13 May 2020
Taylor Wimpey plc
Phased reopening of sales centres and show homes following updated Government guidance
· Housing market conditions have remained stable with signs of increased sales activity and customer interest since the re-start of site activities
· The Government announcement on 're-starting the housing market' means that we can now set out our detailed plans for a return to site sales activity and extend our customer service provision
· Show homes and sales centres will reopen for pre-booked appointments, from Friday 22 May 2020
· Construction is now underway on the majority of our sites across England and Wales
· Extended warranty for customers in lockdown and enhanced support
· New discount scheme launched for care workers
Pete Redfern, Chief Executive, commented:
"This relaxation of the rules by Government and the clear desire to reopen the housing market is very welcome. However, we believe that it is our responsibility to apply these rules carefully and protect the health of our customers and employees. Our people are looking forward to being able to welcome customers to their sales offices and show homes, energised by new skills developed in serving customers digitally over the last 7 weeks."
Since our announcement on 23 April which set out our approach to restarting construction, our sales rates have remained stable with signs of increased activity and customer interest over the last week. Cancellation rates have fallen and our orderbook has continued to grow. During the lockdown period we have sold 408 homes net of cancellations, averaging a net private sales rate of 0.30 homes per outlet per week. Cancellation rates have averaged 27% for the period and represented only 2.5% of the private order book. Our total orderbook as at w/e 10 May has increased to 11,033 homes (2019 week 19: 10,489), with a value of £2.7 billion (2019 week 19: £2.5 billion).
We have remained in active and open discussion with landowners. As we look forward to future land opportunities and housing delivery, we are also encouraged by new Government guidance on opening up the planning system, including the use of social media to conduct consultation processes.
A phased reopening of sales centres and show homes following updated Government guidance
Following the updated UK Government guidance, which has come into effect today, removing the restriction on non-essential home moves and supporting the return of activities related to the sale and purchase of homes, we announce today that we will be reopening our sales offices and show homes from 22 May, initially for pre-booked appointments and with strict social distancing measures in place.
During this crisis we have continued to sell homes to new customers and progress purchases remotely each week. We have continued to support our customers during this period and have focused on how to make the process easier for them, and provide reassurance, during a challenging time. We have enhanced our digital offering to allow customers to complete their entire homebuying journey remotely, from registering their interest through to completion of purchase. We have also introduced a new series of digital tours so our Sales Executives can complete digital viewings, which we will continue to expand.
We will continue to encourage customers to maintain contact with our sales representatives digitally where possible. However, there are instances where customers are unable to do this and will want to visit us in person or physically view a show home, and the new measures we have introduced will enable them to do so in a safe way.
This decision means we expect to recall the majority of our sales staff from furlough by 18 May and most other staff by the end of the month.
New protocols and revised working practices for sales centres
Having conducted a detailed review of our sales processes and customer interactions, and having regard to the latest Government guidance, we have developed a new set of protocols which include a fully revised set of working practices and staffing arrangements and a new layout of sales centres, with the installation of Perspex screens and marker guides for social distancing. Show home viewings will be unaccompanied, and only one family at a time will be able to view each home. These additional measures will maintain strict social distancing in line with Government and medical guidance and provide additional reassurance and protection for our customers and sales teams. These revised measures meet the Government's 'COVID-19 Secure' principles.
Our first priority remains the health and safety of our customers, employees, subcontractors and wider communities. We have committed that we will not ask any employee to work in an environment where they do not feel safe. We know that each of our employees has different personal circumstances and we are committed to supporting them as effectively as possible. We will not be asking those who are vulnerable or shielding the vulnerable to return to our developments or offices.
Return to construction well underway
On 23 April we outlined our plans for the phased restart of site activities from the week beginning 4 May.
Last week our site management teams returned to the majority of our sites in England and Wales to put in place a series of additional health and safety and social distancing measures to prepare for the gradual return of our subcontractors to sites and the controlled resumption of construction. This is now well underway, with construction activity on over 90% of our sites in England and Wales.
Our employees, subcontractors and suppliers have now formally signed up to the Taylor Wimpey COVID-19 Code of Conduct, which sets out our commitment to deliver a safe working environment for our employees and subcontractors working on site, and our teams will continue to monitor processes on site. Following the Government's publication of safe working practices on 11 May 2020, we can also confirm our revised processes are 'COVID-19 Secure'.
We believe this phased approach is vital to ensuring we embed the new practices and protocols and we continue to envisage a period of transition before establishing meaningful production capacity from June. We have received strong support for this decision from all stakeholder groups, particularly our employees and subcontractors.
The Government decision to encourage local authorities to extend site working hours will help us to reduce risk and reduce the usage of public transport as we can reduce the number of people on sites at peak times and improve efficiency.
Extended warranty and enhanced support for customers
Each Taylor Wimpey home comes with a two-year Taylor Wimpey warranty and a 10 year NHBC warranty. To give added reassurance and as a thank you to all our customers for their patience and support during this time we will extend our two-year warranty for all customers in warranty, at any point in the lockdown, by two months.
During the lockdown period we have continued to attend any reported home emergencies. We will continue to prioritise these, but we want to do what is right for our customers and fix issues as quickly as possible, as long as we can undertake the work safely and comply with social distancing requirements. Following feedback from customers and consulting with our teams, we have been gradually extending this safely and in a controlled way to support and deal with a wider range of customer issues.
Playing a positive role in the community and an industry leading care worker discount scheme
We are very proud of the role Taylor Wimpey employees have played in supporting their own local communities during this crisis, with many of our employees undertaking voluntary work and coming together to support those most in need.
We have now distributed 120,000 surgical masks, 75,000 pairs of gloves and donations of toys and activities from our own staff to care homes across the country. We will also be distributing 120,000 disposable aprons in the coming weeks, along with over 800 reusable face shields which we have manufactured. The response from the care homes has been overwhelming and is a source of great pride to our employees.
We recognise the considerable sacrifice and personal risk of our nation's care workers during this crisis. To play a small part in acknowledging the crucial role that NHS staff, care workers and the emergency services have played, we will be launching a new discount scheme for this group offering a 5% discount. This treats these important groups in the same way as our longstanding employee discount offer. This will apply to homes reserved in 2020, to complete in 2020 and 2021, subject to Help to Buy approval.
For further information please contact:
Taylor Wimpey plc Tel: +44 (0) 7826 874461
Pete Redfern, Chief Executive
Chris Carney, Group Finance Director
Debbie Archibald, Investor Relations
For media enquiries please contact:
Finsbury Tel: +44 (0) 20 7251 3801
Notes to editors:
Taylor Wimpey plc is a customer-focused homebuilder, operating at a local level from 24 regional businesses across the UK. We also have operations in Spain.
For further information, please visit the Group's website: www.taylorwimpey.co.uk
Follow us on Twitter via @TaylorWimpeyplc
Care worker discount scheme notes:
· A minimum 5% discount or deposit contribution for all care workers defined as NHS, care industry and health service workers and emergency services personnel
· Limited to purchases where reservations take place during 2020, on homes that will legally complete in 2020 or 2021
· From January 2021 care workers to benefit from the same offer as we provide for Armed Forces staff
· Applicable to all developments and on all house types
· Applicable only on a primary home and not for investment or buy-to-let properties
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