Construction changes not yet a full return to 100% capacity
Today the Government has announced that the COVIDSafe settings for 80% vaccination rates will start at 6pm on Friday 29th October. More details were also provided about what will happen at 90% vaccination rates.
Last Friday, the Victorian Government made public health directions to implement its announcement last week that the workforce limits for all construction sites (large scale, small scale construction and early stage land development projects) would return to 100 per cent capacity.
Unfortunately, not all of the changes were delivered for small scale construction sites.
While the new directions allow for more than 5 workers on site, subject to the density quotient, the directions have unfortunately retained the limit on worker movement between construction sites for specialist contractors (large scale, small scale construction and early stage land development projects) meaning this part of the workforce remains restricted to visiting just three sites per week.
Despite raising this with Government, HIA believes that this restriction on specialist contractors will only be removed when the state reaches the 80 per cent vaccination milestone, just announced today to be 6pm Friday 29 October.
The new directions on Friday also required that COVID Marshals be on small scale sites whilst workers are present. We raised this with Government and they have now updated the directions to correct this oversight. The previous rule has been reinstated and this means that for small scale construction sites the COVID Marshal does not need to always be a site whenever workers are present.
The reopening of building work at occupied homes was however implemented and from last Friday workers have been allowed to enter an occupied home:
- to provide necessary goods and services; or
- to attend or undertake work including work that is urgent or essential.
What has changed for the residential building industry?
The following restrictions have changed for construction sites:
- members no longer need to comply with the attestation (declaration) process for sites that are being reopened including building work at occupied homes;
- removal of the limit of 5 workers for small scale construction sites;
- workers no longer need an authorised worker permit;
- workers can now travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria for work and have until 13 November 2021 to get their second vaccination dose.
What restrictions continue for construction sites – including reopened renovation sites?
The following COVIDSafe restrictions will continue to apply:
- the restrictions on worker movement between sites will continue to apply for all construction sites. It is expected that this restriction will be removed once the general population reaches 80 percent double vaccination on Friday 29 October from 6pm;
- a density quotient of 1 person per 4 square metres;
- Face masks must continue to be worn, but from 6pm on Friday 29th October, they will only be required when indoors.
- COVID Safety Plans must be prepared for each site;
- a COVID Marshal must be appointed for each small scale construction site;
- use of the Service Victoria QR code app for checking in;
- displaying signs at site entries such as face mask and density quotient signs;
- shared areas are regularly cleaned;
- keeping records and ensuring compliance with mandatory vaccination of workers – including contractors, suppliers and drivers attending construction sites; and
- all workers at both occupied and unoccupied construction sites must have had at least one dose or a medical exception and need to be fully vaccinated by 13 November 2021.
Updated Making space on site resources
HIA Making space on site COVID Safety Plan and Poster for the site have both been updated to cover both occupied and unoccupied sites. These are available to assist members inform workers about what rules do still apply for construction work.
HIA’s Site Induction for Victoria remains operational and the current poster can continue to be used.
Can display homes and selection centres open?
Due to the limits on the operation of retail premises in metropolitan Melbourne display homes and selections centres remain closed until at least 6pm on Friday 29th October. There may be a requirement for all staff and clients to be fully vaccinated when they reopen. We will provide further guidance as soon as possible.
Display homes and selection centres in regional Victoria may open this week subject to the limit of 1 person per 4 square metres indoors and outdoors. This may change on Friday 29th October from 6pm. There may be a requirement for all staff and clients to be fully vaccinated from this time. We will provide further guidance as soon as possible.
Returning to ‘business as usual’
The last 3 months have been extremely challenging for everyone and we hope that the changes represent a genuine beginning to a recovery for our industry and will allow members to return to ‘business as usual’ once the 80 per cent milestone is reached from 6pm this Friday 29 October.
HIA will continue to keep members informed regarding future changes for construction sites that occur as the state continues to emerge from what we all hope is the last lockdown for Victorians.