Barratt to drive down construction costs

Published:  24 February, 2011

COALVILLE: Barratt is to keep construction costs down as the firm rebuilds its profit margins. "We have maintained a firm control on direct costs despite upward price pressures on certain materials," the company said.

"Further progress on costs is also targeted from technical innovation, in particular the efficient delivery of low-carbon housing."

Barratt reported operating margins across the business for the half-year to December 31, 2010 increased to 5% from 0.6% in the same period last time.

Pre-tax losses at the firm fell to £4.6m from £178.4m while Barratt agreed deals on land with room for more than 6,000 new homes during the period.

Group chief executive Mark Clare said: "By focusing on price not volume and improving the underlying efficiency of our business, we have achieved a significant improvement in our operating margin despite a challenging autumn selling season.

"2011 has started well with encouraging sales rates and stable underlying pricing. We expect to see further operating margin growth in our second half as we continue to optimise prices, reduce costs and open new higher margin sites from recently acquired land.

"However, the market remains fragile and longer term recovery continues to depend on greater availability of mortgage finance."

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