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Last edited 24 Jan 2021
Construction and the housing market restart
On 13 May 2020, it was announced that buyers and renters in England could move home once again as long as they follow new guidance published by Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick. Restrictions were introduced in March 2020 during the coronavirus outbreak, and people have not been permitted to move unless the need was urgent. They will now be able to complete purchases and view properties in person, while estate agents, conveyancers and removals firms can return to work as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. This relaxation does not apply to properties in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
 Construction resumes
- Allowing builders to agree to more flexible construction site working hours with their local council. This includes measures such as staggering builders’ arrival times to ease pressure on public transport.
- Enabling local councils and developers to use social media instead of posters and leaflets to publicise planning applications.
- Allowing smaller developers to defer payments to local councils, helping those struggling with their cash flow while ensuring communities still receive funding towards local infrastructure in the longer term.
A new Safe Working Charter was also launched by the Government and the Home Builders Federation. The goal of the Charter is to help construction sites reopen in line with the latest health and safety guidance.
John Newcomb, chief executive office of the Builders Merchants Federation, said,“Safety has the highest priority as the industry returns to work. Since the publication of new branch operating guidelines [in April 2020], we have seen increasing numbers of merchants safely re-opening or expanding operations to support their trade customers.”
Government guidance makes clear that tradespeople including fitters can operate in homes, provided they do so in line with health guidance. Show homes can also re-open, following social distancing guidance.
- Introducing more than £330 billion of loans and guarantees to help firms continue operating.
- Deferring self-assessment payments until 2021 – crucial for a sector in which many are self-employed.
- Providing households with three-month mortgage holidays, including for landlords, alongside a three-month ban on tenant evictions.
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