British builders plan to resume work

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Several of Britain’s largest automakers are considering going back to work as companies cautiously exit the coronavirus shutdown.

Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin have announced that they will resume production next month, while Taylor Wimpey, one of the UK’s largest home builders, has said construction sites will reopen from May 4 and that Vistry Group, formerly known as Bovis Homes, is targeting April 27. .

JLR will resume production in factories in Slovakia, Austria and Solihull in the UK from May 18 and will produce a limited number of its most lucrative models, such as Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, which will be sold to buyers in China, where customers are returning to dealerships as the world’s largest auto market emerges from foreclosure.

About 2,000 employees will return to the Solihull plant, which will operate on a single shift rather than the usual three.

Its other UK assembly plants at Halewood and Castle Bromwich will remain closed until demand in Europe and North America picks up.

“In China, we are starting to see a recovery in vehicle sales,” the company said. “Our joint venture factory in Changshu has been in operation since mid-February.”

Aston Martin will reopen its plant in St Athan, Wales in early May to produce the brand’s essential future DBX vehicle. Its main factory in Gaydon, Warwickshire, will remain closed for the time being.

As factories and businesses across Europe begin to restart, businesses need to balance the need to generate income with the safety of workers.

Nissan inaugurated this week’s engine plant at its Sunderland site for certain workers to test safety and removal measures before restarting its main operations.

The automakers have developed a series of safety measures, including running the production lines at a slower pace to leave more space between workers. Home builders focus on work that can be done by one person when possible, and deliver protective gear for anyone involved in multi-person work such as installing windows.

“We had to be sure we could work safely,” said Taylor Wimpey managing director Pete Redfern.

The government did not force the closure of the construction sites, but the builders and their subcontractors decided that the work could not continue safely and closed almost all of the sites last month.

“It will be a gradual restart rather than a big bang,” added Redfern, saying it would take until June for the sites to reach 80% of normal activity levels and that the company would focus on the return to full capacity for 2021.

Taylor Wimpey will not reopen sites in Scotland, where the Nicola Sturgeon government has taken a tougher stance on construction.

Vistry returns to work only a month after the sites are closed.

The home building industry has previously expressed concerns that the sites will remain closed until July.

Other manufacturers will welcome the reboot, said Numis analyst Chris Millington. “They want someone to be a little early. The supply chain will not open for a single manufacturer. “

“There are plans underway for almost everyone [housebuilders] reopen, “added Millington. “I would be surprised if we didn’t hear more next week. “

Any resumption of activity will also be welcomed by material suppliers and subcontractors.

Vistry’s shares rose more than 8% to £ 7.87 when the market opened on Thursday morning, while Taylor Wimpey rose 6% to £ 1.43.

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