We took this early decision in the interests of the safety of our staff, sub-contractors and suppliers and pending further advice from the Government and industry leaders.
Since then we have conducted a thorough review of working practices on our sites, guided by advice from the Government and construction industry bodies.
We have now established new site operating procedures, supported by risk assessments and working method statements developed by our external health and safety consultant following his visit to all our construction sites. These procedures are fully compliant with guidance from the Construction Leadership Council.
We have also ordered additional supplies of dust masks, disposable gloves, hand sanitiser, antibacterial sprays, cleaning equipment and handwash stations.
Full briefings will be carried out with all site workers on safe working, including effective social distancing measures, before any work re-commences.
This will enable us to begin a gradual and cautious resumption of construction work over the next few weeks. Our immediate focus will be the safe and responsible finishing of work on properties that are nearly complete, so that customers who are waiting to move in can do so.
The Government has consistently emphasised the importance of the construction industry continuing to operate as a vital element of the UK economy and has stressed its contribution to economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Our decision to adopt a phased approach to the re-start of construction will enable us to ensure the consistent and effective implementation of our new working practices.
The health and safety of our staff, sub-contractors, suppliers and customers remains our top priority and the new safety measures and provisions will be strictly enforced to reflect this commitment to their wellbeing.
We will continue to review the situation, based on the very latest Government and industry advice.