Construction firms eye return to work with bank support
A South West construction company is protecting its workforce as it begins to reopen some of its sites with the support of a multimillion pound Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) loan from Lloyds Bank.
Chippenham-headquartered Stonewood Builders took the decision to close all sites back in March, when social distancing measures were first introduced.
Along with furloughing more than 80% of its 180 employees, the business contacted long-term banking partner Lloyds Bank to provide the capital to cover ongoing operating costs such as rent, insurance and non-furloughed staff’s salaries. The loan also gives the business medium-to-long-term stability as it emerges from the disruption caused by coronavirus.
Stonewood Builders works with professional and private clients across the South West on traditional and contemporary design, building and maintenance. Recent projects include The Newt in Somerset, Lansdown Crescent in Bath and Icomb Place in the Cotswolds.
The company has now started to return to some sites, with strict social distancing rules in place.
Stonewood Builders has been operating since the 1970s and became a limited company in 2001. It became a customer of Lloyds Bank in 2009, when it had just 45 employees, and has since increased turnover from around £2.5m to just under £45m.
Commercial director Ben Lang sees Lloyds Bank’s understanding of the business and its recent growth as key to securing the loan.
He said: “Lloyds Bank knew we could demonstrate that we are robust as a business, and that we use our money wisely. It understands where we are and our plans for future growth, and has made the support available nice and clear, and every step of the process transparent. We of course have a duty of care to our amazing staff. Those who have continued to work, including directors, have voluntarily sacrificed their salary to furlough levels, as an act of solidarity and to further support the business. With their safety our priority, we can now slowly begin to return to work, and look to the future once more.”
John Evans, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, added: “Like with so many businesses, the coronavirus pandemic hit at a time when Stonewood Builders was growing at rapid scale. With our support, we hope Ben and the team can get back on track as soon as possible. During this unprecedented and extremely challenging time, we remain by the side of firms across the UK to help them do the same.”