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Changes to the Government’s workplace directions

Industry News & Updates
Master Builders Association

Following yesterday’s announcement by the Premier, the Chief Health Officer has now issued updates to the following key documents which govern how our industry operate.

A summary of some key changes for our industry is below.

Workplace Directions (No 6)

  • Face shields on their own no longer meet the requirement for face covering. Victorians will now be required to wear a fitted face mask, covering the nose and mouth. Enforcement of the updated face covering requirements will take effect from 11:59:00pm on 11 October 2020.
  • Each work premises must have a COVIDSafe plan. The exemption from having COVIDSafe work plan for work premises that have fewer than 5 workers no longer applies.

Workplace (Additional Industry Obligations) Directions (No 6)

  • Specialist Contractors must now work on no more than 5 sites per week; an increase on the previous limit of 3 sites per week.
  • An employer must not operate a large scale construction site in excess of 85 percent of the large-scale construction baseline daily workforce or 15 workers, whichever is higher.
  • For Early Stage Land Development Sites, the limit on workers is now 20 per hectare; an increase on the previous limit of 10.

Stay at Home Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 16)

  • Residents of metro Melbourne can now visit display homes provided that the person does not:
    • Leave their premises for a period longer than 2 hours; and
    • Travel outside the Restricted Area for this purpose.

Display home visits must be by appointment only and must last no more than 15 minutes.

Update: FAQs for the building and construction sector

The transition of building and construction activity to official “Restricted” status on 28 September has led to a refreshed list of frequently asked questions to which members may refer. Answers to these FAQs are available on the Business Victoria website here and are organised among these four categories:

Some of the key questions that members have been seeking answers on are summarised below, but please see the links above for full details.

How do I calculate the allowable number of people on site for largescale construction, given our numbers fluctuate?
The baseline daily workforce for a large scale construction site is equivalent to the daily average number of workers on the large scale construction site across the project lifecycle. For existing projects, this is derived from the project’s resourcing plan as at 31 July 2020. For new projects where no resource plan was available prior to 31 July, the resource plan as at the date of project commencement must be used.

What are a COVID marshall’s roles and responsibilities?
COVID marshals are recommended for large scale construction sites. COVID marshals are appointed by the respective site managers and are responsible for supporting site compliance and providing advice to employers and workers on a range of measures, the full list can found on page 12 here.

The role does not need to be a single dedicated appointment, however, the COVID Marshal role must be their primary role when on duty and must account for  greater than 50 per cent of their daily work activities. The employer has ultimate responsibility for ensuring the COVIDSafe obligations are met.

Will builders be able to operate display homes/suites for clients to visit?
Display homes can open by private appointment (prearranged only) under the Restricted stage, for one agent and one prospective purchaser for a maximum of 15 minutes. Sanitiser must be available at all inspections and is required to be used upon entry into the property. Records of all visitors to the display home must be kept, including contact details.

As mentioned, please see the links above for full details on each question.


Reminder: Building and Construction moves to “Restricted” stage of activity

Yesterday, the Victorian Premier announced an easing of restrictions that will came into effect from 11:59 pm last night (September 27, 2020). The Premier also outlined the potential for metropolitan Melbourne to move to the next step beyond the “Restricted” stage earlier than originally planned.

This step will now be taken when cases fall sufficiently, and not before 19 October, rather than 26 October as originally announced. This change underscores the importance of everyone continuing to do all they can to keep rates of infection low, so that restrictions can be eased as soon as possible.

Read the article.

Reminder: workplace safety campaign for the next stage of the roadmap

Late last week, the CFMEU Victoria and Master Builders Victoria launched a new campaign focused on workplace safety in the building, construction and development industry to help achieve broad compliance  and preparedness for the transition to the ‘Restricted’ phase, with an aim to continue the great track record of safety the industry has had since March.

The campaign aims to influence all workers and will also see the messages translated into 15 different languages and cultural context, so workers of all backgrounds can easily access the important information on COVID-19 safety.

Download the campaign resources.

Pool/spa registration deadline approaches

The Victorian Government reminds pool and spa owners they have until 1 November to register their private pool or spa.

The Government introduced new regulations in December last year to make swimming pools and spas safer and prevent children from drowning. Due to the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19) The onset of the pandemic prompted a five-month extension of the deadline for registration.

The regulations include new requirements for owners to register their swimming pools and spas with their local council by 1 November 2020 with a one-off fee of up to $79. Failure to register within this timeframe may attract a council infringement notice of up to $330.

Read the full media release.

Continued support

Master Builders Victoria remains available to support our members. Your health and safety, as well as that of our team, sponsors and stakeholders, is of the utmost importance to us. While many of our team has transitioned to working remotely, we continue to deliver our services and products to you and have plans in place allowing this to continue as the effects of COVID-19 unfold. We will keep you notified of any changes that may affect the way we serve you.

Please also note that while our walk-in shops are closed, the online shop is still active and will deliver to your homes. To access the online shop, please click here.

At this time of uncertainty, we encourage members to take advantage of the numerous support resources available to them including:

Members should always feel free to call us for information on (03) 9411 4555.

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