HBF and government confirm housing market to stay open

The Home Builders Federation (HBF) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) published a joint communique confirming the government’s position regarding the ongoing operations of the home building industry during the national lockdown in England that begins on Thursday November 5.

The message to the housing industry, signed by housing secretary Robert Jenrick and HBF executive chairman Stewart Baseley, clarifies that all home building and housing market activities should remain open for business provided that health and safety measures are complied with and public health guidance is followed. This includes home builder sales offices.

HBF says that since the announcement on Saturday of the forthcoming national lockdown, it has been in regular dialogue with officials and ministers at MHCLG, as well as partners from across the housing market, to ensure the smooth operation of home building activities with the aim of minimising confusion around the rules for builders, suppliers, service providers, homebuyers and others.

The message to the industry states that “Housebuilding – and the supply chains that support it – should continue working securely”.

Following discussions between HBF and MHCLG over recent days, the wording also communicates the government’s intention that activities associated with the building, buying and selling of homes should continue, including the work of suppliers, mortgage lenders, valuers and others: “Buying, selling and renting a home can continue, in a Covid-secure way, as it has in recent months. Estate and letting agents can operate, show homes and sales suites can remain open and property viewings, mortgage valuations and surveys can take place.” 

Government guidance on home moving must be followed by all parties.

The message also features reference to the ongoing operations of the home renovations and repairs sector, with the Federation of Master Builders being a co-signatory to the document.

The communique follows on from the Charter for Safe Working Practice, jointly published with MHCLG in May. Since its publication, the Charter has been signed up to by more than 100 of HBF’s home building members and has been supported by a number of allied organisations and builders merchants too. It is intended to be displayed publicly to ensure that communities are aware of the status of home building sites during the lockdown period. HBF is also a signatory to the recently revised Site Operating Procedures, published by the Construction Leadership Council.

Article from Housebuilder