Nevertheless, the government has insisted that housing is at the top of its political agenda in starting up the UK economy, and the housing sector could play a crucial role in aiding Britain out of this economic downturn.

All this will be down to extensive government support in ensuring that a re-opening of construction sites can be done in the safest way possible, in what the government is terming as the ‘new normal’.

Boris Johnson recently unveiled in his ‘Build Build Build’ speech his ambitious reform plan for the residential sector in resurging the UK economy and recovering the construction sector. A big part of his speech revolved around builders no longer needed planning permissions, allowing the building process to become much quicker.

What do housebuilding sites look like now?

With most housing associations taking a phased approach to returning to work, the most significant aspects to consider during this phased reopening will be the ability to carry out new working practices which will ensure the safety of all workers.

Taylor Wimpey Homes began their process back to the reopening of sites as early as 4 May, and they are insistent that they are following the new site protocols.

The company have said, "We have worked closely with our partners, reviewing guidance issued by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) and taken advice from the Health and Safety Executive, to assess each and every aspect of our site activities and address the changes that need to be made to fully comply with the restrictions imposed by social distancing requirements.

The extensive list of safety requirements set out by the CLC ensures that the housing sector can operate in a controlled and safe environment. Measures such as providing hand cleaning facilities on site, introducing staggered start and finish times and using signage will become the normal way of working.

The future of the housing sector

All these measures will be adopted by all housing associations across the UK, in what will become the ‘new normal’ within the construction industry.

The UK still remains in uncertain times, yet with these measures put in place, along with the radical reforms outlined in Boris Johnson’s 'Build Build Build’ speech, we will hopefully see a steady return for the housing sector, a part of the UK which will play an essential role in contributing to the resurgence of the economy.

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