Epping Forest council house building delays due to COVID impact

Delays of up to seven weeks are expected for new council houses in Epping Forest due to material supply issues, bad weather and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to an Epping Forest District Council report, contractors have been applying for extension times to finish the project on the grounds of “unpredictable” supply issues and COVID-19 isolation periods affecting trade.

Contractors also expect these issues to continue throughout the coming winter months.

Seven of the sites listed in the report cited issues with the supply of materials such as bricks as the reasons for their delays, with five citing drainage problems or leaks.

At one site in Millfield, Ongar, works were delayed because windows had been delivered with an incorrect finish.

The district council’s cabinet will meet next week to discuss the progress of its house building programme.

A section of the report on TSG Building Service PLC, a contractor, read: “The contractors TSG have submitted an extension of time on all schemes except Pick Hill.

“The reasons given are COVID impact, labour and material supply and weather.

“We are due to meet with the contractors on the 21st September to confirm handover dates.”

A further section on Indecon Ltd, another contractor, read: “Indecon have applied for an extension of time due to material supply issues, which remains unpredictable and there have been a number of covid isolation periods that have affected trade, there is acknowledgement that this could continue to be a factor through the winter months.

“The dates have been reflected below however are subject to change, all efforts will be made to improve on any dates where possible. Etheridge Road has been the worst affected by the delays.”

The practical completion date of Etheridge Road, Debden, has been pushed back by approximately seven weeks to April 2022, according to the report.

The works are part of Phase Four of the council’s programme. According to an earlier statement by Epping Forest District Council, the programme seeks to complete 300 new affordable rented homes by 2024.

Phase Five is currently in the design stage, with meetings being arranged with councillors and residents for initial review and feedback.

The most expensive Phase Five development is the Shelley Estate Redevelopment, which has an indicative cost of £17,381,659, while the least expensive is the parking in St Peters Avenue, with an indicative cost of £283,280, according to the report.

The Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee will meet next Tuesday (September 28) to discuss the progress of the Council House Building Programme.


Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter