The disruption caused by coronavirus is reportedly spreading into the construction industry, but self builders have been advised to carry on as normal.
The coronavirus disease COVID-19 has, at the time of writing, led to three deaths in the UK. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is today chairing an emergency Cobra meet to assess whether measures need to be implemented to delay its spread.
While the extent of the threat remains speculative, concerns have been raised about large groups of people in close proximity, and this may yet apply to construction teams working on developer sites.
“The potential impact on the construction industry is clear,” said Ian Atkindon, partner, and Michelle Essen, managing associate at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson. “There would be delays on site, there would be risks to a workforce that often finds itself working in close contact with each other and the questions are already being asked about who would bear the costs and risks of delay.”
Could Self Builders Be Affected?
There is potential for self build project timelines and costs to be affected if builders are not able to arrive on time, or unable to transport required materials. But Andy Stevens, builder and consultant with Eclipse Property Consultants, is optimistic that fears for the construction industry may be overblown.
Stevens told Homebuilding & Renovating: “Every builder that I know is just carrying on as normal. My advice to any self builder or renovator would be: carry on as normal. This shouldn’t stop anybody in the construction industry doing their job.
“If anything, we’re in a better position because we’re outdoors, or areas with doors and windows open, so we have air flow. We’re handling blocks, timber, sand, plaster; we’re not handling stuff that someone may have sneezed on, or touched, so I think it’s one of the safer industries to work in.”
Coronavirus Impact on House Prices
While UK house prices neared in all-time high in February, mortgage lender Halifax has warned that the potential impact of coronavirus could spread to the property market later in the year.
Russell Galley, Halifax managing director, said: “The UK housing market has remained steady heading into early spring. The sustained level of buyer and seller activity is strong compared to recent years, with positive employment conditions and a competitive mortgage market continuing to support demand.
“But, looking ahead, there are a number of risks, including the potential impact of coronavirus, which continue to exert pressure on the economy and we wait to see how these will affect housing market sentiment later in the year.”